Welcome Virginia Lindsay of Gingercake and Gingercake Patterns today! She shared several great tutorials and thought-provoking articles with us in the past. Recently, she provided us with the Scrap Floor Pillow Tutorial and the Free Owl Pattern from her Pretty Birds book. She also gave us her thoughts on The Balancing Act of Putting a Price on Handmade and the Day Out Purse + Variations Tutorial (which you can make and sell) in conjunction with her book Sewing to Sell. Her 10 Big Picture Habits for Happy, Successful Sewing post is also worth another look for some great perspective!

Virginia is back with another great scrapbusting tutorial! This project also makes an awesome handmade gift, for those of you starting on your Christmas sewing early!  Enjoy the tutorial, and take a closer look at Gingercake for all of Virginia’s many patterns, free tutorials, and more.


I am always looking for new ways to use my favorite fabrics!  One of the great things about being able to sew is making things for yourself and your loved ones that are unique and thoughtful.  This fabric covered bead necklace is so simple to make, yet stylish and original enough to wear proudly!  Make one for yourself and for all your favorite people who appreciate handmade loveliness.


  • 3” x WOF (about 40”-44”) piece of cotton fabric  I would recommend quilting weight.
  • 3/4” wooden beads (Available online at http://www.craftparts.com and also at your local craft store)
  • Small clear rubber bands  (Mine are from the dollar store but these are also available in the hair accessories section at drug stores and grocery stores)
  • Coordinating embroidery thread (not pictured) for the tassel
  • Sewing machine, thread
  • Iron and ironing board

Fold and pin the fabric right sides together to make a long 1.5” x WOF piece.  Starting at one corner by the fold, sew a curve up toward the open edge (you can draw this with chalk first if you feel nervous about it!). Continue sewing for about 3” and then stop and backstitch. Leave a 3” opening and start sewing again along the open edge with a 1/4” seam allowance.  Keep the seam allowance at 1/4” or smaller so that the beads slide into the fabric easily.  Continue sewing all the way down the open edges of the fabric until you are about 6” away from the other end.  Stop and backstitch.  Leave a 3” opening and then sew strait for a few inches and then curve down to the folded edge.

Trim away the excess fabric at the curved ends.

Turn the tube inside out using a tube turner or your preferred method.  Turn out the center section and then the ends.  Press the fabric flat with the seam on one of the sides.  Press the openings under to match with the seams.

Fold the fabric piece in half to mark the center.  Take one of the rubber bands and loop it a few times around that center spot until it fits snuggly.

Next, insert one of the 3/4” wooden bead into the fabric tube at one of the openings.  Gently push the bead through the fabric all the way down to the center rubber band.

Take a rubber band and loop it around the fabric so that it encloses the bead inside the fabric.  Repeat until you have inserted half of your beads and enclosed them all with rubber bands.  An alternate and possibly quicker way to do this is to put all the beads from this side in at once and then do the rubber bands all at once.  Either way gets the job done!

Repeat with the other side of the fabric tube until you have used all your wooden beads and enclosed them all with rubber bands.  Close up the openings with either a blind stitch, a tiny ladder stitch in coordinating thread, or with steam a seam.

You may be satisfied with your necklace just as it is now!  Or you may want to add the tassel for a little extra handmade style.

Make the tassel by wrapping the embroidery floss around a 3” (or you can make it longer or shorter) piece of cardboard until you get the desired thickness.  I would say at least 20 X around should be fine!  Cut a 6” length of floss and tie a knot around the floss

Slide the floss off the card board and holding the knot, cut the opposite side of the loop open.  Starting to look like a tassel!  Slide a rubber band around the center at the knot.  Do not tighten it!

Take another piece of floss in the same color or contrasting color and tie around the folded section several times.  You can also use leather string or ribbon.  Glue one end to secure the tassel.  (This is a great tutorial for making a tassel with jump rings which would also look really nice!)

Attach the tassel to the necklace by stringing the rubber band over the wooden beads  and all the way to the center.  Loop it around once more to get it secure if needed.

Tie the ends in a knot and you are ready to wear your new necklace!

It really makes a plain t-shirt look fabulous!  Try with scraps!  Use 3” x 3” scraps pieces sew together into a long strip. This makes a really beautiful statement!