The Rest of the T-Shirt

Introduction: The Rest of the T-Shirt

About: I am a maker of badges and quilts and other stuff. I mostly make what amuses me or what I need. I love challenges and I love to upcycle whenever I can.

So you've made your fantastic, wonderful, colorful necklace out of your old t-shirt.  You had a blast.  It is soooo much fun pulling the t-shirt into yard.  By now you've made one for everyone you know and people have been giving you their old t-shirts.  You have accumulated a stash. 

The worst thing is that you have also accumulated a whole bunch of cut off t-shirts and you only go to one eighties party a year.  You just can't wear them in public without a mullet and that is taking upcycling too far. 

You can't just throw all that fabric a way.  You can make yarn and crochet a rug with it (another instructable for another day) or you can branch out and make a slightly different style of t-shirt necklace.  A taggie necklace.

This tutorial was originally posted on my blog

Step 1: Gathering Materials

You will need

A T-shirt
Scissors or a rotary cutter and Mat.

Step 2: Choosing a T-shirt

For any t-shirt scarf or necklace, choosing the right sort of t--shirt is half the battle.  You want to select an old school shirt.  One that is made of 100% cotton or a 50 50 cotton blend.  The new wicking and synthetic fabrics may not stretch and curl properly.  You also want to find a shirt that does not have any side seams.  You can't avoid seams under the sleeve and at the shoulders but you can search out a shirt that doesn't have side seams.  This makes your traditional necklace easy peasy....  Cut.  Stretch, wrap with a strip and wear!

Side seams are an issue with the basic t-shirt necklace because they create both bulk and a weak point in the yarn.  They have to be wrapped or covered.  Wrapping them all together makes your necklace much shorter because you have to double loop the strands.  Wrapping them separately means you have a bulky wrap at two points on your necklace.  Not unworkable, but definitely something to work around. 

This project works well for shirts with side seams. The seams can be removed with no impact on the resulting necklace.

One final note about shirt selection.  Heavily inked areas or iron-on transfers will affect the ability of the material to stretch and roll.  Look for shirts that have small logos or very light printing.

Step 3: Traditional Necklace Loops

Cut the main body of the shirt into loops for a traditional t-shirt necklace.

You can also cut out the block as in the picture, stretch it and wear it as an infinity scarf!

Step 4: Cutting Up the Rest of the Shirt (sleeves)

You are going to slice the sleeve into rings in the same way you sliced the body of the main shirt.  Try to get them about an inch wide.  But don't stress out about being perfect or accurate.  As long as you are in the ballpark it won't matter much if it is a bit wider here and bit narrower there.  All the rough edges will roll up inside the string once you pull it out and they won't show. 

When you are cutting the sleeve you will cut off the hem.  Save it.  You will need it to keep your necklace organized at the end.  

Step 5: Tidying Up the Edges

Cut off the last little bit of sleeve that contains the seam.  Add that to your little bits bin for later use as stuffing  for a a dog bed or something. 

Step 6: Cutting Up the Rest of the Shirt (body)

Now continue cutting strips though the front and back of your shirt all the way up to the neckline.  Notice how the logo is almost entirely contained in one strip.  (If it doesn't roll up, it can be added to the little bits bin.)

Step 7: Cutting Around the Neck Band.

Open out the remaining bit. Cut as many strips as you can out of it. 

The neckband and seams will go in your little bits jar for sturdy stuffing. 

Step 8: Trim Seams

You will have a seam on the sleeve bits and on the long bits if you selected a shirt with side seams. 

Simply trim the seam off and add the scraps to the little bits bin. 

Step 9: Stretching the Yarn (the FUN Part)

Now take each of those t-shirt strips by the ends and pull!

Watch them curl. 

Make lots of lovely t-shirt yarn!

Step 10: Assemble the Necklace

Reach into your pile of yarn.

Grab two pieces. 

Tie the ends together.

Use a square knot.   Pull the ends tight.

Grab another add it onto the end

Keep going. 

Use up as much of your yarn as you like.  The more strips you add the fuller the necklace. 

Step 11: At the End

Tie the last piece to the first piece. 

You now have one giant loop of knotted t-shirt yarn. 

Gather it up like you are coiling up a garden hose or rope or a string of lights. 

Vary the size of the loops. 

Make sure the smallest loop will still fit over your head.

Make sure you won't trip over the largest loop.

There is NO science involved here. 

Put it on and wear it!

Step 12: Storing Your Necklace

Because this is one giant loop of taggie t-shirt yarn it can get tangled when you aren't wearing it. 

Remember that bit of hem from the sleeve?  Now is the time to pull it out. 

Wrap it around the coiled necklace.  Insert one end of the hem strip into the loop on the other side.  Give it a gentle tug to secure all the coils together.  You are not making a knot.  This is a loose holder to keep things together.  Just slip the loop out when you are ready to wear again. 

Oh and if your necklace does get tangled?  No worries.  Just  cut  it apart untangle it and tie a new knot.  No one will ever know that you didn't intend to be that way. 

Tutorial originally posted on my blog.

Look for a new Instructable to use up the last bits of t-shirt yarn making bracelets. 

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