The Midnight Leaves Soutache Statement Necklace

Midnight Leaves

This soutache statement necklace by Nancy Donaldson was commissioned to showcase our fabulous line of soutache cords.  The necklace was displayed in our “New Innovations” booth at the Craft and Hobby show earlier this month.

In our It’s Soutache manual written by Fernando DaSilva (released in the fall of 2014) Soutache was described “as one of those materials that defines not only a look but also a whole technique.  Recently, Soutache has become popular among many European designers excited by the endless possibilities this material provides to their creations.  The technique requires a lot of precision and a certain finesse to handle and stitch trims together.”  There are many applications for this fantastic trim and the main rule is that you must insert your needle in the centre of the soutache groove with every stitch.  That can be challenging and requires practice.

When we released our Soutache manual, Nancy was given an early copy along with some of our cords to experiment.   (she is a regular contributor of projects on this blog)  We assumed that she might make a few of the projects in the book.  We never imagined she would immerse herself into soutache, teaching herself new and unorthodox ways to use the cord.  Our Creative Director Fernando DaSilva recognized her talent immediately and met with her to select a color palette and theme for this necklace.

Many recognized soutache jewellers pre-plan their designs with mathematical precision.  Nancy is much more free with her designs.   She creates individual pieces that are collaged together.  She does not glue her sections into one single backing pad.

Her piece is also unique because some sections are left open.  The sections that are padded showcase our fish leather in a way that sets Nancy apart from other soutache designers.  Our fabulous tilapia leather created the perfect texture when paired with soutache trims and beads.   Her finished necklace is not stiff.  It conforms to curves on the body beautifully.  She also created matching cuffs that sit perfectly on a wrist.

The cabochons used by her in this necklace are “JB Vintage Atelier.”  Selected by Fernando just for this design they are incorporated in a way that is fresh and appealing.  We are proud to showcase this new soutache designer’s masterpiece.

What Nancy Used To Create Her Necklace


Dazzle-it Soutache Cords

75000900-11   Wine Soutache Cord

75000900-46  Acai Soutache Cord

75000900-45   Alloy Soutache Cord

Fish Leather

751-35101-02  Light Grey Suede Fish Leather

751-35101-03   Plum Suede Fish Leather

751-35101-01   Black Suede Fish Leather


27758101096 313  Swarovski 6mm Lavender Pearl

27758101245 001  Swarovski 12mm Light Grey Pearl

27758101160 328  Swarovski 8mm Blackberry Pearl


45s 1960206004700 Preciosa Siam 6mm

45s 1960204004700 Preciosa Siam 4mm

27004139 Czech Fire Polished Garnet 6mm

27004137 Czech Fire Polish Garnet 4mm

27290000-41 Ori Crystal Donut Amethyst 4x6mm

680-02069  Czech Square Metallic Mix 3.4mm

45s1960203003600 Preciosa Round Jet 3mm

45s1960204003307 Preciosa Round Jet 4mm

45s6930205003600 Preciosa Round Jet 5mm

JB Vintage Atelier

Black Cabochons


Czech Rhinestone Cup Chain

Super Easy Fish Leather Pendant

There are a few products that need no embellishing to look beautiful.  Fish leather is just such a product.  On its own it is already unique and you can see gorgeous patterns.  My turtle pendant showcases this.

To make my perfect turtle I used a metal die that you can find in paper arts stores.  These dies are designed to cut paper but of course, they will cut fabric and even fish leather given the right pressure.

I don’t think I could have cut this shape with scissors.

The metal complex hole punching pliers made quick work of sorting our my jump ring attachments.

 I cut a second turtle from felt to line the reverse of my pendant.  This made the back very clean and finished.


Fish Leather and Buttons Cuff


When Second Skin Fish Leather was introduced to the Metal Complex line I was not sure if I would know what to do with it.  Happily, I can’t stop testing and experimenting with it.

This week I wanted to see if I could make a button hole on my sewing machine.  I use a simple zigzag stitch to create my soon to be slashed opening.


Then I sewed on a button and already loved how this cuff was looking.  The fish leather scales create the most beautiful texture and used as is, is very light weight.


My main button component I made from this vintage handkerchief.


I do love to save hand stitched projects and as you can see someone worked really hard to embellish this fabric.

My cuff is ideal for the summer!


The vintage handkerchief has now been up cycled to become this gorgeous component and it is beautifully framed by the fish leather colouring.


Quilled Fish Leather Flower Rings


Yesterday I mentioned that my quilled fish leather rings were featured in the spring issue of Perles et cetera magazine.  Here is the English translation.

My quilled leather flowers are the result of my little pile of fish leather leftovers. Fish leather is an exciting new surface for jewelry designers.  It is a groundbreaking and sustainable material perfect for jewelry design.  It is made from 100% Tilapia fish. When you purchase a piece of fish leather it is about the size of a fish.  Each piece is unique and hand dyed.  It is available in either suede or glossy leather. So, I really did not want to waste a single inch of it.

There are several paper quilling techniques that I used to make my flowers.  I cut leather strips with a scalloped edge.


I cut plain strips of leather.

I also cut some strips with a fringe.

All I did was roll these strips into tight circles.  The fringed edges look wonderful and they reminded me of flowers.


Glue holds the rolled edge in place.8

I them simply added some glue to my bezel ring and set my arrangement in place.


I also glued in a few extra glass beads and wire in some of my samples.  I think the leather looks gorgeous on its own…but it never hurts to add in a little extra glitter.



Second Skin Fish Leather

Metal Complex Bezel Rings

Dazzle-It Leather Scissors

Quick Grip Glue

Fish Leather and Metal Bling Rings

These rings showcase the wonderful texture and colour you will find in our new Second Skin fish leather.

I have been working with the fish leather for a few weeks and I have accumulated a little pile of small left over pieces from my various projects.  These will not be wasted!

I brushed a little Quick Grip glue to my ring surface and then applied some to the reverse side of my fish leather.

Then I simply set my ring blanks in place and allowed the adhesive to dry.  When about an hour had passed it was very easy to cut away the excess leather.  Now I can show off my fish leather!

The metal bling rings are new to the John Bead catalogue.   Each of these images links to more information about them.

Fish Leather, Buttons and Metal Cuff

This is one of the cuffs I brought as a sample to my special cuff making class at CHA.

The buttons are the featured embellishments.  I selected them from these special button jars from John Bead.

The metal cuffs are available in three sizes.  For this bracelet I used the 1.5 inch wide cuff.  I glued some rhinestone chain to the cuff and it allowed me to attach ribbon to the edges.

The fuchsia fish leather is what makes this bracelet look so rich.

I used only one glue to attach everything!

Quick Grip works beautifully with the leather!