Our Frugal Lifestyle

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Passionate about eco-frugality. I used to party hard, clubbing my way from pay-packet to pay-packet. Never getting ahead, just getting by. Then came our much wanted baby with no savings in the bank - only an old car. Changes were made to our lifestyle and we didn't turn back. In the past 6yrs we purchased a flat, found employment, lived below our means, built an emergency fund, purchased a reliable car and saw the financial benefits of our frugal lifestyle. Our only debt is our mortgage. Our aim is to manage our cash flow wisely, pay off our home quickly and eventually work for pleasure, not necessity. Join us on our journey, share insights, tips and tricks to help us and others to get ahead while having a good time.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Do You Have Ideas For Men's Shirts?

My partner of 19 years, The Rambling Expat did a big clean out after I complained he was taking so much more clothes space then I did. In his sorting he found 12 work shirts he no longer wears to work because of ripped pockets, worn out collars or stains that will not scrub out.

Men's Shirts.

I don't want to be a hoarder and I am trying to declutter. However these are made of good cotton fabric. As many of my readers know, I'm aiming to not buy new and save more, spend less, so I'm having a hard time throwing these shirts out.

I'm thinking I will use some fabric to make 4 handkerchiefs for The Rambling Expat who often suffers from sinus issues and a runny nose. Now this will only use up 2 shirts. Then I was thinking I could make a 2 more shopping bags similar to the library one I made here for Dolly, so that's another 4 shirts, still leaving me with 6 shirts.

Do you have any other ideas for me? I'm looking for practical, easy to make stuff that we can use in our everyday life or even fun gifts for people in our lives. I don't need rags or cleaning cloths as I have many from other old worn out clothes. Come on, let your suggestions reign :-)


  1. i use men's shirts that I buy at jumble sales for my quilts, I get about a metre of material from each one. xx

  2. Here's a lovely idea for your partners shirts http://blog.quiltroom.co.uk/2011/12/14/jeremys-quilt/
    Happy stitching.

  3. Lots of people use shirt material for quilting,either cut into strips or squares :) I have also seen some throw cushions on the web with the buttoned up fronts making the front of the cushion.

  4. http://www.countryliving.com/crafts/projects/10-practically-free-crafts#fbIndex10

    Here is the link for the cushions :)

  5. Patchwork- loads of lovely designs on you tube.
    Make xmas pressies- make up bags etc. simples!

  6. I'd probably use them for patchwork - it doesn't have to be intricate, and can be as simple as you like, using larger pieces if you want to. You could make small things like cushion covers or bags - maybe as gifts for Dolly's friends. You could make bunting or a patchwork top for a picnic blanket - the pieces don't have to be small or square. You could make pillowcases from the back pieces if they are large enough - 2 backs should be plenty to make a pillowcase.You could make drawstring bags for holding laundry - maybe one for Dolly in her room to encourage her to put her clothes in the laundry? I actually bought an old shirt in a charity shop yesterday to cut up for patchwork - I'm making curtaining for my kitchen and couldn't find chocolate brown thrifted fabric - then I found the shirt and it's the perfect colour!

  7. How about pot grabbers of oven gloves. I wanted to make some recently and had no suitable material.

  8. Cut dinner napkins from them. You can get one large from the back, two small from the fronts, and one or two from each sleeve, depending on length of the sleeve. Save all the buttons for reuse or crafts (button necklace for Dolly to string). Collars can be cut by leaving a bit of the shirt and then turning that under. Wear the collar yourself as an accessory or give to little girls to wear--decorate with ribbons and buttons. Then, don't wear it straight, sort of cock it to one side. If they are cotton, cut or tear it up for mulch. Or, cut shreds to leave out for birds to build nests or save the fabric for packing material. Done--one shirt upcycled, nothing wasted.

  9. Looking at the colours and patterns, they'd go nicely in patchwork (since you can sew). If you've not done it before, start with a throw size quilt, using a '9 block' pattern (all squares) which is quick to assemble - the bigger the blocks, the quicker it is too.

    The fabric may be a bit rough for handkerchiefs?

  10. Cushion covers? http://www.recycled-market.com/Stuffed-Shirt-Cushion.html

    Could you make a sh-kirt perhaps? http://www.recycled-fashion.com/2011/01/my-first-sh-kirt.html

    More ideas here

  11. How about cloth napkins; with old, soft material they would probably not ever need ironing. If they were mine, I would make new seat pad cover for our kitchen chairs (drat, something else for the to-do list!).

  12. Could you take the arms off, sew the body smaller, then put the arms back on to make a nightdress for Dolly? (Don't know if this is possible, just I wear old shirts to sleep in, haha!)

    Also, you can use strips of fabric as ties for staking your plants. At the Royal Botanic Gardens in London they use old tights (donated by local Women's Institute members, haha!), but cotton would work as well. It doesn't damage the stems as much as twine.

  13. Hmm..let's see you could make
    *cut into triangles and make bunting for a birthday
    *cut squares and decorate the tops of canning jars-like when you want to give away a homemade goodie.
    *cut into squares and sew a lap throw.
    *sew one into a pillowcase
    *sew one into a drawstring bag to keep a sheet set together or smaller for a shoe bag
    *line a basket
    *use some as signs for a yard sale-make an upside down "L" with sticks.Have the shirt point the way
    *cut small squares with pinking shears and poke them close together with a screwdriver onto a styrofoam wreath.Also could do a topiary like that
    *make bean bags
    *head scarves
    *sleep masks
    That's what I could come up with on the top oof my head.Hope that helps.

  14. What a great pile of old shirts to use - check out this link for a fabulous quilt made from old shirts - I want to do this for my son.


  15. Do you crochet?You could cut the shirts into strips and crochet a rag rug for your bathroom or as a pot holder.

  16. Love the bunting idea suggested above! Blue check and yellow check would look great.

    Sft x

  17. Check out Refashion Co-op for ideas for making clothes for your self or Dolly out of men's shirts. I was going to say quilts too but see many others had the same idea. I have seen some really cute refashioned shirts for women and kids made out of men's shirts. Good luck and can't wait to see what you do with them. You can take the sleeves and make jammie pants for the girl, depending on how tall she is that might be an option. Those are super easy and cute. I have done that with sweater sleeves.

  18. I saw dolly clothes written all over them, but then I love sewing for dolls.
    Love the bunting and garage sale sign ideas.

  19. I'm always looking for long-sleeved cotton shirts for fieldwork - it doesn't matter if they have worn collars or ripped pockets. If you have any left over after recycling them using all the fabulous ideas above, I could swap you a pile of secondhand books for a couple of shirts.

  20. Make little pouches out of them and fill them with rice or some other grain. when it get's chilly (I don't know how often this happens where you live), you can microwave them and keep them in you pockets. Or stitch slightly larger pouches filled with grain and used them to support your wrists while typing at the computer or using a mouse to ease your joints and prevent the throes of carpal tunnel syndrome.

    Or you could stitch bears out of them or other softees, make pillow cases (the buttoned bits are so handy to save and close/secure things with!), etc. etc.

  21. Thanks for all your fab responses!!!!

    They have been sitting in my fabric stash all this time. But it's a long weekend this weekend and I might have a few hours spare to do a few crafts. Ms Dig all of these are short sleeved.


Thanks for commenting - I love getting feedback, sharing experiences and learning from you.