how to make padded hangers

Friday, January 14, 2011

Ah, January. That time of year when all you want to do is restore order.
Pottery Barn Kids
This is when I fantasize about having organized, coordinated closets that are so beautiful you can keep the doors open. My closets don't look this nice, but the one thing I've managed to do is get matching hangers.

It was in this spirit that I decided to road test Martha Stewart's tutorial for making padded hangers. I often access her archive of instructions and wish they had more pictures, so I've documented the process step-by-step here.
I agree with her supply list, but the awl is definitely overkill and 3/8" ribbon works just as well as the recommended 5/8". Unable to find wooden kid-size hangers locally, I resorted to ordering some online from Only Hangers.
The batting will be layered and wrapped in one piece around the hanger. To get the length of your strips measure the hanger as shown above. Martha recommends 4 layers of batting in 3 1/2" widths. I only needed 3 layers that were 2 1/2" wide. Since battings vary, you may have to experiment.
Stack the batting layers, find the center and cut a slit through all the layers. This is where the hanger hook will poke through. Scissors work fine- you don't need an awl!
Wrap around like so, and staple gun at the bottom just where the pieces meet.
With a needle & thread, tuck batting edges over each other and baste shut with large stitches. It doesn't have to be pretty. Now measure the circumference without squeezing.
And measure the length from hook to edge.
Your cover will be made up of 4 pieces for which a pattern needs to be made. To get the length of the pattern piece, take the length you just measured and add 1" for seam allowances (I've never liked 5/8" allowances). For the width, take half of the circumference measurement and add 1" for allowances. Take the corners off with a nice curve. Cut 4 pieces out of your preferred fabric. The fabric usage is quite small, so this could be a way to use up precious scraps. I'm starting to envision my tablecloth scraps or thrifted men's shirts cut up...
Sew the pieces to each other leaving the straight end open. Notch out the ends to alleviate bunching once turned inside out. Martha says to use pinking sheers to trim the seam allowances to reduce the bulk which helps too.
Turn inside out and slide covers onto each end. Pin tightly closed and hand stitch shut.
The best part- now you get to add the ribbon. Finally, a use for some of that fancy ribbon I got on one of my trips to the NYC garment district! I cut my 3/8" ribbon to 28" and wrapped the hanger exactly as Martha instructs: "Place a length of 5/8-inch ribbon around the hook to the front of the hanger, slightly overlapping, as if you were dressing it with a scarf. Pull both ends of the ribbon under the hanger, and back over the front on either side of the hook, and tie into a bow in front of hook." I find it easier to get a good bow if I face the hanger away from me like I'm tying a belt on myself. Ta da!

Now I have to make enough to fill my daughter's whole closet. Just kidding! I'm thinking it would be cool to make for one or two special dresses that could hang on a pretty hook on the outside of the closet door. Maybe I'll search out a vintage hook, or just pick one up at Anthropologie.

12 comments:

Jes - oh, buckets said...

these are just too cute! and, I love how you gift your sweet little dresses on them!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting this...it's just what I was looking for. I made some really sweet vintage-looking dresses for my granddaughters for Christmas. I want to present them on these adorable matching hangers. I think their moms (and someday, they) will love them. Thanks again!
Vicki from Wisconsin

Becky said...

Oh good! I'm glad you are trying these. I'd loove to see your results ;)

Anonymous said...

thank you!!! I'm half way into this and decided to look for directions...I was putting the seams on top and bottom of hanger and it looked messy.

Anonymous said...

is it possible u make a few of these for me upon order as in i pay for each hanger.. :)

Becky said...

You can contact me though my Etsy shop for any custom orders:http://www.etsy.com/shop/ChirpAndBloom

Anonymous said...

really, really cute idea they look better then some in the store do. I would try this because it's less expensive and you can customize them yourself! only one problem if i tried it would come out terrible! haha well keep doing what you do, looks great! _Lauren

Anonymous said...

really, really cute idea they look better then some in the store do. I would try this because it's less expensive and you can customize them yourself! only one problem if i tried it would come out terrible! haha well keep doing what you do, looks great! _Lauren

Anonymous said...

really nice illustration. Just made some for my mum. Perfect present. Many thanks. Greetings from Europe

Jen said...

I've been hanging on to my daughter's old outgrown stockings, the cute patterned ones from Gymboree, etc. Just can't bring myself to toss them or hand them down...they have such sweet memories attached to them! But I found your instructions here and I'm going to use them to cover a pack of padded hangers I just bought. She's 7 years old now and the little kid hangers are too small, so we're upgrading her closet. I'm so excited to make them and hang her dresses on them. She'll feel fancy and I'll feel nostalgic :-) Thanks for the instructions!

Becky said...

That is a great use of those cute little tights, Jen!

Sharie said...

Thank you for the pictures in your tutorial. Thinking of making some of these for pretty Christmas gifts.

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