Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Make A Spring Scarf From Tights. Seriously. {Waste Not Wednesday}

Last autumn I came across a pile of old tights stuffed into my fabric drawer just waiting for inspiration to strike. Determined to make use of them, I created A Necklace Made From Recycled Tights Which Vaguely Resembles A Necklush. Rolls off the tongue, doesn't it?

After an autumn and winter full of tight wearing, I now have another pile of tights full of holes and ladders and thought that Waste Not Wednesday would be a good time to share my (re)construction methods - and, of course, you'll benefit from a few improvements.

10. Finished

You'll Need:

Tights - Use at least two pairs of tights for a lightweight scarf and add more for extra bulk.
Scissors - Pinking shears work particularly well, but any household scissors will work perfectly well.
Needle & Thread or Sewing Machine.
Sewing or Safety Pins.


1. Cut off the legs of your tights, just below the gusset - isn't that the most horrible word in the English language? Then cut off the toes (or on footless tights, remove the the bottom seam.) Keep these sections for use later on.

1. Tops & Toes

2. By cutting into the edges, open each leg of the tights out to form a rough rectangle. Now cut each section into strips at least 1cm wide - if you're using tights with a thin denier, increase the width of your strips. And don't worry if the width varies a little or your pieces aren't straight - that will all be hidden later.

2. Opening Tights

3. Cutting Strips

3. When you've finished cutting your strips, take each individual strip and pull gently on both ends. You'll notice that it stretches and also that it curls in on itself - this is the great part where all of the jagged edges and slight variations in thickness disappear!

4. Curled Cords

5. Spaghetti Junction

4. Take each individual section and tie a double knot in the ends to form a loop. Trim the ends close to the knot for a neat finish and gather the cords with the knotted ends together.

6. Gathered Ends

5. Take the upper part of one pair of tights and cut out a large rectangle. Wrap this around the area of knotted ends and pin in place.

7. Rectangle Wrap

6. Join the sides of the rectangle together using a needle and thread or sewing machine, forming a tube around your gathered ends.

Tip - So that you won't sew through the cords, pull the wrap away from the knotted cords as you sew. This will also make the wrap a little tighter and will hide the knotted ends well.

8. Wrap

7. Trim away any surplus material from the wrap. Then hide the stitching by simply turning the tube inside out - it's stretchy so it's super easy.

9. Tidy

10. Finished

Make variations on this simple design by adding beads to the strips of fabric before you loop them, by plaiting the strips together before forming the scarf or by using a variety of colours. (And, if you'd like to see an example being worn, head over to I Speak Melsh to see my friend Mel wearing a version I made for her Christmas present!)

Keep the remainder of your tights (the tops and toes) for a future tutorial and don't forget to 'Waste Not, Want Not' by using up all the little scrappy ends to stuff your pincushions!

17 comments:

daisysewing said...

Clair! Thanks for the tute! The scarf is so lovely. I can't wait to get some tights and give it a go :)

Much love, Julie

Julie Kirk said...

Gorgeous :D But don't be allowing those scissors near the purple tights! We have our gang uniform to maintain! x

Luchie said...

that's so cuteee. Such a great tute!

Sian said...

Now this is one seriously clever idea. And I like it a lot.

Pretty Neat Designs said...

Crazy clever, my friend. And you know what? I think that post (back in August 2009) might have been the very first post of yours that I commented on. Maybe even the first I read! It seems like I've known you and enjoyed reading your voice forever and its only been like 6 months!

anapina said...

Simple and stylish :)
Thank you for the great tip!

Cheryl said...

Love it Clair now to get some tights x

humel said...

That first post about the necklush thingy was BEFORE I KNEW YOU. I forgot there ever was such a time!

Anyway, back to the tutorial: it's fab, babe - I might just need to expand my collection :-)

Amy said...

Photos for today's tutorial are fantastic - very clear and helpful. Thanks for changing the link colour .... I have no probs this week! I'm sure it was my dodgy eyesight anyway ;-)
Great idea - what a crafty woman you are!

m.e (Cathie) said...

ohh, nice Clair!
may need to do that with my little one soon.

scrappyjacky said...

What an amazing idea....now I wish I hadn't wasted all my old ones making plant ties!!!

Jane said...

This scarf is so fab - I definitely want to make one!!! Wonderful!

Kara said...

What a great idea! This is so urban and cool. Love!

pollyanna cowgirl said...

Howdy! I love this tutorial so much I actually did it (which is rare for my lazy self!). I'm also featuring it tomorrow morning on ReadyMade's craft blog, Make Nice! Check it out:

http://www.readymade.com/blogs/craft

Thanks so much for the great idea! I love my new scarf. :)

ArtMind said...

Wow, awesome tutorial Clair! Love the recycling part a lot! :)
Thanks too for dropping the comment in my blog and introducing me to Keri's stream! I love it! :)

Dita Maulani said...

I made this one on my blog and already linked you. Thank you very much for inspiration, love the recycling part, we're very close to Earth Day and this one is great idea!

holliemalins said...

Wow! This looks really cool!! I'm going to go buy some nice tights tomorrow and have a go :) Hollie xx