Friday, May 31, 2013

Compare different sizes of Soutache Braid

Today I'd like to compare the different sizes in Soutache Braids.

I've been working with an imported to US braid from Ameerunswithscissors made from polyester (the blue ones) and a Domestic US braid from Simply Soutache polyestor or rayon, depending on the colour (pink ones).

The pink braid US domestic, is 2mm wide and about 1mm thick and tightly woven
The blue braid US imported, is  woven looser which makes it (or appears to) 3mm wide and about 1.5mm thick. (all measurements I've taken with my little metal ruler so not exact)

Both these braids are lovely to work with, but depending on the beads you use, what item you are making, or the look you want to achieve, if you have both types in your stash you may want to evaluate the size when making a choice in a project.

Finished dimensions of these earrings are
pink 2cm x 2.5cm
blue 2.5cm x 3cm

Although the difference between the braid sizes isn't much, it does build up, and combined with using different seed bead sizes, can make a difference between an item whose shape is defined, narrow and wearable to one which is plush, larger and may appear bulky to some eyes.

Other differences - the looser polyester imported braid snags easily on the needle or fingernails, the domestic tighter one is more tolerant and thereby easier to work with.

I started with the polyester, plush imported one. The extra size was easy to hold and manipulate. I've since used the narrow braid from Simply Soutache and Beadsmith brand and now much prefer these narrow ones, although it took a little to adjust whilst holding a work in progress.

My students have learnt on the narrow braid and have easily managed the braid, (nymo is what gives them problems).

Other braids and brands - I don't know how many domestic brands the U.S. has but the one I like and talk about here is from Simply Soutache

Here in Australia one of our suppliers has a brand which is narrow and hard, and I've used some from the fabric shop and like neither, I've talked about these in a prior post here. I haven't, as yet, used any from Europe but may try some in the future.

So what style of braid do you favour? Have you tried some of the different sizes and textures?

Let me know what you think!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Buy Soutache - Simply Soutache Review

I'd like to introduce Teressa from Simply Soutache, Teressa is in Tulsa, Oklahoma and has an online store where you can buy Soutache - American made Soutache Braid and supplies, including threads and backings. You can also find her on Facebook.

Simply Soutache sells a 2mm braid made in America, some colours are polyester and some rayon. Teressa sent me a yard each of pink, dark pink and brown so I could use it and give some feedback.

I decided to make a brooch, it's coming into winter here so these will be fun on beanies, hats and scarves. The dark pink is polyester the others are rayon.

The braid has minimal fraying, although I still use a dab of fraycheck. The polyester braid fitted well with the rayon ones.

The braid fits together well, is easy to identify the herringbone direction so you can make sure braid is all laying the same way, it stitches well, curves easily and a pleasure to use.

Price - at .59c per yard is very comparable to the other brands I like to use

So Result - I like this braid, it feels nice to use and is economical

I love to hear from visitors so please leave a comment 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Beadsmith Soutache Supplies

I recently began teaching Soutache at my local beading store using Beadsmith Soutache supplies.
I have previously mostly used the imported braid through Ameerunswithscissors.

I found the Beadsmith one a bit fiddly to begin with as it is thinner and narrower than what I was accustomed to, but soon got used to the feel in my hands. The ladies I've been teaching have been able to work with it easily and with no pull marks (where the needle catches a thread).

Here is my first Swirl earring using the imported braid

And this one is using Beadsmith

As you can see in the blue one the braid is tighter, finer and pulls around the beads making them pop. In the top one the braid is thicker and covers the beads more, these are polyester, feel luxurious and fray.

In the beadsmith one the blue is polyester, black and grey are rayon, none of these fray to the extent of the imported brand but the polyester does fray more than the rayon. It is very easy to combine polyester and rayon braids in the same stack as they still fit together nicely. I'm yet to play with metallics but understand it should fit in well also. As there is more substance in this braid you can easily determine whether your need is in right place because of resistance.

Amee from Ameerunswithscissors has been working for along time with Beadsmith to design a braid for jewellery design and they have succeeded enormously. I love working with the Beadsmith Soutache braid.