Guest blogger series: Fabric jewelry project

by kath_red on 26/02/2011

in Guest Series 2011, Whip Up Tutorials

Thank you to Kathrin from Annekata for joining me here at whipup today, where she will be sharing a simple, doable fabric jewelry project from a salvaged t-shirt.

I’ve always been inspired to make things using my personal interpretation of slow design. My material of choice is usually rescued or salvaged and then transformed into interesting, functional items and accessories. I love hand-sewing, but also enjoy developing unusual designs. Born in Germany, I’ve lived in Cologne, Madrid, Barcelona, Buenos Aires and New York City (a real urban nomad). Currently, I enjoy a slower pace of life with my husband and daughter in upstate NY. For more tutorials and interesting ideas, visit my blog:

T-shirts are one of my favorite materials. In my closet, they’ve become skirts, scarves, hair bands and corsages. They’re comfortable, abundant in every wardrobe and can be found in any second hand shop. When working with a material, I usually try to use as much of the original as possible. When it comes to t-shirts, the one thing which is always left over is the neckline. Mmmh, could this small fabric scrap possibly be integrated into a project?

So I started to experiment. First by cutting out the neckline and pulling it over my head. It looked pretty….stupid. But the direction was right. The more I cut, the more the idea revealed itself. The result was a comfortable, and unique piece of fabric jewelry with the added benefit that it’s so easy to make that it can be “whipped up” by children and non-sewers alike.

– t-shirt
– scissors
– ruler (or not, if you have a good eye)
– safety pin
– thread
– glue (if you’re a non-sewer)
– trim, buttons, beads for decoration

1. Cut off the neckline and the piece which will become the necklace. It is usually surged and will not unravel. Then cut a long 1 inch wide strip “along the grain”. That means cut from the bottom hem into the direction of the shoulder, not across the shirt. Pull the strip and it will curl along the edge giving it a finished look.

2. With the help of a safety pin pull the string through the opening of the neckline. Voilà! It’s done. Now it’s time to decorate: The grey necklace features a piece of trim which was then sewn onto the neckline. The blue one has a simple ruffle sewn onto it. If you don’t feel like sewing at all, beads can be glued, which makes the necklace less flexible, but this way it is a hit among the younger girls:

There are many ways of decorating. Use embroidery thread, buttons, beads or flowers. Sew on trinkets and tasseled trim. Use velvet ribbon, make the necklace long or short, it’s your choice, but have fun exploring.

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