I made such good progress on the Bioshock Infinite costume, that I decided to take a quick break to backtrack to the ice fairy costume. I feel like there will be at least two more such occurrences, to make my shoes and to make my wand. This time, I decided that the necklace I made back in January (more than once), was not nearly enough sparkle for an ice fairy.
So I made some shoulder jewelry. While it is a very descriptive name, it is not terribly exciting. Especially since, in my opinion, shoulder jewelry is really freaking neat. Maybe there is a fancier name that I am just not worldly enough to know.
Just to be consistent with my jewelry making skills so far, I decided I needed to make this twice. And I decided it would be multi-stranded. Below is my process.
- Beading Wire (I used 49 stranded, 0.024 size)
- #2 clamps
- Jewelry tools
- Design board / measuring tool
1) I measured the circumference of my shoulder / armpit, and measured a the length of the different pieces I wanted on the finished jewelry. Then I cut some strands of beading wire to the lengths I needed.
2) I used my cutting mat to layout the bead patterns I wanted for the first draft, since it has 1″ grid lines. Below is the measured draft layout. The black lines indicate where I should have placed the outer strands, as I figured out once I put the whole thing together. I laid out maybe an inch or two of extra beads in the pattern since sometimes the spacing is off a bit from the table to the wire.
3) Start with your smallest pieces of wire. This may not always be the rule to follow, but in general think through how you are connecting all the pieces together into your finished product – order matters! Create a loop on one end of a strand using a clamp and your clamping tool.
4) Place beads on the wire and clamp the other end. Repeat this process for any strands that ultimately become part of another bead strand. In the picture below, you can see that the outer strand (with the red arrow) was created first, and then the strand with the icicle hanging off of it. The outer strand was connected to this strand, and you can tell that both of these strands will connect to other pieces as the process continues.
5) Once you have connected all the strands together, finish off the main strand with two sides of a clasp. Since this is shoulder jewelry, I planned so that the clasp would wind up on the back side of the piece, just above my armpit. This way it is relatively hidden from view as well as easy to put on (with a buddy). In the picture below, you probably are beginning to see the problem with phase 1.
This is really the end of the process, but I did try it on and discover several very important things.
1) Those two outer strands were quite droopy and wrong. See Exhibit A. The one in the back did not look any better.
2) Shoulder jewelry does not magically stay on like in some of the pictures I found online where models have shoulder adornments. There was definitely enough weight on the pieces for it to fall off my shoulder, so I decided I would need to create some way to connect it to the necklace I made for the costume.
So I went back to work and began by cutting off the wonky strands, and re-purposing them into a pattern that made more sense for the shoulder (like the black lines in the picture at the top). I didn’t have to completely restring the beads except for those two pieces, which was nice. The final product looked like this.
I added a clasp at the top of this circle piece, and a clap on the side of the necklace to provide a connection. Here is a weird angled shot of how this worked out.
It looks MUCH better. All I had to do was duplicate that effort on the other side. And I had seriously underestimated the amount of beads I would need. Thankfully, Michael’s had a sale. So I went back for more, and also wound up grabbing a cheap design board so that I couldn’t knock beads off my table quite so easily.
And a final shot of the full piece.
I really hope all the jewelry holds up over the course of DragonCon. I am having memories of last year’s Steampunk costume boots, which looked fabulous until I tried to walk around a convention in them and all the chains got caught on one another and started breaking 🙁 I do not want to be wandering around with a great costume only to have necklaces break and a trail of beads follow me back to my room.
Anyway, I like the shoulder jewelry concept, despite its lack of a cool name. I don’t really have a lot of other occasions to wear such a thing, but I am really excited to have added this to the fairy costume!