Shirt Tales

ACME men's tee shirt, large size and printed in Australia.  Elvis was rescued from landfill fate.

I see no reason to have my shirts ironed. It’s irrational.

Barry Commoner

I have a stash of men’s cotton shirts, and I hack them up when the mood takes me.  

Karen Ellis [RUDE Girl] / Textile Hacker


RUDE Girl’s recycled men’s cotton shirt stash. This long cane laundry basket is full of shirts.

RUDE Girl has been rescuing men’s cotton and linen shirts from landfill fate for a couple of years.  All shirts are soaked, washed and line dried.  And then these are stashed in the cane basket [also saved from landfill fate].  Once this basket is full, I know it is time to re-create.  No more shirts are rescued from anywhere, if this basket is full to the brim.  That’s how I keep my studio textile piles manageable.

Shirt collar bags can be expensive to make, especially if you are purchasing secondhand shirts from charity stores.  My very first bag took 14 shirt collars!! 


RUDE Girl’s first attempt at a shirt collar dillybag.

The more pricey charity stores, sell shirts from $5 to $8 sometimes more, depending on the size and quality.  Therefore if you are keen to make a bag like this, check out other ways and means of scrounging for free and/or cheaper priced shirts. 

Photo below:  Another RUDE shirt collar bag took eight shirt collars to make it.


RUDE Girl creates dillybags made out of shirt collars.

Not all shirt collars are the same size which can result in construction issues when making this type of bag.  And I strongly advise that you will need a semi-industrial sewing machine with a size 16 needle, to get through the thicknesses, as you attempt to join the collars together.

Check out some of RUDE Girl’s shirt collar dillybags in this video here.

Beat The Man by making your own ready lined fabric for projects, using shirt collars and cuffs.

Crayon Breaker


RUDE Girl is also a crayon melter

Practice the dismemberment of the expected ~ Philippe Petit / artist and author

Artists are just children who refuse to put down their crayons.  Al Hirschfeld


Rude Record was approached a couple of weeks ago by a magazine to do a ‘how to make a……… ‘ with photos. RUDE was flattered but had to politely decline because it’s not our thing for numerous reasons as follows:

Firstly  why reinvent the wheel?  There are so many talented people who shine in this area.  We are happy to leave it to them.  We will even shout out about them when relevant.

Secondly, we are retired, and making step by step instructions would feel like such a chore.  It’s so much more fun creating first take and unscripted videos.  We do not plan anything.  It’s all spur of the moment, and we love it that way.

Thirdly, there is no step by step to anything we do.  A lot of what we create is trial and error.  We love to make mistakes and then fix them.  This type of creative process shuns step by step written instructions.

Fourthly, we do not want to get sued.  Some of the stuff that RUDE Boy tinkers with, is best left to the experts and qualified tradespeople.

We like to share broadly about what we do, and leave the rest to you, our followers, to spin your own interpretation on it.  It’s all about inspiration for us, not prescriptive rules and steps.  We hope to inspire people to think outside the box.  And also to share the many benefits that we have found, and are still finding, to this approach to life.

HOWEVER, never say never to ever doing a How to Video.  Want to know how to wax seal an envelope closed with a crayon?  Here’s RUDE Girl’s how to instructions in the video below.  I love breaking my own rules, yey!

Beat The Man by improvising, and use things for what they were NOT intended for!

RUDE Reading

I do fear for the generations of people who came of age thinking that pop-punk is what punk is, and that all the rebellion you need is just to stick your tongue out in the mirror every once in a while.

Jello Biafra


“A creative artist is rebellious by nature” Philippe Petit. This book is about somebody who refused to abide by the rules.

RUDE has requested the above book from the library.  It cannot arrive quick enough.  Asking permission is definitely not part of RUDE’S creative process.  Whilst we always endeavour to be polite and considerate, we refuse to succumb to re-creating in a traditional environment.  Below, is the above book’s abstract, if you are interested.

“In the vein of The Creative Habit and The Artist’s Way, a new manifesto on the creative process from a master of the impossible. Since well before his epic 1974 walk between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, Philippe Petit had become an artist who answered first and foremost to the demands of his craft-not only on the high wire, but also as a magician, street juggler, visual artist, builder, and writer. A born rebel like many creative people, he was from an early age a voracious learner who taught himself, cultivating the attitudes, resources, and techniques to tackle even seemingly impossible feats. His outlaw sensibility spawned a unique approach to the creative process-an approach he shares, with characteristic enthusiasm, irreverence, and originality in Creativity: The Perfect Crime. Making the reader his accomplice, Petit reveals new and unconventional ways of going about the artistic endeavor, from generating and shaping ideas to practicing and problem-solving to pulling off the “coup” itself-executing a finished work. The strategies and insights he shares will resonate with performers of every stripe (actors, musicians, dancers) and practitioners of the non-performing arts (painters, writers, sculptors), and also with ordinary mortals in search of fresh ways of tackling the challenges and possibilities of everyday existence”–

 And if you want to find out more about Philippe and his book take a listen to a radio interview here

The RUDE Rebel Factor, what is it?  What sets us apart creatively?  What’s our point of difference?  Why does it matter?  Are we that different to other rebellious creatives?  And on and on, these questions, and many more like them, get discussed most days in the RUDE residence.

