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H. but sometimes I use a #12 if I’m working with tiny 150 seed beads. Visit her website. So. Or you have a voracious appetite for beauty. Sweet-McNamara uses soutache and bead embroidery to create textile jewelry with sinuous. or hard-toget materials. French earring wires.Introduction I f you are here. Renaissance paintings. as well as online at a number of sources (www. equipment.H. including fringe. in turn. The scissors should be sharp enough and small enough to nip into corners. Amee is a member of the League of N. and Bollywood dance costumes have all at one time or another influenced her creations. organic shapes in brilliant hues. soutache is most commonly seen stitched into repeated curvilinear shapes on military and band uniforms. you are probably hungry. making last-minute adjustments.com. N. teardrops. and toggle-style clasps. You crave a craft that can satisfy your desire for sumptuous shapes and luxurious textures. Formally educated in both interior design and fine art. Amee works out of her studio in Merrimack. • Glue (I like Crafter’s Pick Washable Fabric glue) • Ultrasuede • Findings. With soutache and bead embroidery. often referred to as a Russian braid. Tools and Materials Soutache is a type of braid. needles and a pair of chainnose pliers. however. To begin. And. Perhaps you are starved for saturated color. And while there is already a virtual smorgasbord of techniques in existence.com) in both domestic and imported styles.ameerunswithscissors. new ones are being cooked up every day. Welcome to the world of soutache and bead embroidery. gimp. such as 6mm jump rings (soldered are best). will enjoy sampling a variety of delicious tidbits. and poking stray threads into place. One of the primary elements of Passementarie (the French art of textile embellishments. millinery and haberdashery shops. Bugle beads come in handy. Amee Amee K. and crystals. pin backs. While this art form is newer in the world of craft. ameerunswithscissors. and upholsterers. and barrels can make a great starting point or add a lot to a project. Venetian glass. In the meantime. 2 . I usually use a #10 beading needle. Craftsmen and she takes her inspiration from all things color saturated: Mucha posters. pull up a chair! Bon appétit. it has and continues to evolve rapidly. You. It is made up of fine fibers wrapped figure-8 style around two central cords. Having once whetted your appetite. Don’t worry—whatever your particular palate requires. small metallic shapes. of course. think of this as a tasting: I will share with you some of the basic skills needed to complete some delectable projects. Soutache can be found at fabric stores. You may also want a bead tray or bead mat. cubes. round beads. and a large darning needle or toothpicks. such as seed beads. you may well develop an all-but-insatiable desire to learn more. and “interest beads” like flat shapes. you’ll need some materials: • 1⁄8"-wide soutache • Size B Nymo thread • Beads: I use a variety of beads in different shapes and sizes. you don’t need lots of bulky tools. and teaches at venues throughout the country. there is something on the menu for you. and tassels). which are great for spreading glue. you’ll need scissors.

Lay each piece of soutache flat. Repeat steps 3 and 4 as needed. sew down through the stack about ¼" to the left (c). Shaping stitches coax the soutache into the curve and hold it there. as long as they’re together. These Vs show the direction of the grain (the way the threads are arranged) of the braid. 1.) 2. (This counts as one shaping stitch. A stack can be made of two or more braids. Holding the stack between your thumb and forefinger. Sew up through the stack about 1⁄16" to the left (d).” Flip the braid over. (This counts as the second shaping stitch. Be careful not to flip any over. Hold the stack of soutache lightly by the sides. Sew back through the left and right inner braid (g). j 3 . 2. of size B Nymo thread. press it to the secured stack. Separate the stack. Tie a knot at one end of 1 yd. you can see how the fine threads of each braid run toward the rib (the center indent in the soutache) to form a “V. Stack the soutache by laying one piece c only (f). Knot to finish. by its very nature. regardless of length or whether it is inside or outside the curve. wants to curve. Sew through the left inner braid e h i One-Sided Join 1. A one-sided join happens when a stack with loose ends is connected to a stack that has already been secured in place. Separate the stacks of braids and pinch together the inner braids of both stacks (e). b 4. Trim the tail close to the knot. a Shaping Stitch Soutache. Sew through the inner braid and the secured stack (j). Sew back through both inner braids and through the left outer braids (h). A   shaping stitch is one stitch. Shaping stitches should be longer on the outside of the curve—about ¼–3⁄8"—and shorter inside the curve— about 1⁄16". and the Vs point the other way. Working from right to left. Sew back through all six braids (i). on top of another (b). sew up through the bottom of the stack. Joins Joins occur where two stacks of soutache come together in the same plane. d 5. they’re a stack. f g 2. often at the base of a bead. Keeping the inner braid tight to the bead. Turn pieces over as necessary until the grain of all three braids is pointed in the same direction (a). A two-sided join occurs when both stacks have loose ends.) Two-Sided Join 1. Sew from the outside of the stack to reach the inner braid. Shaping stitches are always taken through the ribs of the soutache. meaning that the needle passes through all the ribs in the stack. Stitch through all six layers again.Techniques Aligning and Stacking If you look carefully at a piece (or braid) of soutache. 1. 3.