Monday, February 20, 2012

Adventures In Cording

As someone fairly new to sewing, I look for new ways to add to my skills or explore new-to-me techniques. I have this great book - Stitch Magic by Alison Reid - that explores surface texture and creating dimensional fabrics. It's a well-done book, in my humble opinion. I like that they primarily use white fabric for the samples so you can really see what's happening. There are finished objects in other fabrics, but I think the consistency with the "how to" portions is helpful. Let's the texture really stand out.

Anyway, I've been wanting to make some cords for embellishments and what-not. I looked at a cording foot for my Janome Sewist 500, but it's a little pricey. Especially since it can be done with a simple zig-zag foot. So, I cut some scraps into strips no more than 1/2" wide and set about "cording"! Here are my first attempts:

The first cord (top, left) was the first one. Denim might not have been the best thing to start with, but not horrible.

I did deliberately leave some "open" areas where the fabric flattens out and doesn't twist. Just experimenting. I used red thread because I liked the contrast it would provide and ... well, it was already loaded in the machine and I have plenty of it. :) Sometimes I plan. Sometimes I wing it.

Now, what to do with my cords???
Methinks I will embellish a small pouch or coin purse. We shall see!


General How To* :
Set machine for zig-zag stitching, longest stitch. Using 1/2" wide (or less) strips begin feeding them through the machine, twisting hard to the right as they feed. They have to be twisted in order for the thread to encase the fabric strips. I stitched some strips end-to-end first to make longer cords. Some, I tried adding new strips as I went.

* This is NOT a technical explanation. Just a rough idea. Check your machine's manual before beginning anything like this. Or look for a proper tutorial elsewhere. :)


  1. oooh, this is very cool! i can imagine a bunch of cords with different colours and textures together would make a great statement necklace, or bracelet.

    1. I know, right?!?! :)
      I've got a bunch of ideas! I'm even thinking knit/crochet with them???
      It was fun to do, too!

  2. Looks great Amy. I can see using these as bracelets and pairing them with beads and leather for a casual spring look.