This sweet little Mr. Fox was made exclusively using men's dress shirts.  A fun way to get amazing high quality fabric!

Shirts are Fabric Too!

My husband and I go out for a Saturday lunch once a month with a wonderful couple who have been our best friends for over 25 years. We adore this couple! One thing about the husband is that he always smells amazing, and he wears the nicest dress shirts! One day while on our double date I noticed his shirt and how especially well made it was made. I had recently watched a video where a quilter was discussing how we can transform men's dress shirts into fabric and use them in quilting. (How To Start Quilting With Men's Dress Shirts ( I told him about the YouTube video I watched and then asked him if he ever donated any of his dress shirts. He said that he actually had quite a few set aside that he was going to be taking to a charity shop in our area and he offered them to me for free! When he gave them to me, I was amazed at how very well made they were! I decided straight away that I would make a "Mr." Fox out of his shirts. What you see here in this picture of my Mr. Fox reflects some of the shirts that he gave me. The shirt of the fox is made from a lovely traditional men's plaid shirt. The cute little overalls are made from a tiny stripe and the bow tie is a traditional gingham check. I loved making this doll. It was actually a commission for a newborn baby boy. My oldest daughter took it to a baby shower in the little babe's honor as a gift for him. I still have the thank you card from the happy momma. 

Let's talk about why men's dress shirts are so much fun to work with when making a doll with my patterns. Of course, not all men's shirts are created with high quality fabrics, but many are!  I have found that men who wear higher quality shirts often take them to charity shops because they are purchasing additional shirts and that there is still a lot of life left in their shirts. The quality of the fabric in these shirts is excellent. Also, I have found it somewhat hard (not impossible) to find fabric in midrange fabric stores that carry what I would call "masculine" fabric prints. I often like to make doll twins where I have a boy and a girl. It is sometimes hard to find fabric that looks like a little boy or a daddy. These men's shirts offer amazing prints that are very suitable for dolls. For example, have you seen men's dress shirts that will have tiny little sail boats all over them? From afar those boats might even look like dots, but up close they are boats. Or have you seen men's shirts that will have golf clubs all over them? These printed shirts on a full-size man are quite subtle because of the color and the size of the prints, but on a doll, they become adorably bold and perfect! While there is only about a yard-ish of fabric per shirt,  (depending on the size of the shirt) this is not an issue with doll making because my dolls don't require a lot of yardage. My dolls are actually quite large, measuring anywhere from 24 inches tall to 15 inches tall. Depending on the animal you are sewing they require less than a half of yard of fabric in total. Another wonderful thing about using men's dress shirts in making dolls is that there are sometimes features on the actual shirt that can be saved and used on the doll. I have used buttons, pockets, and even the front plaquette of the shirt. Denim shirts make excellent farmer overalls, striped shirts look great on carnival monkeys, ginghams make adorable bows and baby doll skirts, solids are great for all areas of my dolls including faces, arms, and legs! One of the shirts I was given was a light lavender and it was a linen weave look. I used it for a purple cat that I made for someone. It was well....... purrefect (sorry could not resist). 

Besides men's dress shirts I have also been drawn to the little boy's clothing areas in thrift stores. Little boys and male youth dress shirts are a wonderful place to get some fabric yardage that is very fun and perfect in making little boy dolls! The variety in the woven patterns is amazing. There is inarguably not a lot of fabric in these shirts but once again, my dolls don't need a ton of yardage. 

Men's dress shirts and boy dress shirts offer a wide variety of colors, patterns, fabric textures and buttons. They can also save you a lot of money if you find them in the right places. Garage sales are the cheapest when purchasing them. Thrift shoppes and charity shoppes are not always inexpensive anymore sadly but sometimes the charity shops have sales and that is an excellent time to jump and grab some shirts! 

I make sure to always wash my shirts prior to sewing with them and I use stain remover if I find any unsightly stains especially around the arm pit areas.  The Catbird Quilt channel on YouTube is an excellent place to look and learn about all the intricacies of purchasing men's dress shirts to be used in sewing and quilting! TheCatBird Quilts - YouTube Please support her, as she is amazing, and her information is invaluable. 

I hope this helps you in thinking a little bit out of the box about fabric in making one of my dolls! Doll making is so much fun and a tiny bit addictive. Adding the idea of using men's dress shirts for more interest in the look of your doll is yet another way to fall in love with doll making! 

Happy Doll Making! 








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