Thursday, February 5, 2009

Bracelet not fit? Here's an easy fix.

I have a bracelet pattern that seems to shorten each time I do it no matter which beads I use, and that made me find a new method to ensure flexibility.

First the pattern - then the closure. The pattern is a stringing pattern that looks more complex than it is. The beads used are top drilled drops, pearls, or leaves, no larger than 3mm to 4mm. Top drilled means the hole runs left to right across the top narrow end of the bead. See drawing for clarity.

Other beads added to the bracelet can be crystals, gemstones, lampwork, or just about anything you choose, but one should be size 5mm to 7mm, plus other smaller beads or spacers.
I use Power Pro and a size 10 needle for this project, as you will be going back and forth through the all beads, except the drops, (that's why you can use top drilled pearls for this) multiple times.

Start by putting a beadstopper on the line, leaving enough to weave the tail back in. Now string a pattern of beads as follows in this example, but be creative and try other patterns as well:

1-4mm, *1-Bali bead, 1-6mm, 3 drops, 1-6mm, 1-Bali bead, 1-4mm

Repeat from * until length is slightly larger than your wrist.

At this end add a closed jump ring or a spring ring.

Now go back through the beads and when you get to the section where the drops are, add three more drops. When you get back to the (start) tail, add another closed jump ring or spring ring.

Go back and forth two or three more times. Each time you go back through the beads, you are adding three to the cluster of drops until you have 12 to 15 per cluster. Weave in tails with a few half-hitch knots, and clip excess thread.

My dilemma has been that no matter how long my original group is, as I add beads in the drops section, the bracelet seems to shorten, and inevitably becomes too short for the clasp I intended to use.
Now for the solution.
Lobster clasp and 1" of chain, attached to opposite ends on the jump or spring rings. And now my length is flexible. The other advantage to this is now I can make bracelets for potential customers without knowing wrist sizes. On the free end of the chain, I add a dangle for weight which makes the bracelet easier to put on single-handed.

Tip of the Day: By draping the chain end of the bracelet over my wrist away from me and coming up underneath with the lobster clasp, the weight on the chain holds it in place until I can secure the clasp in the chain. Works the first time 99% of the time.