Posted by / 9/15/2011 / No comments /

7 Ways to Repurpose a Man's Shirt -Guest Post with Anne-

Seven ways to repurpose a man’s shirt
When it comes to refashioning, few thrift store items offer as much bang for the buck than an old plaid shirt.
I see them lined up in lovely rows in the men’s section – rack after rack of tartan plaids, windowpanes, ginghams, tattersalls. I love them all! And for every unique plaid shirt, there’s a terrific way to transform it into something brand-new and useful.

Here are seven examples of sewing projects that lend themselves particularly well to the classic, sometimes-quirky look of menswear plaid:

1) This little girl’s sundress pattern ( ) has been kicking around the Internet as the “cheytown dress” for years, and it’s wildly popular for a good reason. It cleverly puts the front shirt placket into the button-up back of the dress. It looks particularly sweet in plaids – and if you have a heavy-weight or flannel shirt, make it into a jumper for your little girl to wear over a sweater and tights.

2) Use the leftover sleeves to make these Sleevy Pants from Indietutes: They’re easy to make, super-comfortable, and little kids get a huge kick out of wearing pants with shirt cuffs around the ankles!
3) Shirts are perfect to remake into aprons, especially because the soft curves of the shirttail make a graceful scallop along the hem. Just cut it horizontally just below the armpits, then run two rows of basting stitches along the cut edge. Gather to the width you want, and use the leftover fabric to make waistband and ties. Leave the placket and buttons in place along the side edges – they add to the interest!
4) Taking a bottle of wine to someone as a gift? Skip the paper bag or disposable bows and make a reusable wine bag out of a shirt sleeve. Cut the sleeve a couple of inches longer than the wine bottle itself, then flatten the sleeve and sew the cut edges together. The cuff will land around the top of the bottle. Tie a ribbon or a piece or reclaimed raffia around the bottle and you’re good to go.
5) What to do with that other sleeve? Make a plastic bag dispenser. Yes, it looks a little creepy – like a detached scarecrow arm – but it’s incredibly useful. Even if you eschew all plastic shopping bags, they still seem to find their way into our lives in the form of bread and produce bags and other forms of packaging. So keep them handy as they await their re-use. Cut the sleeve away from the shirt, following the entire armhole seam. Turn about an inch of fabric all the way around the cut edge to form a casing (it’s fine to leave the edge raw) and stitch it in place, leaving a small opening at the part of the sleeve that had been at the top of the shoulder. Thread a ribbon, string, old shoelace, or anything similar through the casing, and hang it somewhere convenient (ours is by the cat litter box.). Stuff bags into the top, and pull them out through the cuff as you need them.
6) Plaid shirts make fantastic sources for decorative trim. A single large shirt will yield an astonishing amount of homemade bias tape. Cut the shirt apart so you can lay the back – the largest fabric piece – flat on your work surface. Give it a good ironing so it’s smooth – use spray starch if you have some. Using a rotary cutter and quilters’ ruler (or a regular ruler, pencil for marking, and regular scissors) cut long bias strips. I make my strips about 2 inches wide – sometimes narrower. Just vary the width to suit your purpose. Handling carefully to avoid stretching, press in a narrow edge (about ¼ to 3/8 of an inch) toward the wrong side of the strip. Stitch the strips into place just like this if you’re putting, say, a decorative band across a dress yoke. But to encase a raw edge, fold the strip once more, wrong sides together. This is how I make baby bibs (using denim from old jeans for the main part of the bib.) Sew the bias binding around the neck curve first, then sew longer strips around the outside curve, leaving a length of 12 inches or so at each end for ties. Just knot the ends.
7) Finally, try using fabric from shirts for making some handy lunch accessories. I cut a piece about 16 inches square from the back of a cheery orange plaid shirt. I put it together with a piece of waxy plastic from inside a cereal box (cut open and wiped off, of course) and serged the edges together. With a couple of dabs of stick-on hook-and-loop tape on the fabric side, it forms a great reusable sandwich wrapper – plus, an easy placemat for my lunch at work. Use the rest of the shirt for a cloth napkin, simply hemming the edges of whatever size square or rectangle you want to make it. Your lunch just got more eco-friendly is so many ways!
Anne Kenlon
GreenStitch Podcast
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About Me

Hi, Welcome to my blog!

I'm Katie, the artist behind the blog Punk Projects. I love everything crafty, I drink tea all day long, I'm a bit of a nerd, and I usually have ink or paint on my hands.

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