One quick and easy way to use up bits of fabrics is to make tassels.
You can use tassels to: embellish zipper pulls on handbags, luggage, clothing and backpacks; Curtain tiebacks, key chains, book marks and jewelry are also fun ways to bring them into play. You do not need a sewing machine. I’ve used a needle and thread because sewing is my go-to method for craft life. But you can use glue with good results.
Strips of fabric to accommodate tassel size
Scissors or rotary cutter
Fray Stop (Optional)
On Scrap Fabric Creations
It’s hard for me to throw out fabric scraps. My reluctance developed due to years of fabric over consumption. Besides, my mind insists that I can create something from small pieces of material. I gained my sewing skills as a child–by trial and error. Sewing was my love but I despised mending and having to un-rip mistakes. So, I pushed my errors aside, bought new material, made whatever I wanted, and shunned alterations in general. Seeing that I made an outfit for myself every day of the week, in a short time, I accumulated a huge fabric stash. Unknowingly, I was preparing for a latter lifetime of scrap fabric projects.
Use the instructions as a basic guide and let yourself/personality shine through. It’s the beauty of DIY.
DIY Tassels with Fabric
Step 1. Cut a strip of fabric - See Images 1&2. Cut a strip of fabric about 2–inches wider than your desired tassel length. Notes: Adding 2 extra inches is a safety measure in the event fabrics are woven unevenly. Longer strips generate thicker, fuller tassels while shorter lengths turn out thinner, slighter ones. Thread thickness also affect tassel size; thicker threads are easier to pull without breaking. Cutting a small piece of the fabric you intend to use beforehand; and pulling threads from the warp (lengthwise threads) and weft (crosswise threads) will help you make an informed choice.
Step 2. Remove threads - Decide which edge will be the top and bottom of the tassel and begin pulling/removing threads. If the vertical threads at the top and bottom of your strip are even at both ends, go to step 4.
Step 3. In case of uneven edges - If though, the weft/crosswise threads of the fabric are woven unevenly, pull threads from top and bottom until you have two straight lines at both edges. (See Image 3 ) Use sharp scissors or a rotary cutter to cut off uneven ends. (See Image 4).
Save some of the longer pulled threads to make loops for tassels.
Step 4. Draw lines and pull threads - Turn evenly cut fabric strip on wrong side and draw a line about a ¼ inch away from the top edge. Draw a second line roughly 1 ¼ inches away from the top edge of fabric strip. Pull out threads from the top edge to the ¼ inch mark and from the bottom edge to the 1 ¼ inch line (See Images 5&6).
You can use a machine stitch with matching thread to prevent further fraying. That will keep the narrow heading between the 2 fringed edges intact. Or try using fray stop; it is a colourless solution that locks fabric threads in place.
Step 5. Make a braid or twist - Use some of the threads you saved to make a braided or twisted loop from which tassel will hang. You can make a 3 strand braids, or 2 strand twists with equal amounts of thread.
Braid or twist threads at desired length, hold both ends together and tie a knot.
Step 6. Anchor loop to fringe - Place knotted end of loop on wrong side of fringed fabric. Secure to fabric with over under stitches.
Step 7. Roll and hand-stitch - Roll fabric tightly toward the opposite end and stitch through to underneath layer on every turn. At the free end of tassel, make a ¼ inch fold toward wrong side and slipstitch in place. You may use permanent fabric glue in place of needle and thread.
Explore your options
Experiment with composite tassels: use the same process to add another layer, length, and color.
Now that you have some insight, here’s to making your best tassel!
More Scrap Fabric Creations To come
On a related note, bags are some of my favorite things to make with scraps. Handbags, makeup bags, weekend totes and gym bags are all candidates for scrap fabric projects. And basic sewing skills are all you need. In the next post I will share how to construct an easy DIY makeup bag.
Now, I’m happy I learned to work with scrap fabrics. My lifestyle of consumption continued throughout my aggressive youth. But through the years , my conscience convicted me and my character grew. I had to admit staying up the night before to finish an outfit for church–the next morning was unacceptable. Especially when I had an overflowing closet with items I had worn once–or never and continued to make more. Now, I get satisfaction from using materials I already have and skipping the trip to the store. I find it boosts my creativity. So, it’s a win, win situation.
Thanks for visiting and please stop by again.
If the LORD will, see you then.