Book Review: The Shirt Off His Back


For the last couple of years I have been collecting up old shirts of mine, and those of various family members as well. I had in mind some kind of quilt project inspired by some I had seen at the Festival of Quilts, however I never got any further than storing all the shirts in a box.

When I saw this book, The Shirt Off His Back, in Mollie Makes I added it to my wish list, it seemed to be the answer to my shirt mountain! I was very excited to receive it as a Christmas present from my sister, it was mentioned that she rather liked the Button Down Shirt apron (p.52) so I decided this was a good place to start.


I did not have a button down shirt so the collar doesn’t sit as well as I would like, but apart from that it has turned out really well. The instructions could have been a little clearer and a picture of the back would really have helped, but it was quick to make and I enjoyed doing it.

Trying the apron out on some pancakes

The book starts with a very interesting introduction looking at the history of shirts and how to deconstruct a shirt ready to make into something else. There are so many different projects that most people would find something to make, from small projects like a night shirt for your teddy bear to large projects like a patchwork duvet cover. The Floppy Rabbit (p.74) pattern can also be found in the current issue of Sew Hip. I particularly like the projects that utilise the buttons, such as cushion covers and, of course, the apron.

The variety of projects means this book caters for all levels of sewing ability. Using unwanted shirts is a good way for a novice to learn as they wont have wasted any new fabric if something goes a bit wrong!

I am going to make quite a few of these projects and think this book will help get my creative juices flowing so I can come up with my own projects to re-use the shirts and other unwanted clothes I have waiting for a new lease of life. The only downside I can see with this book is that I end up adding to my shirt mountain when I find cheap shirts in charity shops!

I really like the idea of re-using the fabric from clothes for your craft projects and this book shows how good those projects can be, many of them aren’t obviously made from shirts.


One response to “Book Review: The Shirt Off His Back

  1. Pingback: Zoë: Tie Cushion « sew make believe·

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