I have written about buying men's shirts for the fabric. I am still doing that, and though my resulting quilts are not yet where I want them to be, I still am intrigued by the shirt fabrics. I went out to do some "picking" today and thought I'd bring you along.
Usually I go to the Goodwill outlet store where you can buy clothing by the pound. I decided today to try another thrift shop because I am not so happy with the Goodwill organization since I learned that they pay their disabled employees far less than minimum wage, really exploiting their workers. I always thought donating to and shopping at Goodwill was a good thing and helped people with disabilities, but now I am questioning that. I found a couple of good shirts at the other thrift store, but paid much more than I would have at Goodwill.
The yellow one was a good find. It is in perfect condition and a size XL, which means it will yield a lot of usable fabric. I paid $7.50 for these two shirts.
Somewhat reluctantly I went on down the road to Goodwill. This is what they call their outlet store. Most people call it "the bins." This is where you find the donations either deemed not suitable for their regular stores, or goods that did not sell at the regular Goodwill stores. The place is a mess. Stuff is dumped willy-nilly into the big blue, rolling bins and it smells musty.
Customers, including me, dig through the piles looking for whatever they need. You never know what you will find. Today this beautifully beaded wedding gown was in the mix. It looked like it was in great condition and really quite lovely. It might have been in the bins because it could not be washed for sale in the regular Goodwill. My daughter once found a beautiful Scottish wool blazer at the bins. After it was cleaned it looked like it was brand new. She paid less than a dollar for it.
I look for men's shirts that are 100% cotton, in stripes or small plaids, and not badly worn. I am a bit squeamish, I have to admit. Today I found one that was a good stripe, but the armpits were really badly stained. I know I could have cut around the stained part, but it grossed me out and I left it behind. I often see boxer shorts in good, cotton plaids and stripes, but ewwwwww! I don't touch them! I take the shirts home and they go directly into the washing machine, set for the hottest wash temperature. Today, in addition to detergent, I added about a cup of white vinegar, which I thought might help cut through the fabric softener that I often smell on some of the shirts. They came out of the dryer looking especially nice and clean today and smelled, refreshingly, of nothing. I think the vinegar was a good idea.
Tonight, as I sit and watch TV I will start cutting up the shirts. It so reminds me of boning and fileting a fish! I save all the buttons and labels. I don't know why, but it is fun to see how many I am accumulating. I discovered there is a YouTube video that shows you how to filet a shirt. She is not as thorough as I am. I trim off all the seams and remove the pocket and sleeve plackets and open up the front seams. I have kept the bag of collars and cuffs and yokes that I cut off. I may use them eventually, but there is a lot of labor involved in harvesting very little fabric from those parts.