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Soutache basics

Creating a stack
Lay the cut lengths of braid on your work surface with their center Vs of thread running in the same direction. Create a stack by laying one braid on top of the other, and hold the stack gently on the sides between your thumb and finger.

Stitch in the ditch
All stitching in soutache will be done through the center V of the braids except when ending the stack.

Double knot
Tie one overhand knot. Tie another overhand knot, but slide it down to the first knot before pulling the thread tight.

Beginning a new thread and burying the knot
Tie a double knot at one end of the new thread, and trim the tail close to the knot. To bury the knot, sew through a bead and the inside curve of the adjacent stack, or just sew through the stack.

Ending the thread
Sew to the back of your work, and make a few small stitches in the closest braid. Tie a knot, and trim the thread. You can leave a tail, which will be secured when you glue the soutache piece to the backing.

Joining
Joining is where either two portions of the same stack or two separate stacks meet, typically at the base of a bead or focal piece. To join, carefully separate the stack of braids, and pinch together both sides of the inner braid close to the bead. Sew back and forth between both sides of the inner braid several times. Sew through the outer braids to one side of the join, sew through the join, and then sew through the outer braids to the other side of the join. Retrace the thread path several times.

Ending a stack
Push the loose ends of the stack to the back of your work, and sew up from the back through all the layers. Exit the side of one braid on the front of your work. Sew down through all the layers as close as possible to the point where the thread exited, sewing through the side of the same braid. Repeat this last stitch several times to secure the end of the stack, and trim the ends 1Ú4 in. (6 mm) from the last stitch, being careful not to trim too closely, as the braids will fray. You can whip stitch the frayed ends together on the back of the piece to keep them contained.

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