Today I’m sharing how to make a necklace out of strips of knit fabric, connected by ribbon crimp ends. This is a fun necklace to make and to wear that you can customize in lots of different ways.
How to Make a Knit Fabric Necklace
- Three strips of knit fabric, cut to 1×19 inches (I just cut across the fabric from selvage to selvage and divided it into thirds.
- One strip of knit fabric, 2×7 inches pressed down the middle (or you can cut two strips, 1×7 inches each).
- Ruler, rotary cutter/scissors, and self healing mat to cut fabric.
- Four 3/4-inch ribbon crimp ends. If you use the brand I used (Jewelry Essentials from Michaels), you will need to buy two packs as each only comes with two of the large size (3/4 inches). There is pack under a different brand with more of this size at JoAnn, or you can buy individual ones at bead stores.
- Craft glue (I used Aileen’s Jewel-It, but any kind should do).
- Pliers: for the crimp ends, I used nylon-coated pliers which prevent scratching. Or you can just be really careful with regular flatnose pliers (or put a piece of felt in between).
- Jump rings in different sizes
- Optional: Beads and jewelry wire, round-nose pliers for wire-wrapping beads
- Not shown: Jewelry clasp, serger (optional).
Directions As mentioned, there are different ways you can customize this necklace. I serged the edges of the short strand, and left the edges raw for the long strands. For the short end, if you don’t have a serger you can use a zig zag on your regular sewing machine, or you can also leave the edges raw. If you leave the edges raw, you can cut the 2×7 inch strip into two 1×7 inch strips and stack them as I did with the three long strips (see further below). If you are serging the edges of the short strand, fold the 2×7 inch strip into half lengthwise. You’ll trim it while serging to fit the crimp, as the folded width is wider than the crimp itself which is 3/4 inches. I used a rolled hem stitch with just two threads in the serger.
Apply some glue to the ends of your short strip. I used a toothpick because too much glue squirts out directly from the bottle. Allow to dry a little. The hardened glue will give the teeth of the ribbon crimp ends something to grab onto.
Apply some glue to the inside of the ribbon crimp end.
Grasp the ribbon crimp end with your pliers in one hand, and place the end of the strip into the ribbon crimp end with the other hand. Press down with the pliers in the middle then scoot it over and press down on the sides. Just make sure it is pressed down evenly and the teeth have grasped the fabric. Repeat on the other end and set aside.
Take the three long strips and stack them. If you’re using printed fabric, stack them so the non-printed side is in the inside. So I have one with the right side facing down, and two with the right side facing up (and the white is in between). This is so you don’t have a “front” and “back” of the necklace.
I left these edges raw on these strips, so I just need to taper the ends to fit into the ribbon crimp ends by trimming with scissors. Then follow the directions above to apply just one ribbon crimp end.
Leave the other end un-crimped for now. Take each strip and twist it, so that the unprinted end is on the inside. This is another place you can customize…you can stretch the strips out so the edges fray more and curl inward, or you can just leave them as is.
Before you apply the last ribbon crimp end, check out the length and how it drapes, etc, and check out how it looks with the other strip. Now’s your chance to shorten the long strand, if you wish. When you’re satisfied, apply the final ribbon crimp end.
Now let’s connect the strands to create the necklace. If you’re not comfortable working with beads, an easier way to connect the strands together is to just use jump rings, which are available at your craft store or bead store. Make sure they are open, and not closed or soldered, jump rings. This particular pack that I bought (picture below left) has an assortment of 3 different sizes. To open a jump ring, take a pair of pliers in both hands and hold the jump ring in them both as shown, with the opening in the middle (center picture). Then push one plier away from you and one plier towards you so it’s kind of like a twist or a slide rather than pulling them apart. So you end up with something like this (picture on the right). To close them, you do the opposite…slide the pliers back to where you started.
Using just jump rings results in a nice, clean look.
I used three of the larger jump rings to connect the strands in the front, and two small ones for the clasp in the back.
If you would like to add beads, I wire-wrapped a big bead and connected the two front ends that way. See my wire wrapping tutorial on how to do this. Each time you wear the necklace, I would undo the clasp rather than throw it over your head to avoid over-stretching (though of course, since it’s knit, it will stretch over time). Undoing the clasp also lets you twist the three strands together or even make the short strand twisty if you like.