Linen Shirt Make-over

jenjoycedesign©linen shirt makeoverMy love of linen has grown deeper with time. Its rustic wholesome weave holds my appreciation like no other textile. The warm shades of grey form layers in the seams, and when held in front of angled light from the late or early sun, it is simply beautiful. Just to see it that way I am able to almost smell its fragrance, as if the presence remains of that field of flax from which it was born, and it my skin longs to be against it.

So, I made another shirt for myself, new out of old.
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Making new clothes out of old is one of those things which I absolutely love to do but takes a bit of skill.  Pardon the wrinkly shirt photo, but that is actually the way I prefer it, not ironed too much, just a little, for linen has such personality with a little texture showing.  Months ago I bought a linen shirt from the thrift shop and I was wearing it around like a tent recently, and yesterday I finally cut into it.  Now it is more of my style, it has personality, it is natural, totally unique, and has a feminine classic charm. There was plenty needle threading and hand-sewing, which I adore actually, and the machine work was plenty too.

Here’s what I did:  I first ripped off the breast pocket, then cut out the big bulky button bands and collar. Then I cut off some off of the length which gave me enough fabric to sew in a ‘gusset’ to bridge the two fronts in the absence of the button band.  I cut off the cuffs and cuff button placket, completely, which left sleeves a little short.
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From two sleeves I had cut before off of another linen shirt in my pile of linen scraps, I made simple wide folded faced bands to extend into a sort of cuff, and pleated the excess sleeve material to fit… a fast & easy way to go… and looks great rolled up. Usually I just hem the neck opening without a collar, but this time I had envisioned a peter-pan collar, so I set into making a collar custom to the cut-out neck, with the other linen sleeve in the scrap pile, and with the help of this book, published 1930’s….


Finished, and excited to get involved in a very summertime project for the hot weather, and that is making new out of old, re-making every possible tent-like mens’ linen shirt I possibly can get a hold of , and immerse myself in the metamorphosis of them into artful beautiful shirts for *moi*. My wardrobe is anorexic, but is on the mend, and I’m absolutely loving my needlework, on a quiet mountain, punctuated by very little else, which suits me just fine.

I’m ready to go at it with another!

Stitching Old & (almost) New Together

004I was given a handful of really old collars by my girlfriend almost a year ago (thank you Sorcha!) and finally I have decided to put them to use, and started by performing stitch-work surgery to one of my favorite thrift shop finds, a linen jacket shirt with a ruffle at the bottom and big shell buttons. First I took the top button off, turned in and stitched down the high narrow collarless shirt to the dimensions of the lacework collar…
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Then I pinned the hem of the collar  just inside the edge of the shirt…

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Then simply whip-stitched the two things together and then turned the collar out, without ironing,  so it has that lofty personality of the collar…. and voila !

004The thing is , these few antique collars have cast a magic spell on me as I am in love with the -old-fashioned ritual of hand-stitching on a hand-made collar on to not-so-new clothing.  I just can’t imagine what might blossom from this seed, except that with this old collar I now have …

” Something Old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue. “

outfit for wedding

Hey! I’m getting married tomorrow!

Braided Rug

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I think I’ve met my match.  Another braided rug has lumbered into my life and I’m not talking about a small thing.  I am nearly helpless when face-to-face with a deal when I see one, at my favorite thrift shop, you know, and it happens to me so often I’m beginning to worry.  Well, just yesterday I was there looking about and I saw this massive roll on the floor, in front of the frames and pictures and folks were nearly tripping over it. I made a bee-line to it and with a quick glance, I knew it was hand-made and valuable. I rather wondered how it could be that nobody else noticed, and was worried that by noticing me noticing it, someone might snatch it up, so I do the ‘act-casual-like-I’m-not-noticing’ as I flag down one of the shop volunteers and give the nod that I want to buy the rug.  I didn’t even ask to untie & unroll it.  The label said 10′ x 15′ and $30.  I’m talking about the hand-made variety of pure wool braided rugs with saturated dyes that are stitched by hand together. I didn’t care what it looked like unrolled.  But really, how could it possibly be ten by fifteen feet ???

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I know because I overhauled another of it’s kind only 5 years ago, involving over-dying and re-braiding and a lot of work, which sits in our living room .   My thoughts were that it can’t be perfect, there’s got to be major stains or stink or horrid colors, or something which couldn’t be seen from being rolled up and tied.  I realized even if it were all those things that the material in this rug was fine to make several medium sized rugs and a few small ones to boot. I convinced myself I absolutely had to buy it !

jenjoycedesign©colors in rug

So I paid, and got help loading it into the back of my Toyota, we just stuffed it in there, and I hauled it home. This thing that I just impulsively brought home like a stray kitten (okay, more like a stray crocodile) and I didn’t even bother to unroll it until Jeff got home from work last night. And that we did.  I was correct, there was a major thing about it that made it so I couldn’t just uncoil off about 2 feet of braid all around and keep the inside as a complete rug, for it is mostly yellow.   I don’t like this particular shade of yellow, and it will not do in the house, I know, I’m so strange that way.

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Maybe I will reconsider, but for now  I’m face-to-face with this huge soon-to-be carcass of a hand-made wool braided rug which is much too big to fit anywhere in our house, it will have to be down-sized in one way or another.

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I suppose soon I’ll begin guiltily snipping someone else’s original stitching and coiling & doing some new stitching of loose braids to my useful liking.  Oh joy! But I have so many other things need doing too, this is just the deal that will do me in I”m afraid.  Determined to make this rare find worth every hour of rework I am gearing up to spend on it ~~ and I’m  feeling very much  like an old-fashioned farm wife who never sees an idle moment.

Refashioned

jenjoycedesign©linen-shirt-upcycle-back I took a big men’s blue check linen shirt I found at Goodwill Thrift shop a few months ago, for a couple of dollars, and this morning reconstructed it into a pretty shirt with details I have done so much I call them ‘signature’. I took my time before I cut with scissors because I really put a lot of thought into the details I wanted.

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Such as the cut off cuff hemmed with sleeve placket and then a button for show.

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This time I took some of the length cut off from the shirt and made a little detail sewn over pleats. (oops, I forgot to photograph the before photo), then added buttons.  I love it !

jenjoycedesign©linen-shirt-upcycle-detail (1) I also separated the felled seam at the bottom edge and rather hurriedly made a make-shift after-thought side seam placket, and decided to make the front shorter.

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Also I sewed the button placket down because I hate gaping button plackets on shirts. Voila ! Refashioned 100% linen summer shirt ! For two dollars !!! Did I already mention that I love it?

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New From Old

I took a short break from knitting, and made something fresh and new from something old and tatter’d.  Like the saying goes ” a silk purse from a sow’s ear”.


Well,  not exactly a sow’s ear. But a dearly beloved shirt I’ve worn to threads, bought ages ago from a thift-shop. Twice used !

Really nice linen.

Probably Irish Linen.

From the back side I cut out a large square.

(really, I ripped on the grain, for perfect edges)

Folded hem, ironed, pinned, then

settled into stitching . . .

 I am intrigued with the thing which is mitered corners.

I figured out how to do it all by myself !

Well, not exactly a silk purse, but in my opinion better.

 Something new from something old .

A hand-made linen handkerchief !

Twenty by twenty inches.   A generous sized hikers’ pocket companion.

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