One thing for sure, is that we are not creatively inclined to walk a tightrope between two high buildings.  But we do agree that we walk an imaginary tightrope strung across societal boundaries.  Boundaries that are governed by what’s acceptable, what’s not and what is tolerated.

Not everyone can handle stepping out of the ordinary, nor do they have the courage to do so.  RUDE is not concerned by societal expectations, especially around consumerism.  We want to step out of the mainstream because that very action fuels our creativity.  That’s where we come into our own, and get into our creative flow.

Shopping at landfill and not the mall is making a huge political and economic statement.  Re-creating with resources gleaned at landfill, like a fabric quilt, is a totally rebellious notion in traditional quilting circles.  Many traditional quilters today, may have used recycled fabric for quilts, but from landfill, RUDE bets not!!

RUDE girl has also been thinking about the blogs that we read to inspire us.  And the few we follow, all have one thing in common.  They are a bit naughty, some openly and some not so much, You can read the spunk between the lines, without the blog’s writer necessarily being exposed as rebel rousing.  And you know what’s the icing on the cake?  They have featured us and our Scavenger Style on their blogs.

Two awesome blogs that immediately come to mind are, Green Issues by Agy, a self-confessed fabric hacker and Confessions of a Refashionista, a quirky Berlin blogger and creator of awesome video content.


This cushion is made from recycled men’s shirts and African inspired printed fabric. It has been donated for sale by RUDE to the Kontiki Cultural Women’s Empowerment Group.


Back view of the same donated cushion, using the front of a men’s shirt.

Beat The Man and don’t ask permission to re-create.  Just do it!!  Oh, and let RUDE know if you read Creativity The Perfect Crime.

Dilly ‘Bag Lady’


Traditional aboriginal dillybags

Take, if you must, this little bag of dreams, Unloose the cord, and they will wrap you round.

William Butler Yeats

I am a gypsy. I havent’ had a home for a long time. Call me a homeless person – I just throw everything in a bag and I’m good to go.

Taylor Kinney


My first ever Denim Dillybag that sold the very moment it was displayed. Made from jeans donated by Patrick from Melton Sustainable Living Group.

Sometime ago, RUDE Girl attended a local festival to showcase refashioning.  I had made a few items to sell.  And what sold first up, as I was putting it out for display, was a denim dillybag that I had made from recycled jeans.  The lovely lady jumped on it because it was unique and cheaply priced.  I knew at that moment that I had under priced the bag.  What I did determine however,  was that if I ever wanted to sell this style of bag again, I could definitely charge double the price.

I was really pleased this lovely lady was happy and that she was walking around the festival with it strapped across her body [photo above]

I think I first came across the word dillybag when my mother made a version of one for me.  It was a little drawstring bag.  It was to hold my handkerchief and maybe a lipstick.  I was going out to an evening gathering at a school friend’s place.  Unfortunately, I was totally overdressed in a homemade long evening dress, matching dillybag and long velvet cape with a hood!  I was very embarrassed, as it was a very casual family get together. 

As a result of this experience you can probably understand why I am no longer a overdresser, preferring the far left of the fashion style spectrum.  It’s scavenger style all the way for me these days.  However, I can come across as under dressed these days.  That’s fine by me.

Therefore as a result of this scarring teenage experience, I have never forgotten about dillybags because I felt like such a dill.  I did learn never again to trust my mother and her friend’s fashion sense.

I have recently made two more dillybags.  I made them for a couple of lovely Facebook friends on my closed [not accepting more members at the current time] group Bowerbirds Journal.


Julianne’s Dillybag made from a pair of recycled size 5 toddler’s jeans. Lined with recycled retro fabric from a house coat rescued from landfill. Recycled strap and hand crocheted hearts.


Maretta’s Dillybag made from recycled men’s jeans donated by Patrick from Melton Sustainable Living Group. Lined with a vintage linen tea towel printed with the Australian flag. Hand crocheted flowers and recycled strap from a vintage skirt. Fringing from roman blinds dumped at landfill.

This video was created for Maretta as a gift to accompany her denim dillybag.

Beat The Man, and like Patrick, from the local sustainable living group, donate your jeans within your own community.  Give to local artisans and make your donations more visually meaningful.

Scrap Woollen Quilt


RUDE Girl was not well for a couple of days this week.  And when you do on-line volunteering you are snowed under when you get back to the computer.  That’s my excuse for this Friday’s late blog post.

A follower of Rude Record’s blog posted a lovely article this week from Linda Holliday in Missouri.  Linda writes poignantly about her mother’s quilting with scrap fabric and old clothes.  I related very much when Linda highlighted that she had made a quilt from new polyester fabric but somehow it did not quite have the homely feel and character as her mother’s quilts.  It’s a reason that I too left behind sewing with new fabric in the late 1980s.

You can read Linda’s article here.

Reading her beautiful story took me back to the middle of last year 2014, when I started planning a quilt for my daughter Rebecca and her partner Danny.  Of course, it goes without saying that recycled fabric was going to be used.  My choice of fabric was wool for warmth because this throw rug was going to be taken to winter football games.

