Camp Shirts

Camp Shirts

Tackling the pile of mending began last week, the week before? I”ve lost track of the project, but not sight of it. Because my sewing equipment is stored in totes that only Attila can lift, once it is taken out of the tote, out it stays until the projects are completed. With Attila going back to work on night shift, then being switched after a week or so to day shift, projects lost their momentum in the ensuing chaos in our schedule and sleep patterns. In the meantime the equipment is stored in the small living room, it is quite a clutter!

The dining table has been cleared, the leaf it set up to increase the working space, and the sewing machine it setup and ready to go. The project for the morning is a shirt I use for working in the bush. Working in the bush requires clothing that is loose fitting to allow for maximum range of motion without restriction, that covers all parts of the body to protect the skin from the sun and biting insects, and that can be stained, ripped, burned by camp fire cinders, whatever hard work in the bush takes as its toll. So, my choice was to buy a pre-worn, extra large man’s shirt, from a second hand store. The price was right. The fit, well, the fit has left a lot to be desired.

Lacking inspiration to alter the shirt for a more practical fit, it has been worn for two summers as is. Inspiration for alteration came on the Saturday visit to the Camp. For the first time in my life, I was bitten by an ant, on the back, inside the shirt. It would have gotten into the shirt through the sleeve plackets, which are large and often gape open, letting mosquitoes bite me on the forearms, which I’ve been ignoring. I carry a lot of dead wood to be burned, so the ant must have been on one of the logs I dragged out of the bush, and crawled into my shirt through the open sleeve placket. It was time to get to that alteration!

I’ve sewn the plackets closed, which is not a problem because of the very large fit. The cuffs, even when buttoned, allow my hands to pass through easily. Since the yoke was about four inches too wide for my frame, I have added two one inch pleats on each shoulder. This also shortened the sleeves, which were about six inches too long for my arms, I had been rolling them up, which is no longer needed. Camp shirts are worn for function, aesthetics are of no consequence.

Attila and I are always busy working on our bush property when we visit the Camp, and we dress accordingly. Basically, we both look like hobos when we are out there; we don’t notice, and are unconcerned if others do.

The second project was another man’s shirt, purchased at a second hand shop to be worn at the Camp. Again the yoke is far to broad. The alteration for this shirt was an experiment, instead of pleats, the yoke was gathered to reduce the breadth and shorten the sleeves.

The third project is an old shirt I wear at home when working on renovations. The material on the collar had completely worn through. I turned the collar in and stitched it down. The shirt is good to go for another decade or so.

And with completion of the third alteration, the sewing machine could be packed up and all of the equipment put away, until the next sewing project presents itself.



Date: 2:00 PM EDT Monday 15 June 2020
Condition: Mainly Sunny
Pressure: 103.1 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 21.5°C
Dew point: 5.1°C
Humidity: 34%
Wind: ESE 21 gust 32 km/h
Visibility: 24 km


“Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened.”
Sir Winston Churchill
1874 – 1965


  1. Maggie don’t forget that sunshine on your skin helps produce Vitamin D which in turns boosts your immune system which will help ward off any illnesses you may contract.
    Cover up yes but allow some time for that sun/skin contact. It’s not all bad.

  2. Cathy, that is a very good point, thank you! On this last trip to the Camp I spent some time without a hat, so at least my head and hands were in the sunshine. It is a dilemma, bare skin to soak in the suns rays, and the risk of Lyme Disease from ticks, and West Nile virus from mosquitoes, we have both of those insects in the bush, and they both love bare skin. Since we aren’t spending much time at the Camp so far, I am able to sit in the sun on the back porch at Mist Cottage, to soak up those rays.

  3. Diane, it is striking a balance, with all of the hazards out there these days. What a world! West Nile, Lyme Disease, and Covid-19 were not a concern during my youth, mosquitoes were merely annoying, I’d never seen a tick, and of course, no one expects the Pandemic. But all in all, sun bathing on the porch and covering up at the Camp seems the logical approach.

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