A good friend’s birthday was last weekend, so I decided (of course) to make her something. At first I wanted to sew a purse, but a girl can really only use so many purses. Around that time, I came across a blog tutorial for making simple decoupaged bracelets and decided that would be fun, except that I have more fabric than paper scraps. So then I thought, Aha!, I will make some spiffy fabric covered bracelets and write a little tutorial about it.
To make a long story short, I proceeded to make said bracelets (taking copious photographs along the way), only to discover that they didn’t turn out as well as I had hoped. But, because I have all the photos, I’ve decided to post them anyway so that you can give me good ideas about what to do differently.
Tutorial for Fabric Covered Bracelets
1. Find some wide plastic bracelets (not as easy as it sounds!) and cut strips of fabric that are long enough to wrap around the bracelet + 1 inch for your seam allowance. The fabric strips should be wide enough to wrap around the flat part of the bracelet and extend at least 1/4 inch underneath.
Note: it’s a good idea to cut the strips on the bias so that the fabric is as stretchy as possible.
2. Sew a gathering stitch down both of the long sides of the fabric, and then sew the short ends together to form a circle. Press the ends apart so the seam is flat.
3. Fit the circle over your bracelet and check how it fits. Ideally, the fabric is as tight as possible, because this will leave you with less gathering on the inside. Adjust seams if necessary.
4. Pull the gathering stitches so that the fabric wraps around the wide part of the bracelet and all the loose edges are all inside.
5. Using a hot glue gun, carefully glue the edges to the underside of the bracelet. Try not to allow big globs of glue to cool because you will be able to feel them through the bracelet’s lining (this is where I had most of my problems). Oh, and be real careful if you’re pressing the edges down with your fingers…I kinda burnt myself, so I recommend using a butterknife.
Ending One: Ribbon inside
6a. Hot glue a piece of ribbon or another piece of fabric to the inside of the bracelet, covering the gathered fabric.
If your lining is smooth and you’re happy with the way the bracelet looks, you can stop at 6a. I found that one of my bracelets (the one made with the stretchiest fabric) looked okay, but the other ones were really bumpy inside. The only thing I had that was stiff enough to cover the bumps was some cardstock, but it left a big gap on the edges. I added the piping, which helped, but then I didn’t like having plain paper next to my skin. I wanted to experiment with a shiny finish anyhow, hence the acrylic.
Ending Two: Cardstock + piping inside, acrylic sealer
6b. Cut a piece of cardstock to wrap around the inside of the bracelet, plus piping or another kind of trim to fill the gaps around the edges. Hot glue to the bracelet.
6c. Coat the bracelet with an acrylic sealer (I had a jar of Utrecht Acrylic Gloss Medium sitting around, so I used that). Leave a little part of the inside dry so you can hang it over something – I propped a wooden spoon on two glasses – while it dries. Repeat 3 to 4 times, leaving a different part dry each time so that the entire bracelet is sealed and shiny.
7. Happily wear your new bracelet or give it to someone else who will.
Like I said, if you have any suggestions for how to improve this process, please let me know! In the future, I think I’ll choose loosely-woven fabrics and stop with the ribbon lining (I think the fabric + piping made them a little clunky), but the shiny finish is kind of nice.
Lauren, I’m out of time so I’ll post my 6 weird things tomorrow. I also need an extra day to think (not that I don’t have anything to say, I just don’t know what other people consider weird).