I knew I wanted a pair of plain, flat cuff links. I checked Michaels, but they only had square shaped links in the bead craft area. They were also kind of bulky. I suddenly had a brainstorm and called Stein Mart (they have everything) and bingo! Plain, flat cuff links for $9.99. Yes, it would have been nice to find them for $3.00, but I didn't have to buy anything else for this project.
Here's what you'll need:
a pair of plain, round cuff links
a few inches of fabric (scraps are usually fine)
thread (regular sewing thread and embroidery floss)
water or air soluble fabric marker
clear Elmers glue
I raided my scrap bag and chose a few different patterns, I decided to go with the madras. The red seersucker looked a little like pink from a distance and the blue was reading: "Baby." Trace your links on the fabric then cut circles about a half inch larger than the actual size. Cut circles of iron on interfacing the same size as your links and iron them to the fabric rounds.
What you're actually making is a tiny fabric yo-yo that will cover the link. Fold the edges in a tiny bit (about 1/8 of an inch or less), just enough so that you can stitch without unraveling your edges. Knot your thread and make a running stitch all the way around the edges of the circle. Now, when you begin to gather the yo-yo, the edges will magically turn to the inside, leaving you with a nice clean edge.
Begin to gather the yo-yo.
Put the fabric around one of the cufflinks and finish gather. If you are stopping here (not embroidering initials) then you can skip on down to the "tying off" steps. Otherwise, leave the thread long and don't knot it off yet. You'll need the extra length later.
If you want to embroider initials, now is the time to draw them onto the fabric with a fabric marker (water or air soluble).
Take the fabric yo-yo's back off the links and get ready to embroider. I used a back stitch here. Knot your embroidery floss (I used 2 strands so it would look crisp), make a stitch on the right side of your fabric. When you bring the thread back up from the wrong side, stitch slightly ahead of the finished stitch. Now make your second stitch on the right side, back through the end of the first stitch.
Finish up the initials. Dab a tiny bit of clear Elmer's glue on top of the link. This will keep it from slipping around too much and after it dries will keep the initial centered. Now, gather the yo-yo around your cuff link. I usually sew through a couple of "ridges" just to help secure the thread (hiding it as I go). I used a French Knot to make a large knot on the inside of the yo-yo. Wrap the thread around your needle several times (the more times, the larger the knot), pull the thread so that the "wraps" are as close to the fabric as possble then push the needle through fabric from the inside to the outside of the yo-yo. (Be sure to keep the wraps around the needle through this proces) Pull tight then snip off the thread close to fabric on the outside-the end will disappear into the yo-yo.
Look for any raveling edges and tuck them under, I dabbed on a little No Fray and a little glue to keep things in place.