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Now that Christmas is over and I’m done (for now) with my ecological gift wrapping guide, let’s get back to regular refashioning business with a super quick project. I’d actually planned on publishing this tutorial as a last-minute gift idea, except I was perhaps a bit too last minute and didn’t quite make it in time. Oops! Anyway, this project is great because it’s a way to use up all those random t-shirt sleeves left over from other refashioning projects and turn them into…
…a funky upcycled necklace! I first published this type of necklace in this post here, but only now did I get around to making the tutorial. Both this and the other one are multi-colored in grey-scale tones with a colored strip wrapping them together, but you could make a mono-chromatic one or one with all the colors of the rainbow!
First gather up your sleeves. You want sleeves that have a decent amount of fabric between the armpit seam and the sleeve hem, so these sleeves in the photo above are not good candidates. Use sleeves that look like the first image of this post, which are generally found on men’s t-shirts.
First of all, make a stack of your sleeves, lining up the hems and the top fold. They don’t need to all be the same width, but if you have one or two sleeves that are considerably wider than the others, like my white sleeve above, you might consider making it less wide. This step is completely optional, which is why this can be a no-sew project.
To do this, turn the too-wide sleeve inside-out and place a regular-width one on top of it. Draw a line along where the edge of the regular one is, then stitch along it and trim and discard the extra width.
I just serged along the line, to sew and cut in one step.
Now lets get cutting! It’s super easy to use a rotary cutter and cutting mat for this, but you can use regular scissors. First cut off and discard the hems (top). Then slice up the sleeves (bottom). It’s up to you how wide to cut them. 1 cm strips will give you longer and thinner loops while 2 cm strips will be shorter and chunkier.
Mine here are about 1 1/2 – 2 cm wide.
Now we need to stretch our loops out. Hold one in two hands and gently stretch the loops out. Don’t yank too hard or you could tear the seam, which is now weakened after having been cut into. Once it’s been stretched out, the loops will be thinner and longer.
Note that not all t-shirt fabric stretches. If you have the type with thin ribs, it probably won’t stretch out. That was the case with this red fabric, but that’s ok because we need a t-shirt strip to wrap around the loops, so we’ll use these anyway.
Get all your stretched strips and your non-stretched strip to wrap around ready.
Layer your loops around your hand with the seams all more or less lined up. Slip your non-stretched strip underneath the seams and start wrapping it around. If you have a shorter strip, you might want to add on another strip at one point, keeping the ends in place by wrapping around them. When you’ve finished wrapping around the loops so that all the seams are covered, tuck the end of the strip underneath itself and tuck the end under another bit of the strip, hiding it.
And that’s it! Your necklace is all ready!
You can wear it with the wrapped part hidden in the back or showing to the side, as an extra touch of color and interest to the piece. Now whip up a bunch of these for those people you sort of forgot about before Christmas or any last-minute occasion. And Happy New Year!!