Sunday, July 10, 2022

Weekend Review: The Shirt Off His Back


The Shirt Off His Back / Juliet Bawden
Hauppage, NY: Barrons, c2011
143 p.

Another upcycling title this month - this book is an interesting look at using men's shirts to make household and decorative items, rather than new clothing. There's a wide variety of projects here, so hopefully there's something to suit everyone. 

The book is arranged in an interesting way: starting with an introduction on dress shirts and the basics of deconstruction, it then arranges the chapters by type of shirt. We have Businessmen's Shirts, Creative Men's shirts, Outdoorsy Men's shirts, and Sporty Men's shirts. The different fabrics and prints of these kinds of shirts are used to advantage in the varied projects included. 

From pillows and bunting to chair covers and cloth buckets, to hats, place mats, doorstops or hampers, there is a wide range of ideas included - these are only a few of the 30 projects found here. For each, there is a good clear photo of the finished item, step by step instructions and a few illustrations. For a few of the projects there are also templates, found at the back of the book to be traced off (right on the final pages, not a separate enclosure). 

Anyone who enjoys upcycling and happens to have some men's shirts to reuse will find this a useful book. So many ways to use a shirt that is mostly still good! I love the idea of making bunting from striped shirts, so cute -- and using the front of a button down to cut into a quick apron. Lots of great ideas to reuse things that can't be a good donation to thrift shops because of condition, or just because you might love the fabric a lot. And this kind of upcycling is also a great way to get newer sewists interested in the wide world of making ;) This was an enjoyable book, a great collection of useful and practical upcycle projects that you might actually want to make. 

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