Photography: Raymond Hom
Source: Martha Stewart Living, August 2010
They are the emblem of girlish cuteness: braids -- as in pigtails, as in Laura Ingalls and Pippi Longstocking. In pretty fabrics or yarns, they make adorable adornments. But braids can also be surprisingly sophisticated, especially in such unexpected applications as a clutch of richly textured necklaces, a skinny strappy belt, or a leather cuff bracelet that looks for all the world like something from a high-end boutique. If you've ever put your hair in plaits, you have the ability to make any one of these easy pieces -- just give yourself a little relaxing time to twist, weave, and achieve.
Easy as ABC
When was the last time you made a braid? Even if it has been awhile, the process will come right back to you. Start with three even sections, and follow these steps.
See All of Our Braided Craft Projects
One familiar process can yield a rainbow of results. Use the tips below to come up with more braiding projects of your own.
Strips of any woven fabric can be braided, taking on a whole new look. With patterned cloth, the bigger the print, the less recognizable it will be once braided. Embroidery floss and yarn are naturals for braiding, and scraps of leather braid beautifully, too.
The easiest way to make strips of fabric for braiding is to rip them: Snip into the fabric's selvage, and then rip straight across. You can also use scissors or a rotary cutter.
Braiding eats up some of the length of your material. Start with strips that are 25 percent longer than you want your finished braid to be.
When we want pretty printed fabrics, we go to Purl Soho. It has a great selection of Liberty of London fabrics, including some similar to those above. Mood Fabrics is another great source for all kinds of cloth. You'll find more sources for specific projects on the following pages.