My mother requested that I make some baby bibs with ‘mountain colors’. My interpretation of mountain colors are colors such as brown, green, rust, and beige. You may recall that our house is on the market and therefore most all my fabric in storage. But, even if I had access to my stash, I wouldn’t have any of these colors. I think if I had to sew with brown on a regular basis, it would depress me. It’s just not something I buy. And not having a job at the moment means that I don’t have extra money to spend. So, I racked my brain trying to figure out where I could get some fabric in ‘mountain colors’ on the cheap. And it occurred to me that men’s cotton shirts would work. So… off I went in search of used men’s shirts.
I’m not sure if this is true for all of the NC mountains, but Macon County has a ton of thrift stores. They are everywhere! (or at least they seem to be) My google search found about 2 dozen thrift stores in a county of just 30K people. And they don’t disappoint. Many wonderful things can be found at the thrift stores in the area, but on this day I was looking only for men’s shirts. And I found them! One of the local stores was having a sale of just $1 for each item of clothing. So I bought some shirts (and one pair of khaki slacks) in mountain colors, took them home and washed them, and started cutting them up.
I downloaded a bib pattern from JRoxDesigns and purchased a few ‘mountain’ animal embroidery files from Planet Applique. I couldn’t find a deer design that I liked, so I digitized my own designs for the deer. I also added the flower to the hedgehog design. And over the next 2 weeks or so, I made 5 bibs in ‘mountain colors’.
For the large and extra large shirt sizes, I can get 4 bib cutouts from each shirt — one on each sleeve and two from the back. And then extra fabric was used to applique several of the animals. So the same shirt used for the fox bib was used to applique the hedgehog spines. The khaki slacks were cut up and used as a back for each of the 2 deer bibs, and was also used for the hedgehog body. The rust colored shirt was used for the body of the fox, and so on. Each bib was also lined with a thick interfacing for support.
I am not impressed with the shirt used for the male deer. That shirt was from Banana Republic, and although it was really nice fabric (I think it may have had some spandex in it although it said it was 100% cotton), it stretched and wrinkled way too much when embroidered. And what you see is my second take. The first was even worse.
The hedgehog smelling the flower is my favorite. They are so cute together! The deer isn’t too shabby either, if I do say so myself.
There is still plenty of fabric left over for more projects. I saw a tutorial for a cute apron made of the front of a man’s shirt. And I have the shirt fronts left on almost all the shirts, so maybe I’ll try that next. Or, I probably have enough left over to make a quilt, if I decide to go that route.
Have you repurposed clothing for something other than it’s intended use? I’d love to hear about it. I love new ideas.