I thought I’d continue with yesterday’s topic of remaking textile items by showing you a project I recently finished. The danger of going to a thrift clearance center where stuff is sold cheaply by the pound is that it is hard to resist things that I can’t wear or that are not collectible, but that are made of great fabric. This Brooks Brothers shirt, made out of a beautiful indigo linen (contrary to the faded out look of my photo), is a good example. It was too small for my husband, but I have a hard time leaving indigo linen in any form behind.
So I bought it, and then started looking on the internet under such as “man’s shirt re-do” or “remaking a man’s shirt.” I got hundreds of results, mainly on Pinterest. Some were interesting; others were highly entertaining. In the end I decided to just make it up as I went.
Call me crazy, but I just did not want a result that shouted “recycled old shirt” but at the same time I wanted to use as much of the original construction as possible. I considered switching the buttons and the buttonholes to the traditional women’s placement, but I liked the placket. I also left the breast pocket and the back yoke and pleat. Everything else is new construction.
I like a rounded V-neckline, so I cut off the collar and shaped the neck accordingly. I made bias strips to bind the neck and the sleeves from the bottom half of the old sleeves.
I narrowed the shoulder and re-cut the sleeves. I narrowed the body, and re-attached both using French seams.
To finish, I went through my considerable button stash and chose these diamond-shaped ones. I did consider just leaving the originals, but since I found these I knew they would be such a nice touch.
In theory, I love the idea of remaking and updating clothes. People have always done this to make their clothes last longer or to outfit younger children with hand-me-downs. But I’ve seen some disasters made in the name of “up-cycling” where valuable pieces of vintage clothing were destroyed to fit the current aesthetic. If you are like me and visit a thrift store occasionally, then you know that we are not in danger of running out of textiles anytime soon. The thrifts are full of the raw materials for a million projects. Just make sure your raw material does not have a Claire McCardell label.