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i just *LOVE* pinterest and i find loads of ideas there that truly inspire me. the problem is that sometimes i can’t stop thinking about some projects that i want to do exactly as they are and my creativity gets blocked. so every once in a while i just do a bunch of projects all at once to vent my desire to copy other people to make space in my head for my own original ideas. in this case, i wanted to do a few projects making accessories from old t-shirts without sewing. (you can find the pins for all these projects in my “refashioning” board. the original pages are linked below.)
here’s the first one: a necklace/scarf (not for winter) made from t-shirt strips. i’d pinned the same idea twice: from here and here. i’m not writing out a tutorial because they’re already in those links. but basically you cut strips from the t-shirt (horizontally), making loops. you pull them *one at a time* (first i tried stretching them all at once, but it doesn’t work well) and they stretch out, rolling into a sort of tube. then you tie them together at the seams with an extra fabric strip. seeing as there were seams on both sides, i tied them in two places, making one binding longer than the other, just to make them different. in theory you can wear this long, but i prefer twisting it a little and wrapping it around my neck twice with the bound parts together at one side. one great thing was that i was able to use a t-shirt that had a bunch of little stains and holes just by cutting through the holes. (this is what you see around my neck in the photo of this post.)
second experiment: spring scarf, again seen in two different places: here and here. basically you cut the t-shirt under the sleeves, cut off the hem and make a bunch of cuts in the bottom part and pulling them like for the necklace/scarf above. two problems: 1) i used a viscose rayon shirt which didn’t act like a cotton tee, so the strips didn’t stay pulled/rolled and 2) i didn’t like how it looked on me, neither once nor twice around my neck. so i decided to make another experiment and cut strips on the top part of the cut shirt, too, leaving a central strip keeping them all together. ugh. i don’t like this either. i’m trying to think of how to use this piece of fabric now in some other way. i thought i could make a hawaiian skirt for one of my daughter’s dolls. or sew it along the neckline o a t-shirt. i don’t know. do any of you have any ideas?
anyway, experiment failed!
i saw the next project in three places: here, here and here. it’s made by knotting strips of t-shirt and making them into hairbands or bracelets. after a few tries, i got pretty good at making these knots. i made my t-shirt strips wider instead of using various thinner strips as they do.
i made two versions of it. first a classic headband version with a piece of t-shirt joining the two strips behind. let’s just say that i was a bit of a moron and worked in great haste and laziness because 1) i was hurrying through most of it and 2) i didn’t want to sew, so i used a hot glue gun as some of the linked tutorials did. but those two don’t go too well together because the first time i made it waaaaaayyy too wide. then i couldn’t open it up anymore because of the no-longer-hot-glue. so i tried to stick two thin elastics in and sew them, but it was hard to slip them in and sew them in place, then they slipped out of place, then it was ugly as heck, then in the end it was STILL too wide for my daughter. so i cut it off and tried to sew on a new piece of jersey, as i did with these headbands (thanks to between the lines’ tutorial), but without the elastic inside. except there was still some glue left over inside and, sewing over it, i managed to ruin 3 needles (two for the regular sewing machine and one for the overlocker) and then the threads got all broken and tangled inside the overlocker and i had a lot of issues getting everything all set up again (if you have an overlocker, you already know what a pain in the bottom it is to thread one…).
finally i managed and you can see the result above… this time a little too tight for my daughter!!! argh! so now i have to do it yet again. moral of the story? it NEVER pays to work in a hurry and/or skipping trying a project one because it will probably end up taking you a lot more time in the end!!
it works! it takes a moment extra when putting it one, but at least this way whatever sized head can wear it. and i like how the non-sewn ends hang down in my hair.
i also wanted to make this scarf, again with a similar knot as the headbands and i’ve already chosen the t-shirts, but i just haven’t had time yet. and in any case you have to sew it, so it doesn’t really fit in with this non-sewn-t-shirty collection.
after the upcycling activity i did with kids last week, i had a bunch of t-shirt sleeve strips left over and i wasn’t sure what to do with them. they were even boring colors because the kids obviously chose the nicer ones. having gotten my copying spree out of my system, my brain was a little more freed up to think a bit and i realized that i could do a version of the first project i wrote about here: a grayscale necklace!
stretched strips from t-shirt sleeves ended up being perfect for a necklace and in the end i think it’s actually quite elegant, with its mix of black, wihte and gray. in addition, sleeves are only sewn under the armpit, so there’s only one seam to cover (which i did with the one colored strip that was left over, dark blue).
experiment: successful! actually, i think that of these four t-shirt upcycling projets, this one that i thought of myself is my favorite!
**UPDATE** I’ve created a detailed tutorial on how to make this last t-shirt sleeve necklace. Click here to read it!