However, the recycled wool fabric had to be sourced as it was discovered.  This took a couple of months but it was well worth the search.  It makes for an interesting story as presented in the video below.  This video is a shortened version that was made to accompany the gift.  I have made it especially for this blog post.

You can also read more about the making of this quilt in a previous blog post at this link below.

Beat The Man and use up your scraps, be it food or fabric!

RUDE Repairs

RUDE has been travelling around this last week and we are still on the road.  This week’s blog post will be short and sweet.

Before we left home, we tried some Selley’s Shoe Glue which came highly recommended from a Byron Bay Shoemaker.  We have glued the bits needing to be repaired.  As yet RUDE Girl has not had a chance to test the repair on these boots which were scored from a neighbour’s GARAGE SALE for $4 total.  Check out the video below.

RUDE girl will mend anything, even old undies, with a bit of life left in them.  The $22 for these Bonds trunks is a bit over the top, so we try to buy up big when they are on special for half price.  These are worth framing at $22 but for $10 they are definitely worth mending.  Check out the video below.

On our travels this week, RUDE girl scored a little round vintage sewing basket.


Vintage Sewing Basket circa 1970s

I have seen these in Vinnies and The Salvos charity stores for $6 to $8, and not in as good as condition.  This little cutie cost $1 but it required a quick fix repair job, as explained in the video below:
RUDE boy has worn a large hole through another pair of his vintage red tab Levi’s.  You may have read that US Levi stores and outlets are giving 20 per cent off vouchers for old jeans.  You can read more here.  If this incentive was in Australia, there is no way the Levi company would be getting RUDE Boy’s vintage jeans.  They are priceless and cannot be bought back.


RUDE Boy’s priceless vintage red tab Levi denim jeans ready for sashiko mending.

I have unpicked the seams, so that when I return home next week, I can start to sashiko mend a third pair of RUDE boy’s jeans.  Check out the video below.

Beat The Man and repair!  It’s fun and very rewarding.

A Few Favourite Things

The best things in life are unexpected – because there were no expectations.

Eli Khamarov


A favourite children’s book rescued from landfill. Was originally a library book.

This Friday’s blog post is going to arrive late, and a bit wanting.  It is 7.30 pm in Melbourne, Australia and RUDE has been unexpectedly distracted.  And like the quote above when there are no expectations wonderful things do happen.

Firstly before we share what we have been doing, I want to let you know that in last week’s blog post I was not really crying at the funeral of our old oven.  It was staged for the first owners of the house.  They had built the house, and were very kind to us when we bought it off them.  We send them details of what is happening to their old home once or twice a year.

Anyway back to what unexpectedly distracted us this afternoon.  RUDE went down to our recycling facilities Tip Shop.  We go about once a week these days.  The place is overrun with market traders and on-line sellers who are ruthless.  We are only interested in things for our personal use.  We prefer to scavenge around when it is quiet, and today it was because it has been very cold in Melbourne.

We had a great score today with six contemporary style dining room chairs in very good condition.  I also managed to pick up a big bag of garments for refashion.  We scored a working toaster, a brand new kettle, a 1976 sewing book by Woman’s Day, a small bedside chest of drawers and some other bits and bobs.

Of course when we got all these things home there was work involved.  Clothes have to be soaked overnight.  The chairs had to be vacuumed and wiped down.  And the bedside table had to be cleaned and positioned for immediate service.

It was then dinner time and my blog post had not been given any thought, other than I must write it.  This week we will share just a few things that we have scored for next to nothing but have used over and over again.  It’s a good example of what people throw away.  And what other people, like us, make very good use of. 


A compressor rescued from landfill. It was working but had a broken air gauge. RUDE boy repaired it and the gauge is working now.


Water pressure unit for all sorts of cleaning jobs around the house. Rescued from landfill. It did not work. RUDE Boy replaced the power lead and it works now, yey!


RUDE’S three favourite knives.

The knives come from various places.  The top knife is amazingly sharp and was made in Portugal.  it’s great for cutting and slicing meat.  It cost $1.00 at a little charity shop in rural Victoria.

The middle knife is serrated and is great for slicing tomatoes.  It cost $0.00 and was found in the rubbish bin at the Tip Shop.

The bottom knife is a gem, and we have never been able to find this brand of knife in the shops or online from memory.  It is made in Italy, and is an all-purpose knife that cuts a treat.  It probably cost 50 cents in a charity shop many years ago.  It has never needed to be sharpened.

There was absolutely every expectation these knives were blunt when they were taken home by us.  All three have exceeded expectation, and have bought such joy to the task of food preparation. 

I will be showing in a future blog post our new chairs but I will share the very dirty toaster we bought it for $1.00.  We only ever pay that much for this type of electrical item as again we expect it not to be working.


Very dirty Ronson brand crumpets and bread toaster. RUDE Boy has it on the sink for testing and cleaning.


Orange handbag bag with chocolate-brown handles. Brand unknown. Not leather but loved the colour and shape.

Beat The Man by not expecting too much.  Anything over and above can turn out to be the best thing!