My initial vision for my Project was to make a Bottle chain tanktop. I saw an Instagram post of one of my favorite artists in a bottle-tab gold dress. I was sparked by the idea of making a tanktop with the bottle tabs but in my case making it silver instead of gold. I liked how ethereal the “fabric” looked like it had a lot of weight to it making it seemingly flow in a unique way that I had never seen in a fabric before. Looking at how much this project cost, I was inspired by how fun and As I started working on the project I decided that this would be a cool project to incorporate as a renaissance fair outfit and thus sparked my inspiration to make it a Fantasy aesthetic. I was trying to save bottle tabs to do this project but I found that there were too many tabs that I needed to use and not enough time so I bought a bag from Amazon that came from the trash for $10. This way I had a lot of tabs already taken off the can and could start lacing them together. I started by making the lacing pattern and connecting the tabs to make a chainmail fabric. One of the only materials I use is split rings to connect the tabs. I ordered these on Amazon which upped the price of the project.

I went to work interlacing the tabs as much as I could. I would lace them as much as I could in the pattern in front of the TV and it was a very mindless and meditative task. I was thinking the best way to go about making this was to make two large squares, one for the front and one for the back, then lasing them together with the shoulder straps. I ended up working perfectly thanks to how the “fabric” drapes. I would craft and add tiles then put the My Idea of making two squares was not exactly viable for a proper tank top. I needed to expand the bottoms of the front and back to connect all the way arround my body. 

I started with 3 tabs wide for the shoulder straps but didn’t like how it looked on my body. I wanted a mixture of masculine and feminine look to the tank top and with 3 tabs it didn’t drape exactly how I was thinking. I then experimented with 4 and still, the strap looked too thin and made the neckline droop too much. I ended up liking 5 tabs wide for the straps and how that looked. I then put it on to measure how long the front and the back should be and just added more tabs as needed. I also decided to rotate the edge of the rim to make it more comfortable to wear.

After making the basic framework of the shirt I decided that the outfit needed more shape to give it direction in its form. I decided that a perfect way to make it even more flowy was to add fringe to the fit. I wanted to add layers of fringe toward the top near the chest to make it a little more conservative and cover my chest as well as at the bottom to give it a rought finish. This also prompted my idea to add shoulder pads to give it even more shape toward the top. This is when I drew my sketch of what I had in my head. 

After finishing the chainmail I realized that I didn’t have enough time to make the shoulder pads and learn how to cut metal and weld it together in the shapes that I wanted so I decided to do that another time when I had more time. I needed to clean the bottle tabs because they were really gross and dirty and I was thinking that maybe the dishwasher could do it really fast and well. It turns out that the dishwasher used so much water that it discolored the tabs to a brassier silver than the true silver that it was. I started to freak out thinking that ruined the entire project but then after some time, it was a blessing in decision because it gave the entire piece more texture as some tiles were more discolored than others. I ended up loving that decision and loved the final project.

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4 Comments. Leave new

  • Efrosini Krokos
    February 28, 2024 11:41 am

    I really like this concept, taking objects not often used for clothing and making it into a shirt is so interesting. How would you wear it? Do you have to wear something under it to avoid sharp points?

    • Hi Efronsini,
      Surprisingly its not really a problem at all. The only thing is that its heavy and its a lot of weight on my shoulders so over time it can dig into my skin, and sometimes the tabs catch on my hair. Also because it’s metal it’s very cold to put on and it feels like a thousand little ice cubes on my skin for the first part. Other than that it’s not a problem at all and its super fun to wear. I wanted to not have a shirt under it to accentuate the form of the piece.

  • Really cool Cole! The sheer amount of bottle tabs is very impressive, and I can only imagine the amount of time it took to put all of this together. I’m surprised that the sharp edges are not more of a problem. I would be curious to see if you could get a soft gold finish by blowtorching the tabs.

    • Hi Peter

      I hadn’t thought about blowtorching or using heat as fire for coloring. I now really want to experiment with that, Maybe I can use that technique for the shoulder pads. Thanks for the idea.


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