A couple of years ago when I found myself in need of a new laundry hamper, I quickly came to the realization that when it comes to laundry receptacles, the adult American consumer really has only three choices available. You can buy an oversized (and ridiculously overpriced) mortar shell, an exceedingly banal wicker basket of some sort, or a hideous spring loaded mesh cube. There's some level of variation within these overarching groups of course, but for all intents and purposes that's pretty much the end of the line.
Well my friends, it's a new morning in America, so wake up to option number 4: The "because something's got to be done with all of these fucking Harold Miner and Isaiah Rider jerseys that were sold in the early 1990's" option.
When you think about it, basketball jerseys were made to be turned into laundry hampers. For starters, they look absolutely ridiculous on anyone who's not actively playing basketball, so they're all but useless as a form of clothing. Secondly, they're made out of mesh and strongly stitched together, so they can hold a heavy load AND they won't let your clothes get all musty and gross, what with the freely circulating air and all. Finally, the neck hole on a basketball jersey is the single largest neck hole known to men's fashions (outside of those found in Louie Anderson's closet), which makes stuffing large clothing items and towels into your hamper an easy task.
Sold yet? You bet your ass you are. Let's proceed.
This will in all likelihood be the single least complex set of instructions I'll ever compose, unless of course I someday get around to writing that "how to lance a whitehead in 2 easy steps" article that I've been sitting on since the 7th grade.
There's 2 ways to do this project, the easy way and the hard way, so I'll break these instructions up into 2 sections to keep you from becoming confused.
The Easy Way
1. Get yourself an old basketball jersey, something which should be available in abundance at any thrift store you go to (the bigger the better is a good rule of thumb to use here, as an old Rodney Rogers jersey that was originally purchased by a skinny 7 year old kid isn't going to hold a lot of clothes). For the purpose of this blog, I'll be using a relatively ancient Jason Kidd jersey (from his college days) that I bought in 1994 and have worn exactly 3 times since then. It still fits me. The persistence of my scrawniness clearly knows no bounds.
2. Turn the jersey inside out (so your seams won't be visible), then fold/roll the bottom of the jersey over a few times so that the bottom opening is sealed. Sew over that fold until you're confident that your stitchwork will be able to hold the weight of your dirty undies. You might also want to sew half of the arm holes closed, if you're one of those people who waits for their hamper to reach critical mass before doing your laundry.
3. Get yourself a sturdy clothes hanger, preferably a wooden one. If you'd like, you can decorate your hanger to show your unending admiration for the athlete immortalized on your jersey:
Or you can use the space to forward some sort of pseudo-political campaign that you've been trying to champion for the past 36 months:
4. Return your jersey to its original inside/in outside/out formation, put it on your hanger, and voila. Instant laundry hamper.
Yeah, admittedly the profile shot is none to flattering for this little project, but it was hard to show that the jersey was actually holding anything from the front view. Still, it's mildly/almost kind of neat, eh? You're right, it really isn't, but on this day I am undeterred. Prepare yourself for the coup de grace, 'cause here comes the real McGillicutty:
The Hard Way
1. Once again, procure for yourself an old basketball jersey. Actually, you don't even need to find an old one - if you look on ebay for XXXXL basketball jerseys you can probably get a new one for $5 or $10 (I guess this is just further evidence that people who weigh 450lbs usually aren't very interested in basketball). I purchased a Carmelo Anthony jersey via this method (it's one of those weird high school throwbacks), and it worked perfectly for this project. That sack of mesh can hold about 40 hoodies all at once, I tells ya.
2. Sew up the bottom just like in the easy way instructions, but DON'T sew up the arm holes. That would be an outright waste of your time and mine, and nobody wants that.
3. This method aims to turn a jersey into a more traditional free standing hamper, so you're going to need to fabricate some sort of a 3 sided structure that can support 2 thick dowels running across the top of it. The dowels will run through the arm holes and stretch them horizontally, allowing the jersey to be suspended with the neck hole opened up right on top, like some sort of bizarro clown's mouth for well worn tube socks.
I'm not going to lay out explicit instructions on how to build this thing, as it could be done about 1,000 different ways. That said, I'll show you what I chose to do as this is one of those things that's easier to explain visually than verbally. My attempt at fabrication reached this end:
Obviously, it's a pretty simple structure: Two pieces of wood glued and screwed into another one, with some braces (both metal L brackets and triangular blocks of wood) screwed in for added stability and durability. I had originally cut out those four half circles in the top for the purpose of housing the dowels, but they were way too close together so I ended up screwing some L brackets onto the edges and bending their ends up to grab onto the dowels tightly. If you're curious about the dimensions, this beast stands about 28" tall, 17" wide (from side wall to side wall), and 12" deep (from dowel to dowel).
One last thing you need to keep in mind: Make your structure several inches shorter than your jersey, otherwise you could end up with the jersey dangling above your base board once everything's all finished. This would levy a lot of pressure (and stretching) on the shoulders of the jersey, and quite honestly that's not a fate that a piece of apparel commemorating the lackluster career of Glenn "Big Dog" Robinson deserves.
Here's another shot, just to give you a better idea of how this thing is held together:
4. Run the dowels through the arm holes of your sewed up jersey, then rub your chest hair (if available) while rolling around on the floor and making disturbing gurgling noises with your saliva, for you are finished with this glorious undertaking!
My final results came out something like-a this, maestro...
And from the back side...
Mr. Money, please meet Dr. Bank. You're about to go in him.
Old show business maxim: Always close with a poorly worded reference to homosexual intercourse involving two anthropomorphic objects, THAT'S how you get the crowd to come back for a second show!
Second show indeed. Tune in next time when I'll show you how to make love out of nothing at all.
Tuesday, March 11, 2008