The other week I went out clothes shopping - having been working from home on my PhD thesis since the beginning of this year, I have hardly bought any new clothes (you can get away with having few 'nice going out things' if you are at home most of the day and therefore don't mind if your jeans are looking a bit threadbare!)
I'm not a huge fashion follower, I tend to buy things because I like them, not because they are this week's hot trend - however, I couldn't fail to notice that beading was everywhere on the high street, especially on collars. There were also plenty of necklaces to be worn as 'detachable collars' covered in beads, pearls and crystals (well, I don't think they were real crystals, but they were going for that effect). I thought some of them looked great from afar across the shop floor, until I actually got up close and was actually quite horrified at the poor quality; one collar had thread ends sticking up all over it (shop shall remain nameless) and looked like it might disintegrate at any moment - it was priced at £15! It makes me sad seeing things like this, especially being a part of the beading community and seeing all the beautiful beadwork and embroidery that is done 'properly' with so much effort put into it.
So I decided to have a go at making my own, having wanted to do some proper bead embroidery, but not having had a project to get going. Fortunately, I had some interfacing as well as a big bag of silvery seed beads that aren't regularly shaped enough for beadwork, but had definite potential for embroidery. First off, I drew a peter pan collar shape (one side) on to my interfacing and cut it out. I then used this as a template to draw around so the other side of the collar would be the same shape. Fancying a little bit of bling, I hunted in my bead stash and found some pretty bright blue Swarovski flatback crystals, which I stuck to the interfacing and left to dry (and de-stink from the glue).
Now for some embroidery! I started off by bezelling the crystals and then surrounding them with a ring of clear fire-polished crystals, and then moved on to adding the seed beads following the circular shapes of the crystals.
I decided I wanted a few more different beads on the collar, rather than just doing all the rest of it with the seed beads, so I added some larger white pearl fire-polished crystals and embroidered round them to create something of a leafy/diamond shape around them. This is how the first half of the collar is currently looking.
There's not actually that much left to bead embroider - the seed beads I'm using are size 8s so they are fairly large and so cover the interfacing quite quickly. The challenge is going to be getting the other half of the collar to match!
I'll be sure to update you on the blog once I've finished this DIY fashion project.