This year I am attempting to revamp my wardrobe a little more proactively than in years past; usually I just wait until the new season is upon me before weeding out worn out items, figuring out what I need to complete outfits, etc. But now I am trying to discipline myself to take a quick inventory of my clothes once a week and pull out at least one item that needs to be tossed or donated. That way they are not taking up needed space in the closet and I can start planning for the next season in time to hit the thrift stores.
T-shirts are almost always the first things to go in my wardrobe; they never seem to last beyond 2 seasons. Pilling, holes and shrinkage hit with a vengeance, but I never can seem to throw the beloved things away. ;) This year, though, I am revamping my favorites as accessories so that they can live a long, happy life beyond their 2 seasons!
Here's the shirt that I am recycling today, one that I practically lived in all Spring and Summer (that's the back, obviously ;):
The shirt had become much too pilled to wear but too pretty to throw away, so my first project was to create a t-shirt scarf from the bottom, banded section (that you can't see in the picture).
I cut off the bottom half of the shirt just below the lace section.
And then I cut from the raw edge of the material up to the band in 1" (or so) wide strips.
I pulled each of the strips to stretch and roll them (sorry that the picture is blurry--it's really hard to hold the camera with your right hand, pull the strip with your left and keep the rest of the material anchored with your right elbow, trust me!).
Once I pulled the strips to my heart's content (they didn't roll as much as I'd like, unfortunately) I took the banded section of the new scarf, slipped it over my head and wrapped it around my neck twice. This is the closest that you're going to get to seeing it actually on me, since my neck and face are covered with a poison oak rash. ;)
Next I decided that I wanted to make a little rosette bracelet out of some of the material, so I cut across the front of the shirt on a diagonal line, creating a 2" wide strip of bias material.
Here's the strip along the armhole...you can see just how pilled the fabric is.
Once again, I stretched the strip to make it roll...
...and started to wind it up in a rosette, stitching at each turn with purple thread, since life should be full of color, right? ;)
I left a long tail on the rosette and stitched two buttons, one shell and the other a tiny little blue button, in the center of the rosette. I pulled the tail as long as I wanted it and tied it around my wrist. Ta-da! A bracelet.
But wait, that's not all! I really wanted to use some of the lace from the back of the shirt, so I cut out this little flower...
...and used the vaguely-triangular piece leftover from cutting my previous strip on the bias to make a little knotted necklace.
I rolled, tied and tacked it (with turquoise thread...there goes the color again!) from the back.
I love velvet ribbon and decided to make it a prominent player in this necklace. I cut a length of ribbon that was 36" long and used matches to burn the ends to keep them from fraying (and that was impossible to take a picture of while doing, so you'll have to take my word for it ;).
I sewed the lace flower into the center of the knot, put on three little buttons and attached the whole thing to the ribbon, slightly off-center. I trimmed up the ends of the knot and voila! A necklace. Or a hair ornament. Or another bracelet. The possibilities are endless! :)
So, before you toss a beloved (but well-used) t-shirt into the trash, think about ways that you can recycle it. Trina has a great post on her blog with some other ideas about what to do with knits, so check it out for more inspiration!
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