|The History of Soutache
The word soutache is believed to originate in France--where it was first used in the 1850s--deriving from the Hungarian word sujtas, meaning "braid used as trim." Soutache has also been called galloon, from the French word gallonner, meaning "to adorn with lace."
Soutache, like parachute cord, comes to jewelry-making from military applications. Metallic soutache has been used for centuries on military clothing to display rank and embellish dress uniforms, and later adapted for athletic uniforms to list player names and numbers. It can also be seen on police uniforms, historical clothing, religious regalia, home décor and more.
Soutache commonly displays a woven herringbone pattern, historically made using wool and silk although synthetic fibers are now also used. Soutache cord embellishment has been historically seen in clothing around the world, and was especially popular in Europe during the Victorian Age. Soutache embellishment is often seen in traditional clothing from Russia, Morocco and Mexico--as well as being used in haute couture and bridal gowns.
Jewelry created using soutache frequently features beads, crystals and other elements "captured" between strips of cord. These components are usually drilled, so they can be stitched into place within the folds and curls created by the artist.
Designers who use soutache have two universal recommendations:
|Jewelry Created Using Soutache Cord
Most soutache-based designs jewelry makers may see will be complex bib-style necklaces, as they have the most visual impact. However, soutache can be used anywhere. Since soutache jewelry is frequently backless, crystals and translucent beads captured in soutache earring designs allow for full play of light through and on them.
Our in-house jewelry designer Jamie Smedley created this soutache-based necklace and earring project, using bead embroidery and basic sewing stitches with Swarovski crystal pearls.
Soutache designs are also popular as brooches, bracelets, hair jewelry and home décor. Adapt Jamie's design, get inspired by the other soutache-based jewelry in our gallery, or go wild with your own ideas and patterns. The possibilities are only limited by your creativity!
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