Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Thrifty Refashioning: One shirt, Six accessories


I popped into the thrift shop a week ago looking for some discards for a project...and ended up leaving instead with a few shirts that didn't fit. You probably know the style - the shirts with the band under the bust and a flowy bottom. What are those called anyway? Peasant? Baby-doll? Empire waist?

Originally I intended to use the fabric to create some sweet rosettes, but then, looking the shirts I realized there were too many other uses to leave the project at that!


Below are a few of the ways I've repurposed the shirts (and how-to's):

First, and easiest are headbands.


Cut along the already finished seam - in this case along the piped edge.


If the shirt has tails or straps to tie in the back go ahead and use those to tie/secure the band on your head.

 If there is no finished edge in the back just cut all the way around the shirt, then cut the back portion through at the middle. Measure against your head to determine the size for the band, then tie the two ends together and trim, or sew a seam to complete the circle/band.


This shirt had a smocked back and a finished band in front. I used the back as the heandband and the front portion for the ties.

Fabric Covered Beads


To create fabric covered beads I used a bracelet I no longer wear, some thread, and strip of fabric.


Determine the width of fabric you'll need to wrap around your beads, then cut a strip that width and a few inches longer than your bracelet or necklace.


Position the fabric at the end of the bracelet and tie, securely with thread. Do not trim thread yet!

You can either tie the thread around each intersection of beads and trim (best for stretchy bracelets/necklaces - the thread will bind the beads and disable stretching) OR, for this version, we'll use a variation of a blanket stitch. 


Wrap thread around bracelet between beads.


As you bring the thread back around put the end through the loop just created.


Pull to secure, positioning the line of the thread wherever you like.


Repeat for the length of the bracelet (or necklace).

Secure fabric at end as you did at the beginning, knotting thread to secure. Trim fabric and thread ends. Wear.

Braided Bracelets

Remember braided bracelets? Usually they are made from rope but for a twist, give a try with long strips of fabric. These strips were about an inch wide by 10 inches long.


Just to continue the camp-vibe I secured my 3 strips with a safety pin, pinned to the knee of my pants and braided them. Did you do that too, with embroidery floss bracelets?


Determine the right length, then secure ends together with the safety pin. Using needle and thread, stitch through to secure to create a seam, binding the two ends together.


Trim fabric and thread. Your bracelet will look like the above image. Flip the bracelet inside out (or outside-right, as it were) and it will create a nice round, bracelet like shape.

Flutter Tab Beads


Have a set of beads you like but that could use something more? Try adding tabs of fabric for flair.


Cut a pile of tabs at the length of your preference - in this case about 2 inches long by about 1/3-1/2 inch wide.


Add tabs between beads - this version is a simple knot.



For this version poke a small slit into one end, wrap tab around the bracelet/necklace then feed opposite end through the slit and pull to secure.


For this version fold the tab in half, wrap folded tab around the bracelet/necklace, then feed ends through the loop created at the fold and pull to secure.

Tabbed Bows/Embellished Bobbypins


Have left over tabs? Make a bow!


Make a pile of fabric tabs, making sure they are spread in all directions. Place a tab that is twice as long at the bottom of the pile. Use the long tab to pull all the tabs into a bunch and make a knot to secure. Flip over, move/adjust tabs as necessary - they will form into a bow like above.


To make a pretty embellished bobbypin either hot glue or sew a bobbypin/barrette directly to your finished bow.

What have you done with old shirts? I have oodles more fabric to use (and some ideas for another day). 


Krystal said...

you are so clever girlfriend! I love the cloth covered beads so much!

Lauren said...

these are such awesome ideas! love the headbands and the fabric covered beads... i might have to try this on a necklace that is awesomely long but not very attractive... i know there is potential for it somehow though! thanks for the ideas!

Brandi {not your average ordinary} said...

Tricia, this post is wonderful. I really want some fabric covered beads. And a braided bracelet. I'm going to go from three bracelets to six pretty quickly. Thank you!

Hatchet Hollie said...

amazing as usual!

And So I Whisper said...

Very nice tutorial! Love the braided bracelet.

Staci said...

I have added ruffles and lace to the bottom of tee shirts that were to small for one child but too big for the next. I splatter painted a white tee shirt and added checkerboard colored ruffles to the bottom and my daughter wore little legging with it. It was her favorite until she grew out of it.