Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Ratty old T-shirt. Again.

Well, all, as you will remember, I did a blog swap last week with Jill from Envirocraftiness (to see her very cute CD Mini Album, go here).  I've decided to share my blog swap project with you all just in case you missed it.  I call this tutorial, The Ratty T-Shirt: Necklace Style.  
That’s right!  We’re making a necklace out of an old T-shirt.  
You’ve gotta have:
An old t-shirt (obviously)
matching thread
various sized ugly beads (also from the stash!) 
Scissors (a rotary cutter would be better...)

And that’s it guys!  
An explanation: you don’t really have to use ugly beads, but I figure, why not?  You aren’t going to see them at all anyway.  So for mine I used some mardi gras beads I cut apart and two other types of beads from necklaces that have broken and never been repaired.  This gives me three sizes total to work with, which I think is perfect - but you can use more or less.  Here are my beads with a penny for size reference.

Alright.  Lay your shirt out flat and cut the bottom off.  (as I said, a rotary cutter would work loads better.  But mine was all the way down in the basement, like a whole 12 stairs away, so I used the kitchen sheers.  Don’t judge.)

Now, measure up from the bottom about 3-4 inches or so and cut across.

Do this again, so you have two double layer rectangles of shirt torso.

Now, take one of those rectangles and cut both side seams off 

so you end up with two single layer rectangles.

Cut both of these rectangles into 1-2 inch (ish) strips from one side and stopping about an inch from the other side.

Tie this end in a knot

and braid the strips down, leaving a tail.

Do this with both and make sure there are a few inches of unbraided shirt left.

Take a piece of thread and wrap it around the end of the braid a few times,

then double knot it.

Now, cut the two side strips off, leaving only the middle one long.  Do this to both strips.
Set these two braids aside.

Move on to the next double rectangle. 

Cut only one side seam off, then cut the long rectangle into strips that are about an inch (ish) wide.  Cut a bit of length off one, and a bit more off the third so that all three strips are a slightly different length.

Layer these strips one on top of the other with the ends lined up.

Place the KNOTTED end of a braided piece over the strips.

Wrap the sides up and around the braided piece where they overlap.

Take a piece of thread and wrap a few times around, then tie in a double knot.

Do this same thing with the other end of the strips and the other braided piece.

I should have taken a picture of the whole thing at this point, but I forgot.  You would have, if laid out flat, from left to right: a braided piece, knot, tied end of strips, three different lengths of flat t-shirt strips, tied end of strips, knot, and the other braided piece. 

Have I thoroughly confused anyone with my convoluted explanations yet?  OK. 

Start beading with the longest strip first.  Use your little beads.

First, tie a piece of thread around the seam - which should be approximately in the middle of the necklace - pull it tight and tie it in a double knot.

Now, stick your little bead in the strip, right up against the thread knot, 

and wrap the sides of the strip around.

Take a piece of thread and wrap it around the strip a few times -  just after the bead - then double knot it.

Place a second bead right after this knotted thread. 

 Pinch the strip up and around the bead again,

wrap a piece of thread around it a few times,

and tie in a double knot.


Again and again.
At this point, you may question the whole decision to make this.  If you didn’t know it would be so cool, you just might stop now.  Oh, and as you can tell by the pictures, night has fallen.

Because you started at the seam in the middle, you will need to tie beads into the strip in both directions.

Right about here is where you start to worry you may run out of blue beads.

And when you get to the end of a strip, just tie some thread around it and knot.

Phew!  One down, two to go!

Start at the seam in the middle again.
Tie some thread around it and knot, just as you did before.  Good morning, by the way!

Move on to your medium sized bead, and place it next to the tied up seam.  Wrap the sides up and around.

Use thread to wrap a few times and double knot.

Repeat again and again... again.  And there’s the second strip all done!

For the third strip, knot a little bead right there in the seam, as you did with the first two.  (Good thing you found another blue mardi gras beaded necklace!)

Then, add a little bead on either side.

And the biggest bead on either side of that.

Then just repeat this pattern

until you run out of big beads.  Or, until you run out of strip.  Whichever comes first.

If you, like me, run out of big beads first, then just fill the rest of the strip with little beads. 

Now, inspect.  Some of your necklace may look like a fuzzy caterpillar, which isn’t really what we’re going for.

So, take a small sharp scissors (NOT your kitchen sheers) and trim those threads away.

Tie the ends of the braided pieces in a cute little bow.

You are done!

I think this t-shirt looks much better as a necklace than as a pile of rubbish on the shelf.

Please excuse my attempt at a self-portrait.  It's difficult to take a picture of yourself at night after hubby has gone to bed and there is awful lighting.  This was the only capture in which I didn't have a double chin, and although I know you only have eyes for that cool upcycled necklace, the non-double chin won out.  

If you’d like to see more upcycled t-shirts, check out my Strips and Scraps T-Shirt Vest.

*Be sure to check the sidebar for all the fun parties I link to!



Unknown said...

okay, am i the only one that finds the phrase "shirt torso" a bit creepy?
anyway--love the necklace. super cool.

although your mad t-shirt necklace skills won't help you come the 24th

oh, and

Terri @ A Creative Princess said...

I found you from Fireflies and Jellybeans and so glad I did. That necklace was awesome! During the Super Bowl, I cut up about 10 pairs of old jeans and probably 30 old t-shirts to use for something. I'm your newest follower.

Christina said...

Ahhhh I LOVE this! Soooo cute! You did such a great job on this...I never would think it used to be a shirt!

Thank you so much for linking to "20 Below Thursday"!

kim west said...

holy crap! this is my most favortiest thing yet! so freakin cool..basically I will be making one!!!!

{cuppakim} said...

Love this! It looks like this took a lot of patience, although probably once you get the hang of it, it goes quickly! So fun! :)

Melanie said...

What a great idea. I love it, thanks for sharing! I am now a follower!

Melanie said...

You crack me up! I love your necklace. It looks like a great in-front-of-a-movie project. Thanks so much, I'll be linking.

Anonymous said...

Love it! Very chic and upcycled too..nice work:)
Found you over at Sew Chatty.

Lisa said...

Great upcycle. I love the way this looks.

Michelle L. said...

WOW! It's wild and fabulous, love it to bits!!!

Jill said...

Beautiful necklace, great upcycle and fantastic easy to follow tutorial!

I would love if you came and linked this project to my clothes upcycling page. It has a long term linky, so your project would stay there for more than just the week of a usual linky. We have over 60 projects linked up now – some fantastic ideas – and this month I’m upcycling lots of clothes and trying to feature lots of the links too!
Do come and take a look!

Jessica said...

I love this project, I'm a huge necklace fan...and if I can use the mardi gras beads I stole from my little brother to make it...I will :) Can't wait to start this tonight!

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