If you have access to a tailored shirt that has seen better days, here’s an upcycling project that will enrich your wardrobe of accessories. Because dress shirts tend to wear out most quickly at the sleeves, they may be ready to discard even though their collars are in perfect condition. With just a few pyramid studs and pearl beads, you can repurpose those collars into stunning fabric necklaces.
The only tool you’ll need to make a punk-chic studded collar is a pair of fabric scissors. Have on hand some metallic pyramid studs: these are two-sided studs with a pyramidal shape on top and two small spikes on the underside. Select silver for a punk look; they also come in gold. And you’ll need an old tailored shirt, of course. Both women’s and men’s shirts can be usedâ€¦.just be sure that, if you aren’t using your own shirt, the owner approves of your project!
Start by cutting the collar from the shirt. Tailored shirts have top-stitching along the bottom seam of the collar. Cut around this seam carefully, removing the raw edges as cleanly as you can. Be sure to include the single top button with the collar as you cut: this will be the fastener for your embellished collar. Once the collar is removed, you can, if you must, discard the shirt; alternatively, save what’s left of the shirt for another upcycling project.
Now’s the time to decorate your collar. Start by determining what kind of design you’d like to make. (Once the studs go in, they are permanently affixed, so it’s important that you have your design worked out before you start decorating. ) If you’re a little uncertain here, sketch out your design on paper, then use a bit of chalk or straight pins to mark where you want the studs to lie in your finished collar. Insert the studs by pushing the two little spikes through the fabric of the collar from the right side to the wrong side. Now carefully fold the spikes down into the collar so that they are securely fixed; any loose spikes will scratch you when you put the collar on, so heads up here!
Once all the studs are in place, you’re ready to try your collar on. Clever and chic, yes? And very quickly made-up as well.
If you’d to try another embellished collar in a different style, here’s an idea for a pretty, more delicate look: try pearls instead of studs. To make this version, you’ll need some pearl beads, a needle, cotton sewing thread to match the beads, and scissors. Start by removing the collar from the shirt and cleaning up any raw edges. Thread your needle and knot the end of the thread. Now thread the needle through the back of the collar at the point where you want to add your first beads. Thread two beads on the needle and stitch back into the collar. Continue in this way, adding two pearls with each stitch. When you’ve finished one side of the collar, make a final stitch and bring the needle up on the wrong side. Take a stitch or two in the back to secure the thread, then cut it off cleanly. Now repeat the pattern of pearls on the other side of the collar, and voila! an elegant pearl-encrusted upcycled necklace!