Tuesday, December 29, 2009

i am a genius! or, an easy and cheap way to prevent shirts from falling off the hangers

i hope everyone had a good holiday season, and i'm definitely looking forward to posting many pictures of my decorations and crafty xmas projects, but i had a brainstorm this evening,and i just have to post it first!

as a fat person, and as a person with a somewhat irrational hatred of crew necks, i'm constantly fighting with hangers to keep my shirts held up.

(i don't understand why clothes come in different sizes, but hangers don't. wouldn't it make sense that fat person = bigger garment = bigger neckline?)

i know that you can buy those pretty velvety hangers or fancy wood ones with indents for the shoulder seam, but dude, they're pricey, especially if you're like me and hang up every single garment that you own. (drawers are magic for me - once i put something in a drawer, i immediately forget i own it, hence hanging everything up)

and you know, i actually LIKE wire hangers. despite stereotypical gay men on make-over shows ranting about how terrible they are, i think they're much more logical than wood hangers. wood hangers take up too much space! my closet is full enough, if i was using wooden hangers for every top i owned, i'd need two more closets! and they're cheap! and easily accessed! and they all look the same! you won't buy a bunch of them, then buy more clothes and try to get more matching hangers, only to find that they've been discontinued.

i've thought of a few options before: clothespins, which then leave an indent on the garment, velcro, which would rub on the garment and might snag it, very gently sliding the hanger with the shirt into the closet, then hoping that the sheer mass of items in the closet will keep it on the hanger.

or there are always those yarn covered hangers, the type sold at craft fairs continent wide. i contemplated making some, but decided it would take way too long to crochet or knot yarn around every hanger in my closet. then i thought about using a wide zigzag stitch and sewing yarn around the hanger, but decided that it might leave fluff on the shirt. since i'm completely lazy and don't bother to turn shirts right side out before hanging them up, that would be a pain in the butt.

so i've pretty much resigned myself to this -
a closet full of severely bent and mangled hangers, just to keep my shirts off the floor.

but no more!

today i was driving along and this popped into my head -
shelf liner! you know, that non-skid stuff that you use in the bottom of a drawer, or on the counter of an RV, or under your sewing machine when you're sewing super fast. (what? that doesn't happen to you?)

so i detoured to the dollar store, and picked up a roll of it for $1.12 with tax.

i came home and started experimenting.

i cut strips of various widths and tested them. 1" is just a bit too narrow, and 1 1/4" is still a bit fiddly, but 1 1/2" was perfect. the width needed will depend on the size of your sewing machine foot, but i honestly wouldn't try to machine sew this without a teflon foot.

i freaking LOVE my teflon foot, it's actually starting to wear out a bit because i use it so much. it's definitely a sewing necessity in my book. you can buy them from sewing machine stores, or you can buy them online. i got mine here, and it was about $10. you can also buy teflon tape for about $1 in hardware stores, it's used in plumbing, and attach it to the bottom of a foot you already have, though that probably won't last as long.

this project would also be SUPER easy to hand sew, and honestly, still pretty quick. you don't need tiny stitches, i used a 5.0 stitch length on the machine (basting length), and larger hand stitches would be fine. you won't even need to pierce the liner, because it has holes built right in - you could even use a cross stitch needle and some embroidery floss!

after you've cut your strips, cut the strip in half lengthwise.
the liner i bought was about 12" wide, so i ended up with 6" strips once they were cut in half. you could cut these in half again, and it would probably work just as well.

wrap the strip around the shorter upper edge on one side of the hanger. pins really aren't needed, because this stuff sticks to itself a bit.

move your needle as far to the side as it will go, and slide the top of the strip under your presser foot. like with any difficult fabric, it works better to start about 1/2" in, then backstitch. it doesn't "eat up" the fabric as much that way.

stitch all the way along the strip. you can see that there's quite a bit of seam allowance here, i found that the liner fed through more evenly when the strip was wide enough to sit over both feed dogs, so i purposely cut it wider than technically needed. you can always trim the seam allowance if that bothers you.

do the same on the other side, and you're done! super speedy!

doesn't that look better than the mangled hanger at the top of the page?

i managed to get 40 hangers out of my single roll, enough for all of my long and short sleeved tees. (that's kind of excessive, huh? i should clean out my closet! and yes, they're almost all black!)
if you cut your strips into 3", you'll obviously get more. i wouldn't get 40 out of another spool, because a few of the hangers were using the too narrow 1" strips, but you still get a lot of value out of the $1.12!

so, what do you think?

(also, i've used smaller pics than usual - don't forget that you can click on them to see them bigger!)


Heather - Dollarstorecrafts.com said...

Nice! I love that shelf liner stuff!! I posted this over at the Dollar Store Crafts facebook page!

Sarah Forbes said...

fabulous! As a fellow 'ample' and *lazy* person, I completely identify with the issue of successful clothes hanging. I had given up and keep mine in a pile on the floor! (please don't tell my mother!) I am sooooo going to do this. And my gradeschoolers can help cause it doesn't need to be a sharp needle. FABULOUS!!!!

batgrl said...

Such a great idea - I'm always having problems with hangers like this! Also it's really nice to see someone else with a mass of black clothes on hangers!

ponyboypress said...

Brilliant idea! Yeah, your closet looks a lot like mine - lots of black and no high neck shirts. ;-)

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