DIY, Sewing

DIY: Vintage Choker

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When my grandmother moved into a nursing home many years ago I came into possession of a multitude of vintage buttons, sewing supplies, crewel work, and other various supplies. Out of all this, however, a box full of vintage ribbon was the most enticing. Mostly velvet, the box also contained lace and fancy embroidered ribbon. It took me awhile to figure out what to do with these since they were all comparatively short and too nice to use all at once. I wore them as waist belts for awhile before coming up with the idea of making 90s grunge style chokers. Somehow reminiscent of my morbid childhood and a specific story related to a young girls’ head being held on only by a ribbon, the chokers can be vintage, goth, or grunge depending on color and how you wear them. Plus they make your neck look super skinny.

Here’s what you’ll need:

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SUPPLIES:

– Vintage Cloth Ribbon (I’m using velvet and lace, but you can use any kind you want. You can of course use new cloth ribbon as well)

– Snaps or Hook and Eye clasps

– Needle and thread in blending color

– Scissors

OPTIONAL:

– Measuring tape

– Decorations (embroidery thread, beads, etc.)

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Start by measuring how much ribbon you need. You can do this either by measuring your neck with measuring tape or a piece of string and transferring the measurement, or you can do what I do which is just wrap the ribbon around your neck and hold where you need to cut. Make sure to cut a little more than you need for some leeway.

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2. For velvet, cut one end as a triangle shape, as shown in the next picture. With velvet this makes a nice clean edge that won’t fray, however if you are using a regular fabric or lace go ahead and cut it flush. With something that is liable to fray, use a quick whip stitch along the edge if you want to give the choker a really professional, finished look. I’m not going to do that, however, and after the snaps are sewn in any fraying will not go farther down than the start of the sewing. I also kind of love the vintage look of unfinished velvet, but that’s just me.

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Please excuse my gross thumb

3. Choose whether you’d like to use a snap or hook and eye for your choker. Snaps are much easier, but may show with lace. I like to use snaps with velvet, and pretty vintage looking hook and eyes with lace. Sew the catch on the wrong side of your finished or cut end. Make sure you sew the snap, hook, or eye on in the right way – for instance snaps must be sewn with the hole or pin upwards, and hook and eyes must be sewn with the hook curing inwards. This is hard to explain, but if you get it wrong you’ll know and won’t do it again! Use a similar colored thread to your ribbon to hide stitches, and make sure the sewing is really secure.

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Here are some different clasp options

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From the back

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And the front

4. Wrap your choker around your neck to find out where the second half of your clasp needs to fall. Make sure it’s tight enough to be a choker, but not too tight! You can mark where the second half needs to go with a pen, or you can simply hold it in place where it needs to go. Sew the second half in place (again, make sure it’s sewn on correctly!) on the front of your ribbon. I didn’t have any extra ribbon on mine, but if you do snip it off at an angle or flush, depending on what look you want.

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The front

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And the back

I’ve made another with lace to show you what that would look like. I used a pretty black vintage hook and black thread. I could have used cream thread, but since the black hook was going to show I thought the black thread would also be a nice touch. Also I suck at sewing, sorry it looks poopy. When working with lace and hand sewing, make sure your knot is secure as it easily slips through the lace holes. It helps to sew over the end like you would in embroidery. I also have a black lace piece I made awhile ago (hence the fraying) where I used black snaps and thread. You can barely see the closure as a result.

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And That’s it! I love this DIY because it’s so simple and you can make a ton at once and really spruce up your wardrobe. I’ll finish with a picture of the choker on me, the faceless wonder  a super lovely model, and my current collection of chokers. There are a lot of possibilities with how to spruce up this simple tutorial as well. Some embroidery could really up the vintage Victorian feel, while some beading could give in a more gothic or 20th century vibe. It’s totally up to you and what you want to do to further the base. If you make a choker, I’d love to see it! As with all my DIYs, if I like your rendition I’ll make sure to include it in the next What’s Up With Stuff? 

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I hope you guys enjoyed the DIY! Go conquer something today!

. . .

yeah i’ll figure out the sign off thing eventually

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