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we like it wild: mother’s day corsage necklace

by Grace Bonney

Every Mother’s Day we ask what our mom’s want and it’s usually always the same: nothing. At least that’s what many of them say. Or they tell us not to spend too much money, or tell us not to spend any money at all. We’re not saying that we don’t believe them, but we believe that they deserve something beautiful, personal, and something that requires a little bit of thought. So instead of handing our mothers a bouquet or potted plant this year for Mother’s Day, we decided to create a unique and special gift that we knew would make them the envy of mothers everywhere. The best thing is that this handmade gift can be completely personalized to fit each and every mum.

This necklace or lei is made of cotton knit fabric (the same material that t-shirts are made of) and embroidery thread available at most fabric stores and is deceptively simple to make. We went with the ever popular jewel tones in magenta, steely gray, and a deep peacock blue, but think of all the possibilities. A little bit of cutting, braiding, wrapping and gluing, and you have a one-of-a-kind wearable piece of art. Honestly, this necklace looks beautiful on it’s own but what will really make your mom feel extra-special are a few fresh flowers tucked in for added flair. We created the “corsage” part of it by adding in three large open blooms of our favorite flowers; a coral charm peony, a pale pink ranunculus, and a garden rose.

CLICK HERE for the full how-to after the jump!

What you’ll need:

1/8 of a yard of three different colored cotton knit fabrics
3 different colors of size 5 embroidery thread
Fabric glue

How to make it:

1. Cut the fabric into three long strips about 2″ wide by 24″ long. You can make the strips smaller to create a more petite braid.

2 Once you have the fabric cut into strips group the three strips in your hand and tie a small piece of embroidery thread around them all in order to keep them organized and in one place when you start braiding. If you don’t have someone to hold the end for you while you braid you can tape the end to a table or clothes pin it to the back of a chair, etc.

3. Braid the three strips together. You can make a loose braid for a more chunky look or braid the strips together tightly for a cleaner smaller necklace.

4. Once you have the whole length braided (ours is 24″ long) tie another piece of embroidery thread around the second end going around the end of the braid 3-4 times to make sure that it won’t come undone and tie in a tight knot. At both ends cut off any remaining fabric leaving about 1/2″ of fabric remaining past the ties.

5. When you have the two ends tied off and cut you’ll need to finish the necklace shape by securing the ends together. Cut a piece of one of your knits into a 2″ by 2″ square and rest the two braid ends on top of it (to form a continuous loop).

6. Apply fabric glue to one edge of the square and gently fold over braid. Repeat for the other side. Now the two ends are hidden and securely attached with the fabric square.

7. To finish the “closure” take the embroidery thread and knot it around one end of the square (now a tube). Then wrap it around and around- the strings should all be laying side by side next to each other for an even look. Once you have covered the entire length of the square, secure the end in a tight knot and cut off any remaining thread.

8. To make the holders for the flower stems wrap a 1″ section of the braid with embroidery thread just how you wrapped the finished ends. We used three different colors and wrapped the 1″ sections on the braid around where a traditional corsage would normally be pinned.

9. Tuck in a few of your mother’s favorite flowers into the 1″ wrapped sections, keeping the stems about 2″ long to ensure that they’ll stay in place securely.

10. Give to your favorite mother.

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