Quilting and Stuff by Knitnoid

Shirt Yardage

As many of you know I follow Judy over at Patchwork Times.  In fact I started blogging in part to participate in the Sunday  Stash Reports and Monday Design walls.  I’m also a big Bonnie Hunter fan.

Over the past few years I’ve picked up shirts here and there, but didn’t have enough variety to do anything with them.  It’s only in the past couple of months that I decided I had enough variety to make a quilt.

At the beginning of the year I start my usage and purchase counts at zero.  I really don’t know how much fabric I have and I’m not sure I want to know.  But it’s kind of nice at the end of the year to know if I used more fabric than I purchased or vice versa.  This is why I track the yardage.

So far, when I’ve purchases shirts, I’ve only measured the resulting fabric when I deconstructed the shirt.  If at the end of the year there were 5 shirts still in shirt form, it wasn’t considered “fabric” toward my end of year stats.  On the other hand, if I then cut into the shirt the following year, it was already “stash” so I didn’t count it in the new year’s totals.

But now that I’m making a quilt, how do I count the usage?  It wasn’t counted in, so I how can I count it out?  I’m not using all of the shirt, so I can’t just say “6 shirts used in this quilt”.

I’ve decided I need a “shirt standard”.  Buy 3 shirts then immediately count the yardage based on the “shirt standard”.    My shirt standard is 1 1/2 yards based on the shirt pictured above.  It is a man’s large long-sleeved shirt.  I picked this shirt as most of the shirts I’ve purchased have been larges or even smaller if I liked the fabric.  Not all have been long-sleeved. On the other hand I did get lucky and find two 4XL shirts yesterday so it will all even out.

So how did I arrive at 1 1/2 yards?  I started by de-constructing the shirt, then I rough measured the pieces.

The yoke:

The front (times 2):

The sleeves (times 2):

Finally the back:

I ignored the “missing” fabric as I got strings out of the deal and this is only a large shirt.  So here’s the math:

  • yoke:  5 x 19 x 2 = 190
  • front: 19 x 22 1/2 x 2 = 855
  • sleeves: 11 x 26 x 2 = 572
  • back: 22 1/2 x 24 = 540
  • Total yardage in square inches = 2157.

I divided the shirt number by 1440 – the number I use for a yard (36 x 40 usable inches).  The result is 1.497 yards or 1 1/2 yards.

Maybe 10 minutes of time results in a fist full of strings, a pile of buttons, and the equivalent of 1 1/2 yards of fabric to go into one of my scrappy quilts.  (That pile on the top left is what I threw out).

I guess now I need to check my spreadsheet to figure out how many shirts I’ve bought this year so I can include it in next week’s stash report.

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