Program looks at re-purposing shirts

What do you do with 18 shirts with missing backs? “Repurpose them into something beautiful and functional, of course,” says designer and sewist Michelle Devine of Grinnell.

Devine faced this challenge when some of her relatives had purchased shirts from Goodwill, using the backs for quilts.

“Being the waste-not person that I am, I started figuring out all of the things I could make from the shirt remnants,” explains Devine.

See how this self-described “dumpster diva” repurposed the 18 shirts, along with other recycling ideas at the next meeting of the Central Iowa Chapter of the American Sewing Guild. Ms. Devine has a rich background in the fashion industry beginning with making her own clothes at age 10, sewing clothing for neighbors at age 13, and making patterns at age 15. She attending the University of Northern Iowa with an art focus, then transferred to Bassist Fashion Institute in Portland, Oregon. She has sold garments to Bloomingdales and Henri Bendel in New York, and now enjoys the challenge of fashioning unique, functional clothing out of random materials. Her goal is to inspire others to challenge themselves and go beyond their comfort zones.

In addition, Pam Travis will do a brief presentation about Wedding Dresses for Africa, a project that provides materials and used wedding dresses for women to have memorable dresses for their weddings.

This event will be held on Saturday at 9 a.m. at the Nord-Kalsem Community Center, 204 W. Fifth Street, Huxley, IA 50124.

There will also be a “free table” including fabrics and patterns. Refreshments will be served. Cost is $2 at the door, and it is open to the public. Go to for more information.