The Corset Stitch

The Corset Stitch! Please enjoy this project with my compliments, and download the PDF if you like as well. Because I love you!

The Corset Stitch is a variation of my ideas on two-layer reversible pieces, and is created just like the Groovy Cuff (also known as the Mod Art Cuff). The Corset Stitch is one of the projects that can be found in my book, The Jewelry Architect.

These additional photos and notes should help even a beginner complete a stunning Corset Stitch of their own. Click any photo to enlarge, of course.

The beads that you choose will have a dramatic effect on the look of your piece. Precise Japanese cylinder beads, like Aikos, or these lovely Miyuki golden Delicas, will create a more vertical look, and more care needs to be taken when working with the thread, so as not to pull it out against the sharper edges of the cylinder beads. Small round spacers, such as these Miyuki 15s, are lovely against these size 11 Delicas.

I usually use size 11 beads for the body, and size 13 or 15 spacers for the accent.

A single layer can be lovely, too, and can be a good place to start if you have never done the stitch before. This simple layer of Miyuki matte gold 11s and tiny copper size 13 charlottes is a nice combination, and since it is a single layer piece, both ends are closed into tubes. This is a Ball End Clasp closing it. Here is a closer view of the Ball End in action, this time on a bracelet made with shiny, instead of matte, gold beads, and tiny silver charlottes as spacers.

How wide should I make my square stitched sections for my tubes? How many beads high should they be?

The clasp is designed not to fall out, but has to fit the tube neatly. Each Ball End clasp is handmade, and may have a different height or ball size- or you may have a Ram’s Horn, or you may have made your own clasp. You need to evaluate the girth of your beads, and the size of your clasp, before you can decide how many rows wide and tall will make the perfect tube.

If the tube is too large for the clasp, it might fall out, or be unreliable. I don’t want to have to force it in, or have it flop around inside.

I can’t give you a formula, or tell you exactly how many rows you should square stitch, because each clasp is different, and each bead has a different girth. 15 rows of Delicas, for example, makes a swath that is half as wide as 15 rows of fat, coated Czech beads. You just need to sew a square stitched section that, when folded in half, is a sensible size to hold your particular clasp. Make sense?

It’s easy to decrease if you want a shorter tube, to fit a short clasp. After you finish a row, just bring your needle out where you want to start, square stitch away, and stop short of the end. Instant decrease. Youc an see in the piece below that I stepped down twice, by two beads each time. (Not counting tiny spacers.) See?

This little Ball End (above) is actually sewn INTO the tube- I closed the stitching of the tube around the clasp. You can do this if you want your clasp permanently attached to your bracelet. I do this when I send them for photography at a magazine, or someplace I can’t be, to make sure it stays where I want it. You can do it if you don’t want to risk losing your clasp.

If you would like to make your own Ball End Clasp, here is a clickable PDF with instructions on how to do so:  Ball End Clasp. Enjoy!

You can also usually find a few of my own handmade clasps for sale in my Online Shop. They take some care to make; and definitely some heavy forging, if you use fine silver, as I do, but are wonderful. I felt like I’d invented the paper clip for beads when I first thought of it, and its predecessor, the Ram’s Horn.

The smallest Ram’s Horn (about an inch long) in a Groovy Cuff.

The idea with the reversibility, and the removable clasp, is that if you make it in one continuous loop, and only sew one end into a tube, you can remove the clasp, turn it over, and the bracelet will self-adjust to fit exactly right with either layer up.

This is the structure, and it’s just like the Groovy Cuff (aka the Mod Art), but with square stitch and RAW mixed in the body of the piece. You might like thinking of it as one long strip, as I do, or you might want to think of it as four pattern pieces, which would be Layer 1, Layer 2, and two square-stitched end sections, that will hold the clasp.

Look at this excellent Groovy Cuff, shown below.  The fit was precise enough on my wrist that I didn’t sew either end into a closed tube, and I got FOUR ways of wonderful. This can only be accomplished with precise fit, though- certainly for your first piece you will want to sew one end into a tube, and settle for two looks. (Definitely click this one to enlarge!)

If, like me, you like photographic directions for beadwork, these shots of the Corset Stitch going together might be useful. Click to enlarge in a new window. This is how the single layer of matte gold went together, complete with extra spacers at each end of the RAW, to make little “ears” at the row changes. (Please note that in the illustrations for the Corset Stitch, in The Jewelry Architect, figure 5 is incorrect. It shows an extra set of beads picked up, as you can see if you look at it closely. We can’t imagine how we all missed that, and it’s been fixed for the second printing.)

If you’d like to see the Classic Kit, click here for a downloadable PDF:

The Corset Stitch Kit

9 thoughts on “The Corset Stitch

  1. You amaze me with your generosity. I cannot wait for the book to appear in my mailbox. These posts are whetting my appetite!

    Thank you for sharing your knowledge.

  2. That is a clever stitch, I dig it. Of course, I think right-angle weave is major genius and this is a great variation with a TON of possibilities. Brain explosion, thanks!

  3. Thank you thank you thank you! As you know I can’t read bead-speak. The pictures are a great big help.

  4. I am laughing my $%@ off! I love my corset stitch cuff…wear it all the time to great compliments. So I am in Maine,on the way to see my mom,and naturally packing bead projects was more important than clothes for travel. I made up a corset stitch kit as I’ve been wanting to make another. AND I made copies of my instructions in case I needed them! And here I am in Bangor, Maine and there they are!!! THANK YOU, KATE! Tjis is great for those of us who travel!

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