Thursday, September 1, 2011

Tutorial - T-Shirt Hem Flowers

What to do with all the hems that you cut off after making reusable grocery bags??? Make flowers! Here we go...

STEP 1: Gather your supplies - You will need:

  • The hem of a t-shirt (bottom or sleeve...I used a bottom here)
  • Fabric scissors
  • Ball point needle (any needle will work if you don't have a BP one)
  • Heavy duty thread

STEP 2: Isolate the hem - Turn hem inside out and cut the excess fabric from the hem, using the serged stitching as a guideline.

STEP 3: Cut the hem - Cut the hem into one long strip.

Now cut down the length of the hem to create two layers of fabric.

STEP 4: Gather the strip - Thread your needle with about a yard of thread. Knot the end. Starting from one end, make a running stitch (gathering stitch, basting stitch, whatever) down the length of the hem, using the middle of the serged stitching as a guide.

Now make a little tack/whipstitch at the end to secure the gathers in place. Make sure you have pulled the gathering thread tightly.

STEP 5: Coil the flower - Start wrapping the gathered strip into a coil (should resemble a fabric snail shell). As you coil, stitch through the center of the coil, again, using the serged stitching as a guide.

Once the coil gets too thick to easily push the needle through, you can start whipstitching the outer coil layers to the inner ones.

When you get to the end, secure the free end with a whipstitch around the edge of the end of the strip. Knot the thread after a few whips to finish the stitching.

STEP 6: Finish the flower - Bury the thread by passing the needle through from the outside to about the center of the flower and pull the thread through. Cut the thread near the flower bottom, or leave it there if you plan to sew the flower onto something later.

STEP 7: Fluff out the flower - Turn the flower will be a tight little wad of fabric. Fluff the flower out by spreading the layers apart.

Here are some of the flowers I've made with the leftover hems and necklines of t-shirts. The larger ones are from bottom hems; them smaller ones are from sleeve hems and necklines.

I didn't cut the hem into two layers for this one:

I used the ribbed neckline for this one:

I stitched this gathered strip to another piece of t-shirt for a bigger, flatter flower:

And these I made from different strips of t-shirt, not the hems:

You can use these flowers to make hair clips, embellish magnets or thumbtacks, sew onto clothing...the list really goes on forever. I made a clipboard with one of these, some magnets, recycled cardboard, and a binder clip (another tutorial eventually). I use it to hold my grocery lists.

And since most of you guys don't have a stockpile of hems lying around, I have listed bags of them in my Etsy shop for you. Play with some different colors and such for only a few bucks.

Have fun!