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Soutache & Bead Embroidery
Amee K. Sweet-McNamara

Kalmbach Books
November 19, 2013
ISBN 978-0871167507
How To/Jewelry Design

Reviewed by Linda Morelli


Amee K. Sweet-McNamara is an artist with a uniquely talented ability to make fascinating and stunningly beautiful jewelry using beads and fibers to create “curving, organic shapes and rich textural combinations.” This new technique, called “soutache,” is a process of using fibers wrapped in a figure-eight around two cords. The cords are then shaped in a curvilinear style around a central component, or group of components, including old beads, glass, shells, wood or stones. The resultant jewelry is an organic and beautiful work of art. Making soutache jewelry has its advantages: it is an inexpensive process, requiring only the soutache braid and beads, metallic findings or components of your choice. The possibilities of making unique, artistic pieces of jewelry are endless.

The author starts us off with the basic figure eight and koala shape (think of a round face with ears), then goes into more intricate curvilinear shapes to make as your confidence grows. The design examples are colorful, the materials lists are included, and the instructions and photos are detailed enough for the basic beginner and cover techniques through advanced design.

Some of my favorite designs, like the "Suspended Stone" necklace, incorporate gemstones, drilled and undrilled. Some of the designs are reminiscent of lovely jewelry made around the turn of the century, and others like the “Full-Dress Thistle” earrings are whimsical and delicate. Amee also covers layering designs for added depth and appeal.

My favorite design is the “Lady Josephine” bracelet, which incorporates turquoise blue and light green colors, along with pearls and seeds, to create an elegant and unforgettable piece of art. Soutache & Bead Embroidery is an outstanding book, and a must have for anyone who loves beading.


Reviewer Linda Morelli is the award winning author of three published romance novels.
Reviewed 2014