It’s pretty common for me to purchase something and either a.) never wear it cause i never find the moment – or b.) get a stain on it the very moment that I do.
For these lost clothing-souls – I usually just give them up to the nearest thrift store…or ask a friend if she’s like them (the new clothes, not the stained ones ;-) )
I realized that with a little time and love…a plain t-shirt can be transformed and be - RAD – AGAIN! Whether it’s a sweater – a skirt, a blouse or a t-shirt. You can do these techniques on pretty much any garment…you give it life. You give it a personalized look…just for you. Plus, you've done your planet good! Upcycling keeps things out of the landfill and gives new life to old clothes.
1 – GRAB THE GARMENT
First – get a t-shirt out that you plan on abandoning…
this one was a Gap -favorite T…I dribbled coffee on the front, and this little gray t-shirt was never the same again.
2 – PLAN YOUR ATTACK
my plan for this t-shirt is to use the bleaching technique to make a basic shape and change the color of my t-shirt a bit for added interest…
and then stitch something adorable on it.
I gotta get all my materials out – and put a plate in between the front and back of the t-shirt for the bleaching process.
3 – MAKE A STENCIL.
They usually suggest some type of wax paper. This will help the bleach not seep into the blocked off area. I didn’t have any…so I used some heavy weight paper.
4. BLEACHING YOUR SHAPE
using 3-1 Bleach to Water mixture in a old spray bottle…spray your garment with the stencil on top. Leave for at least 30 minutes and repeat if necessary. I had to do this a couple of times…since my shirt was such a light color. A darker shade of t-shirt will give you a more intense effect.
5 – DRY OVER NIGHT
After you bleach…go ahead and wash your t-shirt with some water and a small amount of soap. Just leave your shirt in the bathroom – bleach is kinda a crazy little creature…keep the thing away from the world you really care about – don’t want to make any more unwanted t-shirts. :-)
6 – SKETCH OUT THE PLAN OF ATTACK
The next day…you get to add all your goodies onto your shirt! Woot!
But before you do…go ahead and sketch right on the t with a colored pencil (this will likely wash off anyway later)
6 – GATHER YOUR EMBELLISHMENT MATERIALS
Gather the materials you’d like. For this…I’m just going to use some colored embroidery floss – which can be found in any craft supply store.
You’ll need floss, scissors, a larger sized needle and a hoop or scroll bar frame. The frame will allow your fabric to stretch and will keep your stitches from being too loose or from grabbing too much fabric for each stretch. Believe me…I’ve tried stitching without it – it's no fun…just get one. (kitten optional)
7 – BACK STITCHING IS MY GAME
it’s hard for me to explain this crazy little stitching technique (from cross stitching really…but used here for this project as well)…but I found something online that might help you to learn – HERE.
Basically I go over my sketch with as many colors as I’d like…don’t be scared about whether this is perfect. I think there is more beauty in the crazy mistakes than in the perfection of it all. Go ahead…make some small, some big…go WILD with it…the worse you do – really, the better it ends up. No joke…
8 – KEEP it going… ADD SOME FELT!
You see all this adorable stuff with felt these days…it’s SOoooo cheap at your local craft store…comes in all sorts of colors. For this one…I just randomly placed and pinned a couple pieces of a darker gray.
The beauty of felt is that it doesn’t fray! It will pill a little on the edges over time, but it’s super cute when it’s worn a little also. Go to town...make this part of your new RAD AGAIN piece!
9 – ADDING THE FINISHING STITCHES
The felt obviously needs to be stitched down – although some fabric glue would do – I think it’s best to just go back and stitch your final “thoughts” down onto your garment. For this one…I wanted to add some wording…with a brighter color than the blues I was using or the dark gray in the felt – the final stitches really make it POP!
10 – ROCK IT!
Whatever you do with it – either you give it as a gift or you keep it for yourself…you’ve given NEW life to something (Upcycling) …doesn’t have to be perfect…but you’ve definitely made it RAD.
If you're an Etsy seller in the San Francisco Bay Area, contact Jen from Mama's Magic Studio about joining SFEtsy!