Sautoir* necklaces - really long chain affairs - are really easy to make. They team up well with winterwear like plain sweaters and turtlenecks. This tutorial shows you how to make them adjustable length so you can wear them in different ways and mix and match with other necklaces.
First thing to do is determine the length of each sautoir. The actual length will be down to personal preference, body type (some people are more long waisted or buxom than others) and garments (a bulky turtleneck will "shorten" the look of a sautoir as the necklace has to go around a heavier neckline).
The best way to check without cutting any chains is to use some yarn lengths and check them out on yourself or a mannequin. I sized my longer sautoir at 48 inches and the pendant sautoirs at 24-25 inches. The latter can certainly be longer but I wanted mine at this length because it was just the right length when I wore both necklaces together with the long one in a double loop as shown below.
If you try and double up the necklace, one of the loops will ride up to the neck like this :
So what you need is a necklace shortener! You can purchase the hinged ready made necklace shorteners or use necklace extenders! The latter can be made with a clasp, short piece of chain and a jump ring or two!
These little thingies help you loop up portions of long chain necklaces so you shorten them. While it is a neat thing to do with necklaces that need a little shortening, using them on sautoirs makes them design versatile!
It is a little fiddlier using a necklace extender but it works just the same way (please note this is an unorthodox way of using a necklace extender) :
So now a 48 inch sautoir can be looped up to look like a multi strand necklace very quickly and at any length you desire!
Here is what it looks like at the back.
If you are using thinner chain, like I did for the brass necklace, you will have to introduce jump rings or other ring components at intervals so you can use them to loop up a long chain necklace. Whatever you use, these rings must be large enough for the necklace shortener or extenders to go through.
For the gold chain with pearls, I used short lengths of chain, two sizes of jump rings, wire wrapped pearls on both sides. Each section was 6 inches long. I made 8 sections so the necklace became a 48 inch one. Need more places for the shortening to happen? Then go with 4 inch sections and make 12 of them.
You could also use the same principle in making the pendant necklaces adjustable too. I simply made mine claspless at 24 inches. The easiest type of focals are large vertically holed ones like this lovely crystal. Tip for beginners - prepare the beginning of a wire wrapped loop and then slide on the chain necklace ends. The links were closed ones ie they were not jump rings.
Same with the bottom chain tassel. Once the chains are added, the wrapped loops can be completed.
The gold cloisonne donut was a bit of a problem as it was too hard to feed the center pearl on the main wire. So I wired the pearl on after the fact with fine wire.
*Sautoir is French for long necklaces. These are tassel lariats or chain necklaces with or without pendants. They were popular during the Belle Époque era (1871-1914). The Victorians and Edwardians loved them too. They probably were inspired by the military braids and chains of the late 19th century. The styles continued to be popular well into the 1920's and were favored by flappers. Season 4 of Downton Abbey set in the Roarin' Twenties have several examples of sautoirs designed by Andrew Prince.
Chains and freshwater cultured pearls were courtesy of House of Gems.
Before You Go:
- Dramatic Chain Jewelry Tutorials
- Pearl Cluster Necklace Tutorial
- Multiple Chain Necklace Inspirations and Tutorials
Original Post by THE BEADING GEM
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