Tag Archives: re-do

Brooks Brothers Linen Shirt Re-do

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.

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