Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Chain Reaction

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With Christmas upon us, I was faced with a burning question..... What to give my vinyl divas who have been spoiled all year long with designer clothes, shoes and handbags. And then it came to me.....Body Chains!!!

Original conceived to be worn over bikinis and beach wear, this harness-like, multi tiered body chain is fashion's hottest holiday accessory. Now repurposed to add sparkle and drama to party wear, Brooke Danielson, editor of vogue.com, announced on her site, "Body chains are an edgy way to decorate your outfit. From delicate chains to statement pieces, it's the (best) way to spruce up the little black dress." Silver, gold, bronze or color coated, you can make them understated to peak out from under a garment, or elaborate enough for dolly to make a grand entrance! All you need is chain, jump rings, findings or bits of earrings, pendants. And don't forget the jewelry pliers (sold inexpensively at all crafts stores.)

As usual I had such a good time with this project that I couldn't stop at just three examples. I Googled to see what was out there, headed to a jewelry supply store then let my imagination take over. The end result was much prettier than I had expected. And yes, if I were 25, I would definitely make any one of these for myself!
When it comes to chain, there are many different shapes and sizes. Feel free to use a variety of different chain within the same design. The hardest part of working with this medium (for me) was dealing with very fine chain and closing the jump rings. For help with handling jump rings, JewelrySupply on YouTube offers some great advice. Click here to see.

 1. At my favorite bead/jewelry supply store in Paris, I found lots of little pressed metal charms. I put jump rings at the top and bottom loops of this charm.
2. I threaded my chain through the ring and attached jump rings on both ends and, in this case, a small claw on one end. You can also make an S ring.
3. For the moment, this resembles a simple pendant.
4. Here you can see the closure at the back.
5. At the back, you will need another bit of chain to suspend from one of the jump rings. Then take a bit of craft wire and form a figure 8.
6. At that to the end of the center back chain and add another jump ring at the bottom.
 
7. Since I'm draping this directly on the doll, I pinned my figure 8 at the back and the pendant in the front down to keep it from moving while I work.

8. I take the chain and drape it from the front to the back to check for length. Then double the amount and cut.
9. Thread it through the jump rings on each side of the pendant.
10. Then bring the two ends together and join together at the center jump ring on the bottom of the pendant. This allows you to adjust the drape. Because we are not using a center back closure, this means the doll will have to step into the body chain.
From front to back, this is how my chain looks.


I really love the finer chains, but just be sure you have the right size jump rings or craft wire. And I will advise that you use some sort of magnifying glass to help you along.
I love how this chain delicately crisscrosses the body. For this, I used a heavy chain around the neck (simply because it was easier to work with) and finer chains that radiate over the bust.
1. Begin with wrapping the neck with chain and cutting to fit.
2. Add your closures to each end.
3. Stretch out your necklace then plan where you will place the jump rings. You must use an even number of them.

4. Attach the finer chain from one side of the necklace and cross the body to the back
5. Attach to the last loop nearest the center back. Repeat. Then repeat on the other side.
From front to back the end result looks like this. Since it has a center back closure, getting it on and off the doll is pretty straight forward.

A statement piece adds quite a dimension to the simplest of gowns. In fact, that's the secret to dolly wearing this look well. Choose very simple garments that fall close to the body like this strapless sheath gown.
I started out with a pressed metal disk. I've circled in red where I placed the jump rings. There is one single chain up from the top. I've added an S ring. It will wrap around the neck and hook onto itself. At the bottom, a single loop of chain attaches to the jump rings on either side of the disk. Again, the doll will need to step into  this chain. Here you can see, front to back how this falls around the body.

Worn over a simple black dress, the result is stunning on Jamilia.

I found black chain and a black pressed metal disk. I wanted to make something combining the spirit of Asia and punk. This look isn't for everyone, but Liu (a Kyori Sato FR doll with a NuFace body), has a tiny bust and pulls it off.
This is essentially a necklace with a disk pendant. A double chain is added to the jump rings (marked in red) at each end of the necklace in the back. Another chain (attached to a jump ring at the bottom) runs through the jump ring attached at the bottom of the disk. This wraps around the waist and attaches to itself with an S ring (marked in blue) at the back.
Here's the front and back views of this chain.

Stunning when worn black on black.

Your doll isn't as daring as Liu? Slide a shirt or jacket over the chain and button low.


The better crafts or jewelry supply stores will carry a variety of chain including some with beads or pearls. This is a simple multi-strand chain necklace. If the other chains on this page are too complicated or too much for your doll's tastes, she can still get in on the trend by wrapping a couple of strands around the shoulders to the back.



Though I found this at a jewelry supply store, earrings also make for great statement jewelry.
I bent some simple 18 gauge wire into a neck cuff, added a jump ring then attached my "earring." I threaded some fine silver wire through the jump ring and attached a claw and loop closure at either end of the chain. This drapes over the doll's bust and around the back of her waist. Simple!
This is another view from front to back.
 
And then we went for high drama! Meet Grace, my newest model. This striking beauty needed something extravagant. I found a silver pendant in form of a bird.
Here you can see, I've attached jump rings to the extremity of each wing as well as where the birds meet in the center. A drape of silver chain which will go over each shoulder drops from the wing tip to the center ring. I added a small length of chain with a teardrop in the center. This can be worn either in the front or at the back. Worn as a back accent, I threaded a black satin ribbon which ties in the front at the throat. But when worn over the front of a black top, this chain is attached to my silver wire choker.

