How to Make a Velvet Choker Necklace
Ah the black choker necklace. Insanely popular in the 90s and early 00s, these icons are back! Since my plastic chokers from middle school are long gone, I decided to make this quick little necklace to fill the void. This is a QUICK and EASY make suitable for any skill level, including total beginners!
Before we get started, let's discuss some general questions.
Q: What do I need to make this project?
To make this necklace, you will need:
A decorative box clasp (I bought mine from StudioL925 on Etsy)
Velvet elastic or ribbon- enough to go around your neck plus a few inches
Hand sewing needle
Fabric scissors or snips
Flexible tape measure (or a string and any ruler)
Lighter or lit candle (optional, recommended for synthetic elastic/ribbon)
Hem clips or pins
Q: How long does a choker take to make?
A: Not long at all! This took me less than an hour, including taking photos.
Q: How difficult is this project?
A: This project is perfect for any skill level, including those who are brand new to sewing as it requires very little actual sewing. All you need to be able to do is whip stitch - that's it!
Q: How big is the choker?
A: By following the instructions below, you'll make a custom choker that fits you (or the intended recipient) exactly. It can be as big or as small as you need to to be. If it doesn't quite fit right, you can always cut the clasp loose and make it again in a different size.
Tips, Notes, & Learnings
(Elastic Options) There are a lot of available choices for elastic. Since this will be worn on the neck, which can be sensitive, I recommend choosing a material that will be comfortable for a full day's wear. This elastic I purchased from Elastic by the Yard is velvet on one side and smooth on the other. Velvet on both sides or even lingerie elastic would be suitable materials for this project. Pick what makes you happy!
(Proper Sizing) When measuring the wearer's neck, be sure to measure where you want the choker to sit. If using elastic, ease (extra space for comfort) probably won't be necessary. In fact, the choker may feel a little too big at first. Give it an hour or so of wear to decide if the fit is truly off.
If you want a very snug choker that stays in place, take 1/2 inch off the measurement and remember to wear the clasp to the side so it doesn't put pressure on your windpipe.
(Elastic vs Ribbon) This project can be made using elastic (shown in the photos) or any sort of ribbon. Ribbon may ultimately be a bit less comfortable as it doesn't allow for expansion when the wearer sits/stands/eats while wearing. This can be partially addressed by fitting the necklace towards the base of the neck instead of the middle and adding 1/2 inch to 1 inch extra to the neck measurement as ease.
How to Make a Custom Velvet Choker
(Step 1) Measure the wearer's neck where you want the choker to sit. This is the neck circumference.
Also measure the size of the clasp between the two attachment points. This is the length of the clasp (mine was 3/4 inch).
(Step 2) Calculate the length of the necklace using the following:
(Neck circumference) - (clasp length) + 2*(seam allowance) = (necklace length)
Example: 13.5 inches - 0.75 inches + 2*(0.25 inches) = 13.25 inches --> cut the elastic this long
Using ribbon instead of elastic? Consider adding 1/2 - 1 inch extra for comfort!
Q: How much seam allowance do I need?
A: I like 1/4 inch for this project if using synthetic materials (which can be melted). If you're using a natural ribbon (e.g. linen, cotton), I recommend 1/2 inch seam allowance.
(Step 3) After cutting your piece of elastic (or ribbon) based on the measurement in the step above, it's time to secure the ends.
For synthetic elastic or ribbon: Use a lighter or lit candle to melt the ends so they are sealed shut. Fold over according to your seam allowance and whip stitch (or machine stitch) into place.
For natural elastic or ribbon: These materials will NOT melt when held to a flame (they just burn). Trim the last 1/4 inch into a trapezoid, then fold over twice so the raw end is totally encased using the 1/2 inch of seam allowance. Whip stitch (or machine stitch) into place.
(Step 4) Align one side of your box clasp with the edge of the necklace. Hand stitch it into place using several whip stitches. I find it easiest to begin with one stitch each at 6, 9, and then 3 o'clock, then fill in the gaps. Repeat with the other side of the clasp (it's easier to open the clasp at this point), making sure the elastic or ribbon is not twisted.
That's all for now, friends!
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