Wonder Woman is not my style icon (I would be way too cold) but I do envy her gold bracelets. The tiara maybe her power accessory but it’s the bracelets that make her seem fierce (it certainly isn’t that wimpy looking lasso).
In a summer craft class, just before I laid eyes on Lynda Carter and her golden wrist, I made a leather bracelet. I stamped my name on it, of course. What self-respecting11-year-old wouldn’t? I thought I was so cool when I wore that bracelet. Sadly, in a moment of preteen fickleness, it was abandoned when in middle school shop class we made acrylic cuff bracelets with our names stamped into them.
I had forgotten all about my leather bracelet until a few of months ago. I had just started Style School and my daughter brought home a wide leather bracelet she made at a street fair. I borrowed it one day to break out of my comfort zone of wearing no accessories at all and I loved it. I felt like both Wonder Woman, powerful, and that totally cool 11-year-old. That’s when I got the great idea to take up leatherwork.
Ok, let’s be realistic the practical side of me says: 1. Set up for a new hobby isn’t cheap 2. Just how many leather cuffs and belts would you make to justify the cost of the supplies? Wouldn’t buying them from a craftsperson be more economical? and 3. Where are you going to find the time for learning and doing leatherwork?
Then the other side chimes in, the side of me that’s up for fun and has no concept of time: But making things is fulfilling and learning new things is good for you and we should do it because you might be awesome at it (I like the way this side thinks 😉
So I compromised, as I usually do. Let’s dabble in this bracelet making but with supplies and tools I already have and know how to use AND, extra practical, write about it for the blog. (Always thinkin’, that practical me)
Everyone has materials that resonate with them more than others. I love stones, leather, natural fibers, and sometimes metals. Felt has always been one of my favorite materials and can be an excellent substitute for leather to make a bracelet (but maybe not use it for making a belt ;-).
To make a felt bracelet it really is as simple as you think.
You will need two strips of felt as wide as you want and long enough to fit your wrist with some overlap on the ends for the snap. Use wool or wool blend felt, not the cheap craft felt which can be itchy, poor quality and doesn’t have enough density to it.
You sandwich a strip of mid-weight interfacing between the felt strips if you think your felt needs more stability. Place the two felt strips together and around your wrist to determine if this extra layer is something you want.
The top piece (either piece of felt) can be decorated in numerous ways. Applique, embroidery (hand or machine), and beading are the first things that popped into mind but you could also sew on buttons, bedazzle it, pin a brooch to the center of it, or stencil a design or words. Your imagination is the boss here just remember to leave the overlaps clear for the snaps.
After the top piece is embellished, if you are using interfacing, fuse the interfacing to one of the pieces. If you’ve embroidered the top fuse it to the back of the top as extra security in holding the threads and thread knots in place. (May help prevent the embroidery thread from snagging on the top side). The interfacing is optional and only needed if your felt requires a little extra heft.
Sew the two pieces of felt together around the edge by machine or by hand. If your embellishments are too close to the edge for the machine’s pressure foot to pass by you’ll have to sew it by hand but it doesn’t take long.
Apply the snaps to the ends of the bracelet as per the snap’s instructions.
But wait, there’s more: Having made three felt cuffs with three different snaps I can attest that you need to use heavy duty snaps. Snaps that are not heavy duty are not made to go through two layers of felt. It’s just too thick and the snap, one side or both, will come off.
Since the look of heavy duty snaps isn’t exactly what I’m after I’m thinking of using a loop and button closure on future cuffs (at least one to see if it works). I’m wary that the loop and button will make the bracelet difficult to put on and take off. However, I will update this post when I try this and let you know.
The burgundy felt used for the beaded bracelet is 100% wool from Mercurius. They sell only to schools, homeschool collectives and retailers. Since I no longer homeschool I now buy wool blend felt from Benzie Design. The feel is pretty close to the 100% wool felt, the quality is great and their color selection will knock your socks off. I used Dritz brand snaps.
These bracelets took no time to make and would make a nice gift (my 23-year-old daughter approved). The beading took more time than the applique but was still done in under two hours and I’m not that fast. How you embellish the bracelet will be the biggest factor in how much time it takes you to complete it.
And they are easy to make. A quick, no stress little project. Who needs coloring books? I’m going to be making some in bright colors to brighten up the gray days ahead. The wider bracelet actually keeps my wrist warm a definite plus since I like 3/4 length sleeves. But what I really want to know is can they ricochet bullets like Wonder Woman’s?