Friday, July 13, 2012

DECORATE A T-SHIRT WITH CROCHET AND BEAD CHAINS

Even though I’m a dedicated minimalist when it comes to clothing, occasionally, I'm inspired to adorn things in my closet. Last weekend was one of those times. And, in a crafty binge, I decided to branch out from my usual (of-late) crochet bracelet-making to include a design for an embellished tee. I’d wanted such a tee for some time and spent a little time figuring out how to make one for myself. Here was my thought. I generally don’t like to wear necklaces – especially in this super hot weather. But now and again I want to wear a decorated tee-shirt with something distinctive on the front. And, in a moment of inspiration, I decided to hang strands of beads on two buttons attached to the front of the tee.

Armed with one of my favorite $5 tees, 2 buttons, some beads and heavy nylon thread from my bracelet craft stash, I crocheted three separate strands of beads, tied together in  single chain circle that allows the beads to dangle from the buttons on the either side of the neckline. So, now I have a fancy t-shirt to wear with my two gathered waist, mid-calf skirts. With this new creation, I'll feel comfortably cool but still dressed up enough to go out to a friend’s house in the evening or to a restaurant for dinner. And since the beads are easily detachable from the shirt, there will be no problem for regular machine washing.


All-in-all, the project was an easy one. It took just me a little patience to pull all three strands into one single chain “hook” just the right size. I’m pleased with the results of my efforts.

So, try this idea to spruce up an old tee and create a unique top for a special occasion. The bead chains bring color and texture to the front of the tee without going through the sewn beading process that takes a lot of planning, patience, and skill. Beyond that, if you don’t have the crochet skills to make this project, you might get something of the same effect by wiring together two or three separate chains with beads or links (that you already have) and hanging them off of sewn on buttons. Also, I’ve seen beads that were glued on a tee to form a design. So, that might be another way to get the look of chains without the work of either sewing or crocheting.

How to make the bead-chain for the tee
Materials
Two buttons. I decided on rather plain ½” wood buttons. Flatter, simple ones work better, and won't come off so easily with multiple washings.

Nylon crochet thread - whatever thickness and color(s) you like

Bunch of colorful beads. I used different colors and sizes for each chain.

#2.5 crochet hook (or size that better fits your thread)

Craft needle to thread the beads

Instructions
- Decide how long you want each chain. (Mine dangled a bit, so they were about 14, 16, and 18 inches long.) Multiple that length of each chain by 7 to be sure to have enough material to finish out your crochet. If you're doubling the thread, like I did, then you'll need about 14 times the length of each chain.

- Make your crochet chains, adding beads as you go. (I like to start by tying in the middle bead and crocheting out on both sides. That way, I can make adjustments as I go and end up precisely at the length I've chosen.)  If you’ve never crocheted with beads, there are several good Youtube instructionals for how to do this. That’s how I learned.

- Attach the last two links of each of the three strands of beads to a final short crochet chain. Knot the chain together to form a ring just big enough to go around the button. Do the same for the other side.

That done,  put on your tee, hang the beads off the buttons, and you’re ready to go out in a one-of-a-kind shirt. Also, this would make a nice gift tee for a friend. Or just make up a gift “kit” of buttons and bead chains, along with a sketch or photo of how to wear the chains. Your friend can put it on whatever shirt she chooses and do her own (minimal) handiwork.

Related posts
MAKE A BEADED BOOKMARK FOR A FAVORITE BOOK
A FRAMED PICTURE COLLAGE MAKES AN EYE-CATCHING WALL DISPLAY
MAKE A FAMILY MEMORY BOX
A GIFT IDEA FOR A “CLOTHESLINE” WALL-HANGING MADE FOR A CHILD
DOING HANDICRAFTS IS USEFUL AND FUN
MAKING HEART-SHAPED PILLOWS FOR LITTLE GIRLS
MAKE BEAUTIFUL BEADS FROM RECYCLED PAPER
CREATE A PERSONALIZED, EMBROIDERED PICTURE FOR A CHILD



1 comment:

Peggy~ said...

Great idea! My mother was great at adorning shirts. She's even put snowflakes all over a sweatshirt at holiday time. I thought it was a little "much" but it amused her and everywhere she went, people told her how unique her shirts were. I'll certainly try one of these for myself. Thanks Su!