TeePearls are necklaces and other accessories crafted from thrifted tee shirts and selvedge fabrics. Basically, I convert tees into yarn through a super easy process of cutting straight lines and stretching the fabric.
As evidenced by the boxes of tee scraps in my living room, under my bed, and overflowing from my closets, I’m committed to upcycling and reusing my chosen materials in a meaningful way. It has taken me close to 5 years of saving scraps that looked beyond use, but I have been able to reduce the waste from a deconstructed tee down to mere seams.
A booklet of tee upcycling tutorials called "The Whole Shirt" is in the works. To find out when that is ready for download, sign up for the TeePearls email list.
TeePearls began when I started noticing an abundance of necklaces made from tee shirt yarn. I liked the idea of recycling tee shirts but I wanted to create my own designs using a different technique from what I had seen exploding in the DIY community. After much experimenting and some humorous failing, I crafted a couple successful styles that I am proud to sell.
While I still continue to incorporate thrifted tees in my work, I decided that Jersey Be Good Yarn brings richer hues and the added perk of an ability to produce more quantities in the same color. Jersey Be Good, a product produced by UK company Wool and The Gang, is culled from material that would otherwise be a waste product.
From Wool and The Gang:
Fabric manufacturers will always produce a material wider than is needed in case of shrinkage that can happen during the dyeing process. Any excess is trimmed from the fabric – this is the selvedge, and it usually end its life in a landfill. However, there are solutions to this waste.
I have a professional background in web design and development and I love having TeePearls as an outlet for making something tangible. Much like my knitting hobby, constructing TeePearls pieces uses repetitive motions that flex your hands and wrists in opposition to the motion of typing at a keyboard. This exercises your hands and wrists to avoid overworking them in a single direction. From experience, I highly recommend knitting or another repetitive craft for people who spend a lot of time at a computer.
You can find some of my portfolio online at idiophonebox.com