One of my clients requested a bit of custom beadwork for a sweater she had just purchased. She got the sweater from Cache and it is a really unique design. It originally had a piece of gold-plated chain where you now see the beads. She thought it would look much more custom if the commercial chain was replaced with my beadwork. I thought it was a great idea and took it on. She had the beads from a necklace she purchased elsewhere that had broken. She also requested a necklace and earrings out of the remaining beads, if that was possible.
I was very careful in designing the beadwork for the sweater. I cut the chain off and weighed it using a small postal scale. I did not want my beadwork to be much heavier than the original chain because that way I knew the sweater would hang properly. One way I dealt with the weight issue is to use seed beads near the top of the beadwork. Her hair covers that part and since she says she only wears it up once a year, no one will see that the gemstone beads do not continue further.
I then went to create the necklace and earrings. The original necklace had a beautiful design that called for passing through some beads three times. This in addition to using size 15 seed beads I think caused the original designer to use very thin beading cord. I modified the design slightly so that I only had to pass through each bead twice and could use heavier beading wire. My client did not know I would try to stay close to the original design because she knew it was a bit complex. But, I felt if she liked it enough to buy it and save the beads, that it was worth the extra effort.
I was glad I took the time when I saw the look on her face when she saw both pieces. Her eyes lit up and she got so excited. She said about the sweater – “This is signature.” And she was thrilled with the necklace and earrings. She had told he salespeople at Cache that she wanted to do this and promised to bring it back to show them. One other detail – the beadwork is detachable so she can remove it when she washes the sweater.