An office life is often hard for a mere shirt to survive, and my husband’s shirts are constant casualties. In addition to the worn-out collar and/or cuffs, the dreaded ink stain happens more often than it should. Sometimes the ink just will not come out in the wash no matter what I try. So I am left with an otherwise perfect shirt that has the equivalent of at least 2 yards of fine fabric doomed to be donated or trashed. I have been saving the defunct shirts in hopes of using them for something else. I remembered the wartime sewing book I bought years ago which had a chapter on repurposing clothes. Fabric was in short supply during the war, so people were forced to ‘make do’ or use what was on hand.
This book was first published in 1943 and has lots of great instructions for household and garment sewing. I particularly like the line-drawing illustrations.
The two pages below show how smaller garments can be cut from wool garments, making use of the great fabric. I once made a gray wool gored skirt from my grandfather’s old wool coat. The fabric was wonderful, thick and ageless, and I still have the skirt today. I used the rest of that great fabric to make a pillow for lacemaking since wool never goes to waste.
Now we come to the instructions for reusing a man’s shirt. The layouts show how to get some little girl undies, dresses and pinafores from a shirt, and other children’s clothing and a woman’s blouse.
I am interested in the boy’s shirt, since the fabrics in my husbands shirts are the more manly sort of color and pattern, and I do have a young nephew. I notice in the woman’s blouse that there wasn’t enough room to have a collar, so they have a tie at the neck, producing a lovely blouse.
Now that a man’s shirt represents an investment of between $20 to $50 (or even more, much more), the poor shirt shouldn’t go to waste just because it met with an accident.