Silver Sewing Charm Necklace

I was recently asked by the boy’s lovely mum to make a special necklace for her sister’s 60th birthday. As the birthday girl is an amazingly talented creator of interior furnishings, the design brief was a trio of sewing charms in sterling silver - a thimble, a cotton reel and scissors.

Having spent most of July traipsing to plaster workshops in various corners of London in search of cornice that matched our existing one, and peering suspiciously at ceiling roses trying to work out exactly how big was too big, I was looking forward to getting back to my workshop. I’ve had to turn down a lot of commissions recently due to house renovation stuff taking up so much of my time, as the boy is too busy with work stuff to help much. One day our house will be finished!

Making the thimble and thread

I used my clever little lathe converter to start off both the thimble and the sewing thread spool, then finished off the wax carvings with files and polishing tools. Wax turning is fun, but it takes a REALLY long time and is very messy! I then added a setting for a little gemstone, some granulation detail and carved out the little divots. Are they called divots on a thimble? No idea! Anyway, this is how the sewing charms progressed.

Making tiny dressmaker’s scissors

I then moved on to the little scissors. I thought they might be a little fragile to carve in wax, so decided to make them from solid sheet silver instead. Gingher shears appear to be a firm favourite amongst tailors and dressmakers, so I based my scissors on their classic 8” dressmakers shears. Regular readers will know how much I love to cut things out with tiny saw blades, and I got to crack out my very smallest for this project!

After cutting out the shape with the tiny blades, I then used various files and sanding papers to carve the details and edges. It would have been easier to make the scissors as one piece, but I thought it would be really cool if they were hinged so they moved like real shears, so the carving had to be really precise to make the two halves fit together perfectly! These took so long to make that I decided to make a mould of the two halves.

The finished sewing charm necklace

After making moulds from the original carved waxes, I had each piece cast into eco-friendly recycled sterling silver. From start to finish, this project has taken well over a month to complete (so sorry to those of you that I wasn’t able to take on custom work for during this time) but I am so happy with how it turned out.

As it was for a 60th birthday (and the boy’s mum got a diamond set into her 60th birthday necklace) it felt only fair to add an ethically sourced diamond into this one too. It’s only tiny, but it sparkles beautifully! I also added a layer of 22ct gold vermeil to the cotton reel to make the colour of the thread pop against the silver.

Update: how to order

Wow! So, since posting the picture of the finished necklace on Instagram (after the birthday gift had been received of course) I have been overwhelmed with people asking how they can order one.

I have now added the necklace to my online store, with the option to add either a ruby, emerald, sapphire or diamond gemstone to the thimble.

Silver Dressmakers Scissors Necklace

I have also had a lot of people asking if they can buy the tailor’s shears as a necklace on their own, so I have now made them available to purchase on my website. Although the scissors open and close like real sewing scissors, I have purposefully blunted the blades for safety!

For an extra touch of luxury, the dressmakers shears necklace can also be ordered in solid gold.

Each piece of jewellery is ethically handcrafted to order in my London studio, so please allow up to two weeks for UK delivery. If you need your jewellery urgently for a special occasion, please contact me and I will always do my best to meet your deadline.