Wishing you, your families and your doll families a
Very Happy and Most Stylish Holiday!!!!
 
from April and her "models"
 
 
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28 comments:

  1. Hi, beautiful jewelry <3 and great blog :)

    Thank you for your visit and very nice comment. :) :)

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    1. And thank you for your visit and kind words. Come back anytime!!

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  2. April, every single one of these is gorgeous. You are a creative! I see why you couldn't do just a few examples.

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    1. And I still have a little extra chain left over!!!! Thank you, Jaye, for your kind words. This was a really fun project.

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  3. Hi April, they are wonderful, I really can't pick just one. I can understand that once you've started you simply couldn't stop at three specimens!
    I LOVE Grace, she's absolutely gorgeous!

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    1. Thank you Billa. When I was sketching out my ideas, I really didn't have an idea as to how they would really hang on the body. Once I finished the first one, I was really pleased. With Grace, it was love at first site. I decided I had to have her. I have a feeling you'll be seeing a lot of her around here. She wears everything wonderfully!!!

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  4. Probably my favorite post on this whole blog!

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    1. LOL!!!! Glad you liked this project, Teva.

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  5. All the jewelry pieces look stunning, I love them all, you made great designs! Grace is such a beautiful new model, and she looks fabulous with the bird chain. Merry Christmas April, to you, your family and your model agency members :-). Big hugs xxx

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    1. Thank you, Linda. The nice thing about this project is that it gives you something to do with all of those little doo-dads you find lying around in bead stores or flea markets! Grace is a present from my dad. I wasn't suppose to start playing with her before Christmas but couldn't help myself. Happy Holidays to you as well, Linda. Big hugs. April

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  6. I can't wait to try and make some of these. These would be fabulous for New Year's Eve! I'd better get to work. The hard part will be deciding who of my doll community gets to wear them! As always, thanks for your generosity.

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    1. I had New Year's Eve in mind when I made these. The only reason fights have not broken out in the house is because, not everybody is in the same room. But already, I had to make one more this morning, just to keep the peace! Have fun and have a wonderful holiday!

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  7. Jestem zachwycona Twoimi pomysłami! Łańcuchy to piękny i oryginalny element dekoracyjny! Panny wyglądają wspaniale!
    Wesołych Świąt!

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    1. Olla wrote: I'm delighted with your ideas ! Chain is a beautiful and original decorative element ! Many look great !
      Merry Christmas!

      Thank you, Olla. Chain adds a new dimension to fashion and I really enjoyed making these. You too, have a very Merry Christmas.

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  8. Quelle agréable surprise ! Avec des bijoux. Bravo ! C'est très inspirant je ne m'y attendais pas du tout. Je me dis toujours lorsqu'on crée, il faut grandir dans sa création, toujours s'améliorer et faire une peu plus. Je reconnais que c'est magnifique ! Je suis impatiente de voir les prochaines créations. Très beau congé des temps des fêtes.

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    1. Merci Shasarignis. Avec ce blog je suis en cherche les dernieres tendencies de mode pour m'inspirer. Je suis tres fidele a vogue.com. Je regarde les vitrines, les tapis rouges (style Oscars Hollywoodiens, Cannes) et j'essaie traduit tous autour de moi en miniature pour mes poupees. C'est un autre facon de rester tres mode! Je te souhaite une tres bonnes fetes de fin d'annee!

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  9. Thank you for the inspiration! I want to make more jewellery too, not just body chains but also with strings of beads. I have a chain so tiny that no wire fits through the links. Do you have any tips for that?

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    1. Actually, when I did the black body chain, I thought it might be something you might like. I really wanted really fine chain for these, but had the same problem. Eventually I found wire thin enough and made my own jump rings. For my really fine chain I used gauge 24 wire. (The higher the number the finer the wire.) I do have some even finer (like thread) but be aware the thinner the wire the easier it might break. I have made bead jewelry (for myself). For the doll, I want to do something more modern than the standard fare. So I tend to look at avant-garde or art jewelry (contemporary and 1960s) for ideas. I haven't completely explored this for the doll. But at some point I'd like to as well. Hope that helps a little.

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    2. I didn't have beading wire (30ga) around, but I doubt even that will fit. I'm thinking about wrapping the ends somehow. I'll show you if I ever figure out how to use it. For the beaded chains, I suggest drawing inspiration from the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show 2011, collection "Put a spell on you". I wanted to do something similar ever since I watched it! Oh, I'm so lazy -_-

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    3. Took a look at the jewelry in that show. OMG, you are VERY ambitious!!! As far as the initial problem with working with fine chain is concerned, beadbee.com has what appears to be useful suggestions. I was also thinking that soldering a jump ring on the end could be another solution as well.

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  10. These are gorgeous! I have lots of jewelry findings and beads......think I need to get to work! Thanks for the inspiration.

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    1. Thank you, Chris. Have fun with this project. After you've done one or two, it gets easier and easier!!!

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  11. Hello from Spain: your designs and creations are very inspiring. Looks very nice. Great photos. Happy Holidays. Keep in touch

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    1. Thank you, Marta. Hope your holidays were wonderful. See you soon.

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  12. Just wow April
    i would love to style all this chains jewelry,looks stunning all your ladies ;-)
    great job
    xx

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    1. M-C, this project was so much fun, I made more to dress other dolls up for the holidays! Thank you for your kind words.

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  13. Replies
    1. Thank you. This is a big trend in California right now. And so much fun to make for the doll!

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