It's the last day of our wedding wonders, and we hope we've provided you with a bouquet of inspiration to add a bit of sparkle to your world. Whether you're making projects for you own wedding or considering a home-based wedding accessories business, we think you'll be impressed with the Artistic integrated system of crystals, software, cutters and presses. As we've mentioned along the way, we approached this series challenge with a bit of trepidation, wondering if Artistic was merely As Seen on TV's "BeDazzler" gone digital. Far from it! This is sophisticated software with a myriad of possibilities, from elegant to whimsical. Today's gorgeous ring bearer's pillow is an excellent example of how you can use the system to combine machine embroidery and crystals. The result is an intricate composite design of heirloom quality.
As we described in our overview article, The Business of Bling!, the type of crystals available varies in both faceting quality as well as color. The majority of Artistic dealers carry three varieties: a standard rhinestone, available in 26 colors; a mid-range Preciosa crystal, available in 59 colors; and the high-end Swarovski crystals, available in 84 colors. The standard size is a bag with 10 gross. A gross is 144 pieces, which means a bag of 1,440 sparkles! Prices vary from a low of about $10 to a high of $80 and up for some of the specialty Swarovski crystals. The folks at Artistic tell us options for offering bags of smaller and/or larger quantitites are in the works.
The main difference between the choices is the lead content. When lead oxide is added to glass, crystal is produced. The higher the lead content, the better quality the crystal. The Swarovski crystals have a lead content of more than 30% and are recognized as being the highest quality in the industry. In addition, Swarovski is credited with the 1955 introduction of the process of applying a thin metallic coating to crystals to produce an iridescent effect. This is the technique used to create the Aurore Boreale color we chose for all our projects. It beautifully reflects whatever color is worn near it. The process is named after the Aurora Borealis atmospheric phenomenon, also known as the Northern Lights.
We used the Swarovski crystals on today's ring bearer's pillow, knowing it would become a keepsake. We also used them on yesterday's bridesmaid's clutch. All the other projects in the series were made with the standard lower-end rhinestones, and we were still happy with the resulting sparkle and shine for a more economical price.
All of our DIY Wedding Sparkle projects are structured to provide inspiration rather than act as full sewing and software tutorials. Each article describes the basics of how to make the base project, but not in the step-by-step detail you may be used to if you're a regular S4H visitor.
Once you're hooked on the idea and have your very own Artistic System, you'll be able to visit the Artistic website, where detailed crystal design and application tutorials will be available as free downloads for all our techniques. These free .PDF files will be posted to the Artistic website soon after the conclusion of our S4H series.
We used just ¼ yard of silk dupioni in a pale aqua for our 7½" x 7½" square pillow. Our notions list included embroidery thread and all-purpose thread, two ⅞" covered button kits, 1½ yards of ¼" ribbon, a 10" x 10" square of low loft batting, a small amount of polyester stuffing, and tear-away stabilizer.
Our embroidery design came from the Janome PC Design Card library, card #1004 - Quilt Collection, Design #4.
- Cut two 9" x 9" squares of silk dupioni.
- Place one of the squares of silk over the 10" x 10" square of batting.
- Following the instructions for your embroidery machine, hoop the silk and batting with appropriate stabilizer. If available, use the basting function of the machine to hold the layers in place.
- Embroider the design and apply the crystals.
- We used the suggested quilt outline from the above-mentioned design card, but enlarged it to 7", then applied crystals one by one. We used two different sizes of crystals.
- An economical note we learned form the experts at Artistic is that a single template can be used with different colors of crystals if each color is a different size. In addition, a single template can be used for different sizes of the same color of crystals by applying the largest size crystal first.
- If you haven't already, take a look at the first article in our series, The Business of Bling!, for a step-by-step overview of the crystal application process.
- Trim the finished embroidery and batting to make a 8" square. Cut a second square of fabric to match.
- Place the two squares right sides together, and sew around the four sides, using a ¼" seam allownce. Leave a 3" opening along one side for turning.
- Trim the corners and turn the the pillow right side out.
- Stuff lightly with polyester stuffing, taking care to fill the corners of the pillow. Hand stitch the opening closed.
- We used one of our Bejeweled Buttons as the pillow's center point and a plain button for the back.
- Attach the buttons to the center of the pillow on both the front and back, sewing through the pillow and pulling up on the threads slightly to create a bit of a tuft.
- The Bejeweled Button should be on the right side of the pillow and the plain button on the back.
- Cut two 24" lengths of ¼" ribbon. Tie each length around the button on the front of the pillow. Use these ribbons to secure the bride and groom rings in place.