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xo emily

t-shirt necklaces

These simple necklaces came together with just some jersey and a jar of assorted beads.  Instead of the usual wire or twine, we cut strips of t-shirt jersey, and yanked on them so they resembled cord.  It was an especially satisfying summer afternoon project -- the children loved transforming fabric into cord and it involved yanking.  Enough said. 
Here are two piles of t-shirt jersey fabric strips.  The strips in the pile on the right have been pulled tight.  I love how they look like piles of seaweed.

How to:

1. Cut thin strips (about 1/2" wide and 24" long) of cotton jersey fabric.  Jersey fabric has rows of v-shaped knit stitches (wales) on the front and loops on the back.  Be sure to cut the  jersey fabric against the grain (or across the v-shaped stitches).  This way, when you yank on the strip, it will unravel and condense, and form a nice tight cord.  When cutting your strips, do remember that it will almost double in length after it is pulled tight.

If you cut the jersey with the grain, it won't do much when you yank it.  Experiment with both techniques.

2. String beads onto necklace.  If you find that the holes in the beads are tiny, use an oversize needle (needlepoint, etc.) for threading the cord through.

3. Tie the ends or, if you are feeling serious about your creation, use some jewelry findings to create a clasp.

Necklace design and bead selection is always a fun activity around these parts , but the colorful handmade cord seemed to make it extra fun.
I loved watching them gift necklaces to each other.
With the ocean on my mind, I used wooden beads with briny green jersey.

So much of this project is about the colorful cord, so please dive into your pile of old t-shirts for inspiration.   And, have fun!

xo e