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Wearable art Part VIIII- Rattail, Beads,
Junk Jewelry & Stuff
By Kathleen Brown, Of My Hands


Wearable9a.jpg (59147 bytes)Rattail

Rattail is an inexpensive, cord-like trim wrapped in what appears to be shimmery thread and is sold by the yard.  It's a versatile cord and shows up on many of the garments in this book.

I use it to add interest to a seam by couching it in place along a seam line, sometimes tying knots in it to create additional texture; form button closures with it dangle bobbles, beads, or buttons from it; or let it meander its way through an open area, couching it into place.


Much like buttons, beads can add interest to a piece as closures or tie several elements together, I find that I use beads to add sparkle to a garment - along the binding or within a small focal point.  Sometimes beads will actually become something other than a bead - a fish's air bubbles, a flower's center or stamen, or the blown water of a  whale.

With the event of FemoTM and Sculpey TM the possibilities for making your own beads is limitless.  And when you are lucky enough to find some antique beads, you will surely come up with some great ideas to show them off: stringing them together   to form strands, dangling them from threads, using them to highlight buttons...

Junk JewelryWearable9b.jpg (56070 bytes)

Here's where taking small children to sales comes in handy.   Our daughter went through that awful the-gaudier-the-better stage, and although I was forever biting my tongue when she picked up what she thought was the most beautiful necklace she'd ever seen, I got so that I could see beyond the gaud.  Even broken necklace links have possibilities.  We have taken apart many a necklace.   Individual chunks of metal have become, among other things, horse bridles; and bead spacers are delightful little embellishment pieces.

And just like laces, you don't need a full chain necklace for embellishment - who cares if the clasp is missing?  What if you have just the clasp?   It could be used - somewhere.

My uncle sent me my Grandmother's watch when she died, I am the oldest granddaughter; so he evidently thought I would appreciate it, and I do.  It doesn't work, and the wristband is broken.  After aging in a too-dear-to-throw-away drawer for several years, I had the perfect home for Grandmothers watch - a vest I was working on, depicting an antique theme.  Along with Great-Aunt-Addie's laces, it is very much at home.  When I wear this vest, I love sharing the stories of the relationships I hold with these two ladies that are worked into this garment.  This is one vest that's not for sale.

In classes, student often express concern about what will happen to the watch when the vest is cleaned.  I could take it off I suppose, but then, it's never worked since I've had it...

Wearable9c.jpg (58939 bytes)Stuff

Sequins are available by the yard or as singles, in packages.   Either way, they add a unique sparkle to any piece, I tack the strands down every fifth or sixth sequin, much like couching down a heavy thread or rattail.  My favorite way to attach single sequins is with a bead through the middle. 

The threads, strings and yarns on the market today are fantastic!   The easiest way to use them is in your sewing machine, either straight stitching them into a design or trying out some of those fancy stitches.  They lend themselves to tassels and pompoms as well as being couched in place, swirling wherever your imagination leads.

Hardware stores are great resources for "stuff".   Washers are something I use often in my designs.  They come in all sizes though they are always round.

Broken zippers and accidentally cut measuring tapes are found in the sewing theme vest.  Your sewing drawer and junk drawers hold embellishing treasures!


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