Sewing and Repairing shirts

This shows the collar starting to be removed.

My in-laws had a mishap at their house last week, which resulted in us cleaning out their attic room.  My mother-in-law saves everything and the attic looked like a thrift shop leftovers party.  She was reminiscing about the old days and how everyone made due with what they had.

These discussions lead to the subject of men’s shirts.  When she was young (she is 91) when the collars and cuffs frayed you took them off and reversed them so the good part showed on the outside. If the elbows wore out you made them into short sleeve shirts. When the shirts finally wore out you used them for rags or made rag rugs out of them.

I don’t think there are many women who sew anymore with the high price of material you go into shock when you want to sew anything. And the patterns good gravy they want $15.00 and up on some of them. I get a lot of my material from friends that don’t sew anymore or garage sales, flea markets and rummage sales. Yes I have totes of material and even some trunks, but don’t tell my husband.

I use a small pair of scissors to cut the threads and remove the collar.

So how do you reverse a shirt collar? You take a seam ripper or pair of small scissors and take the stitching out of the collar and cuffs where they are sewn to the rest of the shirt. Pull the pieces away from the shirt and turn them over where the worn side is hidden and pin into place. The worn part should be hidden inside the shirt, now sew with a sewing machine or by hand and you have a new shirt.

When you’re cutting the sleeve off to make it shorter, be sure to measure at least ½ inch longer so you can turn the material under for a finished hem.

As always we welcome your questions and comments.

Preparedness Mom

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3 Responses to Sewing and Repairing shirts

  1. David says:

    Rag rugs? Tell me more.

    • Aunt Deb says:

      After she had done everything possible to save a garment, then cut what was left into quilt pieces, my grandma would save the oldest fabric bits and pieces, braiding long strips into ropes. When she had a length several feet long and was at a stopping place on the rope braid, she would begin a rug. There are two ways she taught me. 1) Place the end of the rope on a flat surface (perhaps pinning it to thick cardboard to begin), then loop it around on itself, and stitch those two lengths together. (I use dental floss for this, but she used buttonhole twist thread.) Now, circle the two-length strip with another loop around both and stitch that one into place. Keep going until the rug is the size you need, or until you run out of fabric rope-braid. The other method: 2) If you crochet, you can crochet the rope into a long oval, then continue to circle the two beginning lengths, as above. You need a hook with a large end (I have the one my grandad whittled for my grandma.) This whole process is usually best tackled in the winter, since in the summer, most of us are busy outdoors, gardening, canning, putting up hay and wood, and taking care of stock and fences. Rag rugs are surprisingly warm, and the heavier the fabric used for the rop braids, the thicker the rug will be. You can also back them with rubberized non-skid material, although you would need to remove the backing should you ever wish to flip the rug over. Good luck – and enjoy the feeling of satisfaction when you finish your first rug and put it on the floor for daily use! 😉

  2. Prepardness Mom says:

    Thanks Aunt Deb for your great explaination. Rag Rugs are so neat, I haven’t made one since my kids where little, many moons ago.

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