Thursday, December 1, 2011

Recycled T-shirts party

This post was 2 months in the making - she has been 11 for a while!

Being a child of the 70's and a sewist (there's a reason we don't call ourselves "sewers"), I have always loved recycling denim.  But these days the hottest recycled clothing trend has got to be recycling and up-cycling T-shirts. 
This year for Earthgirl's 11th birthday party, we jumped into the fun with a T-shirt recycling party.  She grabbed the idea from the September/October 2011 issue of American Girls magazine.  You can find recycled T-shirt ideas from all over the internet.  Take a look here and here,  for example.  I found bunches and bunches of ideas for the future - for example, I'd love to make one (or 15!) of these recycled T necklace/scarves.

Now if one is inviting 14 girls over, and 2 of your projects take a T-shirt apiece, you gotta have lots of Ts!  Our big crafts, requiring a T-shirt apiece per girl, were the fringed scarf and the big T-shirt bag. We invited the girls to bring Ts with them, but knew we wanted to provide plenty.

For several weeks ahead, Earthgirl and I hit a couple of local thrift stores, one which exists to support a local church's international missions; the other to support Hospice.  We like spending our $$ where they do some good works, too!   We snapped up Ts at an average price of about 40 cents.  We looked for colors we liked, designs we thought would look good on a bag, and the right sizes to make bags and scarves (bags can be any size, but a XXL makes a humongous bag, whereas a sturdy size small or child-size makes a nice bag, and our scarves worked best with child-sized, soft, lightweight Ts).

Recycled T-shirt Scarves:
For our scarves, the girls cut off the hem and cut across under the sleeves, leaving a wide tube of fabric.  They fringe-cut both sides, then pulled on the fringes to make them curl up. 

The best-looking scarves had really skinny fringe - but the trick is to cut it skinny enough, but not so skinny that it tears when you stretch it.  This red scarf had the prettiest fringing of all the scarves.

The result is a fringy cowl-type scarf.  If you use a T as big or bigger than your own size, the cowl can be doubled.  If you use a little preschooler-size T, you get a once-around-your-neck scarf.

And then, of course, you cannot resist playing with the leftovers.  Lots of braided headbands, bracelets, anklets appeared!

The scarves also double as hula skirts.

Recycled T-shirt Bags:
Our big T-bags were made simply - cut out the sleeves and along the neckline, leaving something that looks like a tank top.  Check to see that it fits over your shoulder.  Good.  Now, if you want a plain-bottom bag, turn the T inside out, and sew up the bottom.  The cutest bags were sewn with a curve.  If you want a fringe-bottom bag, cut off the T's hem, and sew up the bottom, leaving a 2-3" seam.  Trim the seam in to a fringe. Pull the fringes to make them curl, and you're done! 

In all the excitement, I did not snap 1 picture of any girl with a bag.  This one is taken weeks later.


Anonymous said...

WOW! I had no idea you could do all this with t-shirts! Great ideas and photos! Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas.

Anonymous said...

Very cool!

amy @ Life in Pink Hi-Tops said...

Such a cool party idea. I've been making "string" bags out of kid sized t-shirts. Making some for Christmas, too!

A Spoonful Of Sugar said...

Happy Birthday to Miss 11. What a brilliant idea for a party. Love all your T Shirt ideas - looks like everyone had a fabulous time.

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