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Kumihimo and soutache bracelet

Soutache sets the stage for a stunning coiled closure on a flat kumihimo braid

This project combines two techniques that complement each other well. Two soutache clasps bookend a flat kumihimo braid for a complex bracelet that’s worth the effort.

In the instructions below, we’ll get you started on making the large soutache clasp end. For full instructions, including how to make the kumihimo braid and small soutache end clasp, download the free project PDF.

Materials

Bracelet 7 1/2 in. (19.1 cm)

  • 5 1-yd (.9 m) pieces of 1/8-in. (3 mm) soutache braided cord, 1-5 colors
  • 3 10 mm round beads, such as crystals, pearls, or gemstones
  • 6 8 mm round beads, such as crystals, pearls, or gemstones
  • 2 g 11/0 seed beads
  • 10 4 mm heishi daisy spacers
  • ·nylon beading thread to match cord
  • square kumihimo disk
  • beading needles, #10
  • Ultrasuede
  • E6000 adhesive

INSTRUCTIONS

Large soutache clasp end

When stitching through soutache, remember to always sew through the center V-shaped groove. Use shaping stitches to help form curves around beads: Make longer stitches on the outside and shorter ones on the inside, keeping the tension loose enough to prevent the cords from buckling.

1. Thread a needle on a 1-yd. (.9 m) piece of thread. Tie an overhand knot at the other end.

 

Kumihimo soutache bracelet Photo a
Photo A
Kumihimo soutache bracelet Photo b
Photo B

2. Cut five 1-yd. (.9 m) pieces of soutache braided cord; work with just one color, or choose a different color for each cord. Stack the cords so the ends are even and all the grooves are running in the same direction, and fold the stack in half. Stitch through the groove of all 10 layers a little way down from the fold (Photo A). Sew back through all 10 layers. Repeat once more to secure the join.

3. Sew through the first five layers of cord to exit in the middle of the fold. Pick up a 10 mm round bead, a 4 mm spacer, and an 11/0 seed bead, and sew back through the spacer and the 10 mm (Photo B). Continue through the next five layers. Retrace the thread path to reinforce the connection. This will be your clasp bead.

4. Divide the cords into two equal stacks, and exit the outer cord of one stack.

Kumihimo soutache bracelet Photo c
Photo C
Kumihimo soutache bracelet Photo d
Photo D

5. Pick up a 10 mm bead, and sew through the five-cord stack where the hole of the 10 mm meets the stack. Retrace the thread path through the join twice. Make three shaping stitches to coil the stack around the 10 mm, and push the ends of the stack behind your work so that they pass under themselves at the bottom of the coil (Photo C). Sew back and forth between the layers of the coil to tack them in place.

6. Sew through the five-cord stack to exit about 1/4 in. (6 mm) beyond the coil you just made, exiting the same cord you exited in step 4. Pick up an 8 mm round bead, and sew through the stack where the hole of the 8 mm meets the stack. Retrace the thread path twice. Make several shaping stitches to coil the stack around the 8 mm, and push the ends of the stack behind your work so that they pass under themselves (Photo D). Tack the stack at the intersection.

7. Sew through your work to the other five-cord stack, exiting even with the first coil. Repeat steps 5 and 6, making this side a mirror image of the first. 

Kumihimo soutache bracelet Photo e
Photo E

8. Sew through the five-cord stack to exit the space between the coils. Pick up an 8 mm, and sew through the five-cord stack on the other side. Sew back through the stack and the 8 mm, and end the thread. All 10 cords should now be pointing in the same direction and in the same order as when you began (Photo E).

For full project instructions, download the free PDF.

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