Old crafts are becoming popular again.
This post gets so many visits and I get so many enquiries about finding the right yarn. I’ve added a bit at the bottom of my latest find at Dollarama that just might solve a lot of those questions.
Do you remember the old craft of braiding long strips to make a cover for a wire coat hanger? The original material was Nylotex or Phentex, a stretchy, nylon material. I’m not available in stores, but it does turn up in thrift stores from time to time. You could use long strips of material or even extra wide ribbon.
This has proved to be one of the most popular posts on my site … an old craft that is becoming popular again. I have a pattern available to print that is my version of a pattern shared with me many years ago on a crafting bulletin board. I never knew where the original pattern came from but then a visitor to my site let me know it was originally by Qualicraft.
I did a search and found someone selling that pattern booklet on etsy … and better still this seller was in Canada. Of course I had to have the pattern and cliceked to purchase it right away. The leaflet also includes patterns for slippers, a placemat and a covering for a lawn chair.
The original pattern is in the image below. Even though out of print, you can still find the original pattern book for sale, you just have to use a search engine to find one. The instructions I use were shared by SusieQ on a crafting bulletin board a long time ago. This is not my original pattern but I did adapted the wording a bit to make it more clear. I hope you can figure it out. If you don’t get it the first time, keep trying, as it does get easier.
Frequently the finished coat hangers turn up in thrift stores and garage sales. Before I had the pattern I tried unravelling one to see how it was done but I couldn’t figure it out.
You use Phentex or Nylotex material strips. Now these are almost impossible to find, though you can pay a small fortune for some on Ebay. I’ve still got a stash of some in limited colours and amounts. Good places to find this are in thrift stores, Freecycle groups or on Kijiji.
- 2 strips of material (let’s say pink and beige) — approximately 3.5 to 4 yards long each
- the original material was Nylotex or Phentex
- wire coat hanger
- patience as sometimes getting started takes a few tries
Find the middle of the two strips and put them together as if making a cross. This is the centre that goes on the tip of the coat hanger. Put the tip of the coat hanger in the centre of the “cross”. You now have four strips of material — 2 pink, 2 beige.
Hint: I put the coat hanger between my knees when I do these.
Arrange the 2 strips of one colour (pink)– on one side of the hanger – let’s say left side of the hanger and the beige strips are on the right side.
Now look at the strips and place them between two fingers on each hand.
You start with the top strip on one side. — let’s say beige — right side — it is the first one to go down underneath the wire, through the two pink strips on the left side, up and over the wire and becomes the bottom beige strip on the right side.
Now take the top pink strip — left side — go under the wire, through the 2 beige strips on the right side, over the wire — that becomes the bottom pink strip on the left.
Go back to the top beige strip and go under the wire, through the 2 pink strips, over the wire and this one becomes the new bottom beige strip.
Go to the top pink strip and do the same thing — and then this one becomes the new bottom pink strip.
Continue “braiding” until you come to the neck of the wire — where the two pieces separate — just continue to braid separately.
When you get all the way around — go up the neck of the coat hanger for a few braids and then tie off.
Once you get the hang of braiding with 4 strips the hanger is covered quickly. I usually finish off by making the ends into a little flower, but you could always stitch on an artificial flower or something else to decorate the hanger.
In the second photo above you can see the top beige one just being poked up between the 2 pink ones.
Now take the top pink strip — left side — go under the wire, through the 2 beige strips on the right side, over the wire — that becomes the bottom pink strip on the left. Go back to the top beige strip and go under the wire, through the 2 pink strips, over the wire and this one becomes the new bottom beige strip. Go to the top pink strip and do the same thing — and then this one becomes the new bottom pink strip.
You can say under, between, over and pull as you do it to reinforce the movements. Continue “braiding” until you come to the neck of the wire — where the two pieces separate — just continue to braid separately. When you get all the way around — go up the neck of the coat hanger for a few braids and then tie off.
Now wire coat hangers are getting harder and harder to find. So I thought I would tweak the pattern again and cover a plastic hanger.
This time I wasn’t going to cover the main hook of the hanger and I also had to work around some little hooks for looping clothing on. But I was up for the challenge and you will be too if you decide to try this. I used the same pattern for the braiding.
I cut the long strips of material, found the middle and put them around the base of the hook on the hanger, the same colours on each side. Then I decided to knot them in place as nylon on plastic sure can be slippery. You will notice in the photo above I used different colours and that is because I realized the beige one was too short (it was already cut) but I’d already taken the photo. But it is just to give you an idea how to start off. It was hard to hold the strips, focus the camera and get a good shot, so I decided to just leave it that way.
The collage has a close up of the small hook, the start of the braiding, how the strips look while braiding, and the finish of the braiding. At the end I wrapped the material around a couple of times and then stitched it into place. I have wire hangers I did years ago and the knots used to finish it off have started to come undone.
Here is a hint that might work for you if you have to stop the braiding part way through. The nylon strips slip so easily and you can quickly lose track of what you were doing. Put one of the big clips (used for holding paper) right over the spot where you are stopping and it keeps the strips or yarn in place till you are ready to return.
… a new look to an old craft …
It looks great when finished off and I think it is better than the wire hangers as you have the added hooks that they don’t have and it is more sturdy than wire ones.
And then I got to thinking … it is hard to find these nylon strips now so why not use up some chunky yarn I had left over from other projects.
And I came up with this yarn covered braided hanger.
It is lovely and soft and will be perfect for those delicate clothing items. This yarn was Patons Bohemian. You need to make the strips a bit longer as it braids tighter than the material strips.
If you have been trying to find the Phentex or Nylotex material you know it is nearly impossible to find. But here are some solutions that I found while browsing the yarn department.
A visitor to my site also recommended a Lion Brand yarn called Fettuccini. This is a yarn made from remnants of material. But these specialty yarns can be expensive. You could also try ribbon or material strips. If you really want to make these covered coat hangers you will surely come up with a substitute.
Good luck in your search for the perfect yarn to use making these covered coathangers.
August 2023 edit: While in Dollarama I found this yarn that would be perfect for braided coat hangers. It is certainly worth a try.
Bringing this post to the top again so other crafters can see the yarn/fabric I found at Dollarama.
Other coat hanger patterns:
- Braided wire hangers
- covered crochet hangers
- crochet covered hangers
- crochet covered hangers with flowers
- fabric covered hangers
- removable crochet covers
- scarf storage
The left thumbnail image was stolen by someone (Kate Plourde) and posted on a craft site as their own, even though her directions are slightly different to mine, the image had my name removed by cutting off the bottom section and reposted to the site with her name underneath with the © symbol. The second image is mine and you can see where the name has been taken off. The site, craftown.com, agreed to remove the image. Thank you very much. I have since added my url through the middle, third image. If people would ask I would willingly give approval to use my images, but taking them, changing them and claiming them for themselves is stealing and against the law. Why do some people feel it is their right to take other peoples images/work, claim it for their own, which eventually spoils it for all the wonderful crafters out there that share?