Shirt Tales

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

ACME men’s tee shirt, large size and printed in Australia. Elvis was rescued from landfill fate. This tee shirt is earmarked for an Elvis fanatic, who is a work colleague of RUDE Boy.

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.


12 thoughts on “Shirt Tales

  1. Well aren’t you a miss smarty-pants for having only one hamper of saved shirts! I love your collar bags. You could sacrifice the collars off of the 2-shirt skirt, and the sleeves, and have several fun makeovers from just 2 shirts, and maybe a tank top. Love your creativity, Karen!

    Liked by 1 person

    • You made me laugh greenteresa with your smarty pants comment. I try to keep my recycled clothing stashes organised and contained. It can get a bit overwhelming due to lack of storage space. I have containers and spaces for shirts, woollen garments, stretch and scrap fabric etc, and once these are full that’s it, no more can be accomodated.

      Thankyou for loving my style of creativity. It ‘s always lovely to read that type of comment, as I then know, their are like-minded souls to share the joy with me.


  2. You are so clever! How do you come up with these resourceful salvages and refashions? I NEVER would’ve thought shirt collars. BTW, I am a HUGE Elvis fan. How could anyone throw the king in the landfill? The nerve! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Restyle4Life for your glowing compliment. RUDE Boy oftentimes says that he’s amazed at what I think of doing with recycled stuff, mostly textiles because that’s my passion. Like most people I do glean creative ideas and/or inspiration from others and things around me but I always like to add my point of difference. And oftentimes I am forced to do this because I have to work with what the universe has provided. Yes, I was motified to find Elvis looking so well in a pile of dirty textiles. I hope he has now been framed and placed in a man’s cave.


  3. I have enjoyed the bag and skirt making video 12 months later. I loooove the bags and skirt. So light and pretty. I can imagine all rhe compliments you would get, especially if you wear the matching skirt and bag.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Sue for your comment. I made the skirt as a demo, and not for me. It has been well received at talks and festivals. The first dillybag is mine, and the second bag [not as deep] was made for my daughter for her birthday last year. These bags are great to take to farmers’ markets.


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