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.
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.