Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Ways to Repurpose Men's Shirt Parts

Hello from my blog, Sew Much to Give
My name is Deborah and I've  been sewing for over 40 years.

I love to repurpose men's dress shirts. 
I really enjoy using the various parts of men's shirts in new ways. So I thought I would post about those different ways that I've used 
specific parts of a men's shirt.  


APPLICATION: Finish the Neck Edge.  
                                I decreased the width of the collar before attaching it to the front bodice neckline only. The collar ends are sewn into the shoulder seams.


 I used two shirts and the decorative triangles are made from the tips of the two shirt collars that I used in this design. Notice how I used a larger button than normal to highlight the collar points.

APPLICATION: Shoulder Strap
I cut the collar into two equal parts and then attached it both by stitching it down and sewing the buttons on through all layers. 

APPLICATION: Divider between the bodice top and skirt. Notice that the waistline tie emerges from the seam near the sewn on collar stand.


APPLICATION: Shoulder Straps
Here I used the cuffs as shoulder straps for a summer top. As you can see from the photo, I left the 2 buttons on one side of the strap and added a button to the middle of the buttonhole on the back. 
The collar is permanently attached to the front bodice by sewing directly on top of the original topstitching.

Shirt Front
Shirt Back
Application: Cuffs 
These cuffs are still cuffs, but they don't open and close.  They finish the sleeve edge just the way a knit band would....  the hand just slips through the opening. I finished the seam inside with zig zag to reduce the bulk.

Application: Added Length or Hem Edges
These cuffs on the bottom of the legs of a jumpsuit now "roll up" to finish the seam and to give additional length to the pants leg.  When sewing for an older or taller child, the needed fabric length for some of the pattern pieces is hard to find, so you have to color block or add length in a manner such as this.

Application:  Accents to the Overall Design 
 In this dress, the cuffs created additional interest at the waistline. Additional red topstitching was added to the cuff to adhere them to the bodice front and to make them pop. Notice how I added a red button in each of the buttonholes too... more pop.
That is their only function! 


Application: Pockets 
A pocket can still be a pocket, or a way to hide an unwanted embroidered symbol on a shirt (like a polo player) that is positioned in a strange place, when you utilize the shirt front for needed fabric.

Button Tab

This is my favorite part of a man's shirt, because if I use it right, I will not have to make a single buttonhole in the new outfit.  
Application:  Sleeve Edges
On this dress, I used the buttonhole area on the shirt to make sleeve flounces. One side used the buttonhole tab and the other sleeve used the button area. I also used a section of the buttonhole tab to highlight the gathered section of the skirt.  In the back of the outfit, I used the dark blue buttonhole tab to create an opening at the center back of the top.... No Buttonholes For Me!

 Application: Neck Opening
Here is an example of the buttonhole area used in this way.
Application: Accents to the Overall Design
On this dress, the skirt does not open and close, but adds to the overall design of the dress.

Application:  Hem Edge
Here the button tab was added at the hem area. I also added a total of 42 buttons from old shirts. I cut off all buttons before I throw away any scraps and store them in my mason button jar.


Application: Legs
On these shorts, each side of the short was created using a single sleeve.  The tucks and placket are still there  too.

MAKE AND MEND FOR VICTORY by Spool Cotton - 1942 - from R & A Petrilla, ABAA, IOBA and Biblio.com

The chart below is from an 1942  book, Make and Mend for Victory.  Young women during the Great Depression and WW2, knew how to recycle and repurpose too. Perhaps this will help you see new ways to lay out your patterns using men's shirts.

Deborah @ Sew Much To Give 

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  1. Wow! Great ideas here. I just made a dress for my daughter recently from 2 of Daddy's shirts. I used the cuffs from a denim shirt to make an adjustable bodice:
    Can't wait to try out some of your ideas :)

  2. Wow, so many ways you have reworked a men's shirt. Great job and very creative in using those collars as straps.


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