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.

Be Sociable, Share!

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Charissa - The Gifted Blog February 26, 2011 at 7:35 pm

Yay, Kathrin! I tend to make things more complicated than they need to be, so it’s refreshing to see that such a complete project can be done so simply. I am compiling projects that can be turned into classes at work, and I’m definitely bookmarking this. Thank you!


2 Mallory March 1, 2011 at 2:44 pm

This is such a fun and simple project! We’ve been doing t-shirt recycling workshops with the New Orleans Craft Mafia, and this would be a great project for the leftover pieces!


3 Suzanne's Crazy for Collars March 2, 2011 at 8:34 am

This is such a great idea and thank you for the tutorial. How did you finish the ends of the braided trim used on the grey necklace? My past experience with that trim has usually resulted in little ends sticking out and being unruly.
Thanks in advance!
Suzanne in TX


4 maria March 18, 2011 at 7:55 am

PERFECT and so simple idea!!!!!


5 KatrinaGelino March 18, 2011 at 9:18 am
6 ginger johnson April 30, 2011 at 3:03 pm

this is something i can do with my grandkids – even the boys as this would go pretty fast — before they lost interest. Thanks


7 Seren June 23, 2011 at 12:07 am

This looks great. Great for t-shirt recycling.


8 MARI August 24, 2011 at 2:27 pm

my grandaughter cuts the neck out of her t shirts- will be great to have something different to do with them and will be great for christmas


9 annamay August 31, 2011 at 12:04 pm

I just love this.I didn’t realize you could do so much with a t shirt.You are so creative.Thank you for sharing this.


10 pkae August 31, 2011 at 4:28 pm

Since it’s been several month’s since Suzanne (Crazy for Collars0, you may not read this, but just in case…
I have found that using a nonravel product which you can find online or such stores as Joannes works great!

Thanks for your tutorial! One never has enough options! :-D


11 Catherine April 24, 2012 at 12:21 pm

I have always known there was another purpose for the neckline rim of T-shirt. Right on! Thanks for the fun!!


12 mary November 25, 2012 at 4:27 pm

really cool & easy


13 hyma October 3, 2013 at 3:04 am

Very creative indeed!!!!


Leave a Comment

{ 11 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: