Midnight Craft: No-sew Jersey bracelet

30 Oct

I can’t sleep. It might be the apple cider K-cup I drank a few hours ago (yeah, that’s right, I bought them and they are awesome), or it might be the fact that it’s two days before Halloween and it’s been snowing all day so I have been doing nothing but lying around and sleeping. Whatever it is, I’m up and I needed something to do.

I found this awesome bracelet tutorial on Hellogiggles.com. At first I looked at it, thought ‘hey that’s neat,’ and sent it over to my friend Alicia, because she’s less lazy craftier than me and I thought she would like it. Then I sat and stared at it for a couple minutes, watched an episode of “30 Rock” and decided to give it a go.

When looking over the blog’s guidelines there were some definite things an unmotivated, broke girl like me had to tweak. First of all, I’m not buying jersey. I have 3 jillion (at first I put 300, but then I realized some people have a ton of t-shirts and it might not be a stretch, so I decided to be a little dramatic and make up a number) t-shirts sitting in my drawer that are never worn and are made of the same fabric. The problem was, the tutorial required at least 58 inches of fabric, and my tshirt wasn’t 58 inches wide (I used a size medium which was about 8 inches or so off, an extra-large or XXL might make the cut) so I got Erica with it and did it my own way. So here’s how it went (to see larger versions of the photo, just click them!):

 1*I started with an old t-shirt, scissors and a ruler. That’s all you need. I picked a shirt I wasn’t using in a color I thought was still pretty nice. In my case it was a sage green little number from my days working at a nature park. I have almost an entire drawer of just this shirt, and they are all covered in dirt and unexplainable stains, but to be fair I was working outside in swamps and nature trails, with children, in the most humid months of the year. Best job I ever had.

Anyway, so I took this old hunk of junk and cut the bottom hem off, then from one side of the bottom of the shirt I cut up one inch. That’s basically the only use for the ruler, if you need to measure up one inch. Luckily for me, I took a year of art school and learned to eyeball that kind of stuff. Those useless life lessons are totally worth the ten years in college loans.

2*From here I cut a continuous strip of one inch fabric away from the shirt. Remember when you were a kid (or a bored 22-year-old) and you would make paper mobiles by cutting a whirlpool into a paper plate? It’s essentially the same idea. Cut your shirt at a very small upward angle, almost like a coil, so that by the time you get around the shirt completely the strip is still connected. In the first loop you may have to trim up the edge a little bit to keep it at one inch, but once you get the coil started its very easy to continue. By the time you get to the armpit part of your shirt you should have one massively long strip of fabric. In my case I got about 275 inches out of one shirt.

Now that we have our materials it is time to weave the actual bracelet. I feel like this is a technique every little girl has done during those Cat’s Cradle string games or whatever that was, so it should seem familiar, and once you get going you’ll be amazed how quickly your bracelet actually comes together.

3*Create a tail of about 3-4 inches, then, with your palm up, weave the strip under your right ring finger and over your pinky (switch it up if you’re left handed).  The long part of the strip should run off your pinky.

I chose to make a two-finger bracelet, but the blog I found this one offers a three and four finger example as well, which makes it thicker and requires more fabric. In those cases, use one more finger every time (If you want a three finger bracelet, start the weave at your middle finger. For four, start at your pointer finger, always starting under) Check it out to get a clearer idea.

4*Wrap the strip under your pinky, then weave it up and over your ring finger and back under so that it is sitting on the back of your hand. When referring to the picture on the right, at this moment it should only look like the bottom 2 loops on my hand.

5* Take the strip and loop it around the back of your hand to the front, in a full circle around your ring and pinky fingers. At this point your hand should look like mine does in the picture.

I suggest taking the long strip and securing it between your pointer and middle finger at this point. You have to pull and tug at things, so its good to have the ends secure.

6* Pull the loops on the bottom of both of your fingers up and over the band on top. They will snap off of your finger and begin the foundation of your bracelet. You want to pull each one individually. In my case they seemed tight, but they snapped over and it worked out. I had to pull the bands up higher than the base of my fingers. From here it looked like the top strip with a thin band between the ring and pinky finger.

After you pull the first loops over and off your fingers, pull the tail and the excess strip tight. You want to make sure nothing comes loose or wiggles around, so that when the bracelet is finished it won’t become unraveled.

7. *Continue steps 5 and 6, wrapping the band around your fingers and pulling the lower pieces up and over the band. Every time you do one round, just start it back over again. Make sure your tail pieces are tight at all times. Securing the strip with your middle and pointer fingers is my best advice to keep everything tightened and looking good. Continue this until you have the length of your wrist.

After the first three to five pieces its going to look kind of like a mess, but once it starts to get some length to it you will start to see the shape of the bracelet. Trust me on this. I restarted this bracelet four or five times before I just pushed through it and realized I was actually doing it right.

8. *Gently pull the loops off of your fingers, once you have it to your desired length. Make sure that the loops don’t fall out once you remove it off of your fingers. Grab the two loops and pinch them together.

From here I measured the bracelet to my wrist again and found that it would be way too big. In that case all you have to do is (gently!!) pull out one or two rows of loops out. If it is too small, slide the two loops back on your fingers and add the extra length the same way you did before.

9. *Take the remaining length of fabric and pull it through the two loops. This project did not take 275 inches of fabric. At the most it took 45 or 50 inches, so I had a lot of fabric to pull through these two loops.

10 *Pull the top and bottom tails very tightly. I noticed that the tighter that I pulled it the cleaner the ends looked, and obviously the more secure it is.

From there I took the tails and tied them together. Knot them twice, trim the edges and you’re done!

You don’t have to worry about tying and untying the bracelet, because it has a lot of stretch and it will loosen up. I trimmed it really close to the knots, and I kind of wish I left it a big of a longer tail, just because it adds to the look a little bit. The strips looked a lot like ribbons, so if you wanted to keep the tails long that is a cute look too.

I really love this bracelet. It’s super comfortable and it looks a lot like a hemp bracelet that I wear in the summer. Again this is the two-finger bracelet, and it is super thick, so I don’t know if I would even try out a bigger bracelet.

There is a ton of fabric left, so I think I might make a belt or necklace with what I have. Gotta love upcycling!

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