Operation Man Shirt

December 12, 2014

In my attempt to make from what I already have, in the waning days of the year, I am launching Operation Man Shirt, a quest to usefully transform all My Man’s old, worn business shirts that in some frugal madness I have stored for years.

To that end, I removed all the buttons and stitched them on to cardboard.  Instead of being invisible, they now look, useful, appealing and covetable!

IMG_5124I also removed all the labels for keeping because I think they are kind of cool, especially the ones that include place of manufacture. I am sure they will be useful one day.

IMG_5126Inspired by Rachaeldaisy’s work which was recently showcased in Quilting Down Under,

IMG_5171I cut out some circles for Suffolk Puffs/Yo Yos.

IMG_5123Some went into a GiveWrap.

IMG_5115I made this in a rush of blood, straight after coming back from a weekend away…I was really really tired and apparently couldn’t even spell Instagram. I could have unpicked and redone the label, but I decided to immortalise my fatigue and very human error with a hand stitched correction. It will just add to its story I think. You can follow that journey on Instagram using the #givewrap hashtag.

IMG_5114The puffs give the GiveWrap, a delightful three dimensional quality,

IMG_5119especially when all wrapped up.

The other circles are being saved for another project. I am going to challenge myself to have nothing left of this pile of shirts within six months. If you have got any ideas on what to do with ManShirts do let me know. You could also post any of your shirt projects on Instagram tagged with #operationmanshirt if you fancy. Oh, it’s Christmas…I am talking crazy…we’ll talk new projects in the new year of course.

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  1. My aunt made all my boy cousins shirts from their father’s cast off. Occasionally sleeves, body and collar would all be different colour pinstripes, but that just added to the charm.

    Loving the GiveWrap 🙂

  2. Oh cuteness! How good does it look! They were talking about reusable gift wrap on Smaggle on fboo today,, so I shared your hash tag! Be exciting if someone picks it up! I mentioned it was from the needle works collective. Hope that is ok!

  3. Ah, another manshirt recycler! My collection includes a few thrift store finds, for who can pass up a nicely-made-looks-like-new 100% cotton manshirt? No synthetics allowed in my stash, a little linen, okay. Compared to womanshirts, manshirts often seem to be better tailored and of superior fabric. You are very brave taking off the buttons, because I am always dreaming of ways to incorporate the whole buttonhole band and buttons into some useful new closure, and indeed I have made a few cushion covers that way. I have thought about an indigo overdyed bedcover/quilt but have been daunted by the size of the project. So, I too will give some more thought to the challenge and eagerly await some new ideas for the manshirts.

  4. Great idea for recycling! I agree with Elaine – it would be great to cut the fabric in stripes and crochet a colorful rug. We used to do it with my grandma. We also used the colorful plastic cut bags, cut it in stripes and made waterproof rugs that were perfect for the country house.

  5. Rebecca, those are so beautiful! I am going to copy the puffs this weekend for my wraps. I don’t have any man shirts to recycle, or man shirt advice, although I recycle the buttons from my own shirts to use on new garments. (The fabrics are often too worn and icky for much.) Lovely as always and I will give some thought to possible shirt projects. I would think there would be enough fabric to make a cute skirt or shorts for a little girl from one of those pretty striped/ticking-type ones.

  6. What a treat to see your yoyos used on a Givewrap!! You are so good to sew the buttons on to cardboard, they do look pretty and practical like that. I’ve incorporated one of Phil’s shirts in my mini wedding ribbon quilt. I’ll show it soon on my blog soon. I wish I could but I just can’t bring myself to get into instagram.

  7. “I am talking crazy”, couldn’t stop laughing, woke up the dog because…I have my fleece from Scotland, ON the kitchen table…ON several layers, don’t tell anyone 🙂 And I cannot wash any because there are lbs/kgs of moose meat defrosting in the set tub in the laundry room and, and, and……..fortunately all the dozens of cookies are made and gone. Operation Man shirt, I have seen several things but the only one that stuck in my head was an apron made from the front making use of the pocket.
    I was totally impressed with the buttons on the cardboard, was thinking……..never mind 🙂

  8. Your Man’s shirt’s have never looked so good, lol!!

    I love your give wraps. One day in the future, I’d love to see a blog post full of pics of all your givewraps. What a stunning collection that would make!

  9. very cute yoyos!!

    I like the buttons sewn and presented on card too – I usually just throw them in the collective tin, but this is much more appealing (and useful, I think – you can see at a glance how many you have rather than rummaging only to find you are one elusive button short!!)

  10. Operation Man Shirt. YES, SIR…that is…Ma’am! What a perfect assault on the rag pile of up-cycling and what a great group of comments to go along with it.

    There is something grand about reviving a worn or thrifted piece from snout to tail. In my case I might overdye those stripey button-downs with Indigo or onion skins after a bit of Shibori stitching. Then whip up removable book covers with the pocket in front for notecards. The cuffs might go to cup cozies.

    Alas, Operation Man Shirt will have to wait until after the annual ornament swap, but it will be nice to start the new year with a smart project like this.

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