I’ve been searching high and low for a set of vintage sweater clips or guard that I suit my fancy but to no avail. Then one evening it dawned on me that I could make some! I have a large collection of vintage millinery flowers that is oft admired but rarely used and I figured some little velvet flowers would a perfect way to decorate a cozy sweater.
In this post I’ll show you two versions: one with flowers (velvet brown pansies to be precise) and one with tiny velvet bows made from ribbon.
Tools you’ll need:
- A ruler or something to measure with
- Scissors (for fabric)
- Glue (more about this later)
- Small wire cutters
- Smooth-nose pliers
- 4 alligators clips
- Optional: pinking shears, another set of small pliers and fine grain sandpaper
Supplies to make 1 set of flower clips:
- Millinery flowers (these pansies are approximately 1″x1.25″)
- 2 pieces of felt, 1 1/8″ x 3/8″ each, cut with pinking shears (Instead of felt I cut these strips from a damaged millinery leaf. Just use something that won’t ravel or cause a mess.)
- 1 piece of Medium-weight chain (4″ chain, approximately 3mm wide, is shown. You may want a longer or shorter chain for yourself. Use wire cutters to cut desired length.)
- 2 - 24mm alligator clips with holes
- 2 – 5mm jump rings (big enough to hold chain and fit through the holes in the alligator clips.)
1. Optional: if the teeth of the alligator clips seem a little rough you can smooth them out with fine sandpaper (the kind used for jewelry). Or you can glue tiny pieces of felt or ribbon to the insides; that way your sweater is protected. Let glue dry.
2. Glue felt strips to the tops of the alligator clips. Included in the Tools photo above is beading glue which, in hindsight, was not the best choice. Something like E-6000 would be better: it’s both waterproof and is thick enough to make it easy to work with. (Just make sure to use proper ventilation!) I didn’t have any on hand so I just used the glue I had. Use the alligator clips from the Tools list to hold down the fabric to the clips. Let glue dry.
3. Attach the chain to the clips with the jump rings. Use the pliers to open and close the rings. If you have 2 sets of pliers (one in each hand) this might be easier.
Make sure that the chain is not twisted when you attach the other clip.
4. Squeeze a small drop of glue onto the top of the alligator clip and position flower(s) as desired. Repeat for other clip. Let glue dry before attaching to sweater.
Now you have a pretty accessory to wear…or better yet, a nice little homemade gift for a vintage gal!
To make the velvet bow sweater clips you’ll need the same tools as before (except for the pinking shears) and:
- 1 – 7″ piece of ribbon 3/8″ wide
- Matching thread
- 1 piece of Medium-weight chain (I used a 3″ piece for this set.)
- 2 – 24mm alligator clips with holes
- 2 jump rings big enough to hold chain and fit through holes in alligator clips
1. Cut Ribbon into 2 – 2 3/8″ pieces and 2 – 1″ pieces.
2. Take one longer piece and fold down the ends to meet in the middle (forming a loop) and sew into place.
3. Take a shorter piece and tightly wrap it around the center of the loop overlapping ends, covering the loop’s ends and sew into place. (You’ll likely need to trim the short piece of ribbon depending on how tightly you wrap it around the loop.)
4. Repeat #2 & 3 for the remaining pieces of ribbon.
5. Glue each bow to the top on an alligator clip. Use remaining alligator clips to hold down bows while glue dries.
Of course you can use various other kinds of ribbons too. Or you may glue other ornaments on your alligator clips like brass stampings, little crocheted flowers, etc.