Monday, July 28, 2014

Favorite Techniques: Soutache Embroidery

Tigress Necklace by French Mermaid Collection

The beautiful organic patterns and shapes created with soutache and bead embroidery are always a wonder to behold. The combination of unique focals and exciting color palettes used by Suzanne of French Mermaid Collection perfectly showcase the potential of this lovely technique.

Inspirational Beading: What is your favorite technique?

Suzanne: I specialize in Hand-Embroidered Soutache Jewelry. I first became enchanted by soutache jewelry when I first saw "Helen of Troy" by Anneta Valious. It reminded me of the beautiful fine hand stitching that I learned from my grandmother in France when I was very young. She was a true artist with needle and thread.

I start with an idea in my minds eye and apply fine hand stitching. The creative process takes over as beads are lovingly cradled within more layers of soutache braids. I never know what the finished product will look like, but I'm always pleased with the results.

Inspirational Beading: How did you first learn to do soutache embroidery?

Suzanne: Actually my love of embroidery and beadwork were a natural. I had been doing both for so many years that when I saw the possibility of melding the two, it all came together.

Inspirational Beading: Of all the creations you've made with this technique, which one is your favorite?

Suzanne: “Sunset” is one of my favorites. The sea shells are a beautiful natural orange coral in color of Florida sea scallops that I've only seen on the near-by beaches of Marco Island, Florida. They work so well as focals enhanced with Swarovski pearls and crystals, complimentary soutache braid and copper-tone metallic braid and beads.

Sunset Soutache Jewelry Set by French Mermaid Collection Harem Peacock Necklace by French Mermaid Collection

Inspirational Beading: Can you share any tips for getting started with soutache embroidery?

Suzanne: Find someone who is skilled in fine needlework and take lessons until you are comfortable with the results. Start with small things like hankies, pillow cases, tea towels, etc. Or, if you’re a do-it-yourselfer check out embroidery books and YouTube tutorials.

Inspirational Beading: Do you have a favorite material or color to use it with?

Sahara Necklace by French Mermaid Collection

Suzanne: Since I specialize in Hand-Embroidered Soutache Jewelry, soutache braid is an integral and essential part of my materials list. Though I use a wide pallet of colors, metallic gold is dear to my heart.

Inspirational Beading: If someone had to choose to learn only one technique, would you recommend this one?

Suzanne: Only if they have a strong background in fine stitching such as embroidery and lots of patience. I personally love this technique. It has a very calming effect for me.

Inspirational Beading: What is your least favorite thing about soutache embroidery?

Suzanne: Only one thing: holding several of the narrow soutache braids in alignment while trying to keep them smoothly together as I begin stitching can be extremely challenging.

Inspirational Beading: Do you use any variations? Which one is your favorite?

Suzanne: I use a variety of focals or center cabochons: Imported hand-carved cameo’s, semi-precious stones, glass covered ephemera cabochons (that I make myself), found sea shells and sand dollars, any lovely and unique item that catches my attention that well incorporates with my design.

To see more gorgeous soutache jewelry designs, check out Suzanne’s blog French Mermaid Collection.

Copyright 2014 Inspirational Beading and Suzanne C. Suber
Subscribe to Inspirational Beading
Get inspired on Facebook and Google+


  1. Thank you for this interview article. I have admired this technique for so long but never tried it out. I think I will now. Thank you again.

  2. These are truly works of art. Beautiful.


Blog Widget by LinkWithin

Inspiration Topics

accessories amulet Ancient Worlds Modern Beads animals April's Army art ArtFire astrology astronomy autumn awards awareness bangle beach Bead Inspired Bead Shops bead soup bead spotlight bead stash Bead Trays beaded beads beading theory beads belt bezel birthstones black blog spotlight blue boho bone book spotlight bracelet Bracelet A Week branch fringe brick stitch brown bugles buttons cabochon ceramic chain maille challenge charity chevron chain christmas collar Collections color Color Ideas color triads conservation craft shows crafts crochet crystals cuff Culled Beads current events Current Faves daggers Daily Sets daisy chain Delicas Destash drops Dutch spiral earrings Egypt Egyptian Gods embellishing embroidery environment etsy exotic fair trade fantasy fashion Favorite Beads Favorite Techniques feminine fibers film findings fire polish fixtures Flashback Test flickr inspiration flowers food found object free form fringe Geek Jewels geekery gemstones geography giveaway glass gold gray Greece green herringbone hex cuts history holiday home decor insects inspiration tip inspired beader Inspired by... Inspiring Links ivory Jewelry Stash knitting ladder stitch lampwork lariat leaf fringe leather lights literature loomwork macrame magatamas Master Class Medallions metal free metalwork Mini Collar a Week mixed media mixture Mood Board MOP multi-color multi-strand music natural beads nature necklace Necklace a Day Nepal chain netting New Beads ocean ombre orange paint paper patterns pearls pendant peyote photography Picasso finish pink Pinspiration PMC polymer clay poster sketch purple quick inspiration rainbow RAW red resin ring Ring a Day rivoli Rome Russian spiral scarf science seed beads shell silver soutache spiral rope spring square stitch St. Petersburg steampunk stringing stripes summer tagua TBT The Elements thread Tilas Time Capsule tools trade beads triangle weave tribal tropical turquoise tutorial two-hole beads Ugly vintage Wear it Twice weather white winter WIP wire wishlist wood World Beaders yellow
Blog Home * About * Beading Tutorials * Advertise

Learn About Sponsoring Inspirational Beading with Project Wonderful
Affiliated With and