Sunday, May 7, 2023

Creative braiding: upcycling T-shirts and knit fabric scraps

This month's Slow Fashion Challenge as well as other recycling and sustainability initiatives has made me acutely aware of opportunities and techniques for upcycling and repurposing textiles. Selvedge magazine recently offered a virtual workshop given by Studio Brieditis and Evans. The workshop was about upcycling T-shirts using braiding techniques. If you've ever braided hair, you can do this!

Braided strings of knit fabrics and recycled T-shirts.

For the workshop, I used a few old T-shirts as well as cut-offs and scraps from previous knit garment projects to try out a few braiding techniques—using 3 strands and 4 strands. 

Experimentation is critical to discovering which sequence of the knit fabric strings create interesting color combinations. The magical part of creating patterns in the resulting “textile” is when the braids are arranged side-by-side. 

Three-strand braid.

This screen shot from the virtual workshop shows examples of patterns that can be created.

Screen shot from Selvedge virtual workshop on creative braiding.

Check out the other creative upcycled items the team at Studio Brieditis and Evans have created at the ReRagRug blog. You might think twice about donating old T-shirts or disposing of fabric scraps once you see the possibilities for giving them a second life. 

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