Tag Archive | old shirts

Making Use of Worn Out Shirts

A tear, wear and some fading just means the shirt needs to be upcycled to another useful purpose.

A tear, wear and some fading just means the shirt needs to be upcycled to another useful purpose.

You can always tell a person’s favorite shirt by how often it is worn and the shaby look it acquires after constant wear.  Fortunately, when shopping for my husband, I focus on finding clothing that is made with quality fabrics so that he can wear them as long as possible.  And, in keeping to a budget, many times I am able to strike a great deal when puchasing them on clearance at the end of a season, yet, unfortunately with most of them being long sleeved.  The only drawback to the long sleeved shirts is that I need to shorten all the sleeves, as my husband finds them to be uncomfortable.  Not really a terrible situation for a wife who has been a seamstress and sewn since her early teen years.

As time passes, after continual wear and washings, the shirts present this tiring look with worn collars (that I will reverse if it is a favorite shirt), fading beyond my liking, with holes beginning to form at the corners of pockets from constant use.  

This weekend I equipped myself with scissors in hand, as I share with him the two shirts that were in the category of “must go”.  Soon after, he came to me with a third shirt that simply torn at the pocket as he began to button it up.  I smiled bravely as I graciously took another one of his favorite shirts with me to my secret place with seam rippers and scissors.  Off came the buttons first!  Then, I bravely proceeded with the sharpest shears in the bunch, and cut the shirts into large pieces of rags and piled them nicely for future use, with very little being trashed.

I realize that I could have given these shirts to a charitable organization, but I do not find it very charitable to give worn out, ripped or even stained shirts to the less fortunate.  We prefer to give these organizations items that are still in very good condition and excellent repair.  If the only reason we want to move them out of the closet is because we found we were not wearing them  because we did not like the style, then that is when the act of charity of most appealing.  Buttons in tact, zippers all working, snaps functionable.  i find it rude to give away something that we ourselves would not wear because a button was missing, a zipper stopped working, a rip in the seam, etc.

Anyway, as you can tell, these three shirts were not something I was willing to give away, and certainly not because of greed.  So i decided to take the buttons off and save them for future use, either on a shirt (or two) that I will make for my husband, replacement buttons on aother shirt (if needed), or possibly a craft requiring buttons.  I do collect buttons, but I do not find buttons on a mans shirt to be  very exciting.

After removing the buttons, I proceeded to cut the shirts into rags.  These shirts were going to be perfect for my husbands use in changing the car oil, cleaning up paint, stain and oil spills, and whatever else he can use them for. By using worn out clothing for rags, we are saving ourselves from purchasing rags (yes they sell them in auto repair stores) and making good use of them.

I also use rags from clothing that is no longer useable, for cleaning around the house, either dusting or other damp cleaning.  Although one shirt was an ideal cotton fabric for my use, my husband was out of rags and was very receptive to having a new supply to work with. I sometimes find that the fabric is perfect to use as backing for securing buttons onto other work shirts, adding patches to the inside of jeans, and other sewing purposes.  

Whatever the purpose, I make an effort to save from filling up our landfills, by either giving and sharing with others the clothing items that are in very good condition, or utilizing the worn out items in a way that will benefit our needs without having to spend our financial resources.  Paper towels are nice and convenient, but rags are always needed, and in some cases can be washed along with the rest of the laundry to be reused again.

Please consider giving to others what you tired of, not what you wore out.  And, the items you wore out, consider using them for another purpose.

Living within our means by not wasting what we have,

~ Enjoy ~


Laura D. Field
Reflective Tapestry of Life
Writer, Blogger, Proofreading & editing, Freelance contributor