Tassel Hassles

Options overwhelm me. Show me too many appealing options (for shoes, coffee, movies, cookies, whatever), and I’m more likely to end up sputtering in a corner than choosing anything. On the other hand, if you present me with too many unappealing options, I’ll say “I can do something better myself.”

Usually that leads me to getting in way over my head with some crafting project, but this last time it worked out! My aunt and I joined a reticule making workshop a few weekends ago. We’re Janeites and DIYers, so we couldn’t pass this up.

Reticule = Purse

We went to the fabric store together to get our supplies, but one thing on the list neither of us bought was a tassel (to add that bit of Regency bling to our bags). The tassels we saw were too big, too expensive, didn’t match, etc. I didn’t want to spend upwards of $3 on something I didn’t like (hey, I’m on a budget). So I made my own tassel! Here’s how:

You’ll need embroidery floss, a needle, and a piece of cardboard. Determine how long you want your tassel to be, and cut a sturdy piece of cardboard to that length. I folded a piece of junk mail in half, good enough.

Begin wrapping the floss around the cardboard until it’s as thick as you want it (I lost count).

Cut a piece of floss at least six inches long, and pass it under the loops of thread you just made.

Center it up and pull it to the top of your tassel. Tie a tight knot.

To cut your tassel free from the cardboard, slide a pair of scissors under the thread on one side, and cut as close to the bottom as possible. Don’t worry if some pieces are uneven.

To make the neck of your tassel (the part that binds all the loose threads together), cut another piece of floss (mine was about 10 inches long) and thread both ends through a needle, leaving a loop at the other end. Decide how big you want the head (top) of your tassel to be, and position this thread around your tassel at that point. You’re going to pass the needle through the loop of thread at the other end and pull tight, like a lasso.

Continue to wrap the thread around your tassel a few times. Once the neck looks the way you want it to, pass the needle through those loops to secure it.

Trim up any extra-long threads. Use the ties at the top of the tassel to attach it to your project. And you’re done!


So, what if you don’t have your own Regency era purse and don’t plan on making one? First, I’ll try not to hold that against you. Second, you can still make tassels!  Use them to embellish your shoes, curtains, a scarf. Or, you can do what I did, and make a couple pairs of earrings!

Before wrapping the neck of the tassel, I used the ties from the top of the tassel to attach them to earring pieces I had on hand, then incorporated the loose ends into the rest of the tassel to hide them. You can get creative with your color combinations – you don’t have to wrap the neck of the tassel with the same thread you used for the head/tails.

March is National Craft Month. It’s the perfect time to tackle some unfinished projects or pick up a couple projects like this one – crafts that can be completed in an evening, or even in less than an hour. Have fun!

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One response

  1. First, Overboard is a fantastic movie. Second, I think having your piece of cardboard say “Winner” enhances any craft. Third, fantastic reticule!

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