From a fashion show fund-raiser to the pages of Interweave Crochet, manshorts made from vintage afghans is a thing. Marcy Smith, Editor of Interweave Crochet, talked with Kathleen Macfie about how she dreamed up the crochet shorts fund-raiser.
Granny’s Got Game
You’ve seen them online—men’s pants ripped straight from the back of a 1970s couch. And maybe you’ve thought, What the . . . ?
Kathleen Macfie saw them and thought, How can I get every man I know into a pair of those pants?
She set about doing just that. When her town of Hillsborough, North Carolina, decided to start up a community radio station, WHUP FM, she brewed up a fund-raiser that raised the bar for all fund-raisers to follow: a fashion show of guys in crochet projects—board shorts and more—with the projects auctioned off afterward. And she named the fund-raiser Hooked Whup.
She gathered up crocheted afghans and fragments—scouring thrift stores, putting out a call online, and rustling through crafty friends’ swatches and UFOs (unfinished objects, of course).
She gathered up models, starting the call at her local coffee shop: “I asked a few guys who are in my regular coffee crew if they would do it and then a group that meets for coffee on Sundays if they were in . . . and it spread from there,” Kathleen said. “We asked the bartenders at a local pub, the mayor, members of a local band, some teachers from three of the local elementary schools . . . pretty soon we had a lot of guys on board.”
With models on board and crochet in hand, the crafty crew set about making bespoke garments. Together, Kathleen and her merry band of crafters made forty upcycled projects: board shorts, kilts, embellished jeans, a loincloth, and a fabulous pair of chaps.
“We tried to chart out a rough idea of how many items we needed and what range of sizes,” Kathleen said. “Mostly we just made as much as we could. Once we had an idea of the numbers and sizes, we set everybody loose to get creative. Each crafter had a slightly different flair.”
Their showstopper was a pair of chaps that helped them raise $500 in a preshow online challenge. In the show, two guys took turns strutting in the chaps.
The show itself started with the fashion parade on stage. Then the guys worked the crowd, offering clipboards for folks to jot down their silent bids.
“In the end, the fashion show was like a big community party,” Kathleen said. “We raised twice our goal the night of the event, and we’re going to raise a little more with a calendar of the fashions and the guys. Making the clothing and putting together the show was a great way to spend a summer. We’re looking forward to our radio station, WHUP FM 104.7, going on-air.”
This could be the start of a movement, people. Gather up those afghans that have slipped off the back of the couch and turn them into board shorts, kilts, pants, and more. They’re warm in winter, and they’re cool any time of year!
Manshorts in Interweave Crochet Summer 2016
When we learned that we would be shooting the summer issue in Ventura, California, Marcy knew that crochet shorts had to be a part of that scene. She contacted Kathleen, who contacted the new owners of the shorts, an exchange was made outside a coffeeshop in Hillsborough—one thing, another thing and voila! Four dudes stepped out on the beach in crochet manshorts. They are the perfect backdrop to our two crochet bathing suits: the one-piece Mango Monokini and the two-piece Coral Bikini— both perfect to wear with your manshort-attired guy friends.
Check out the Summer 2016 issue of Interweave Crochet for more pictures and fun facts from the photoshoot on the beach.
If you’re looking to make your own crochet shorts, follow these simple steps:
Find an afghan looking for a new life and give it a bath.
Find a pattern for board shorts.
These shorts are NOT close-fitting, so you may want to go up a size to accommodate the thick fabric. Cut out the fabric, finishing the edges with zigzag stitch or seam binding. Use seam binding to create a drawstring casing.
Options are many: The crochet fabric can form the whole pair of shorts or be used as trim.
If you are inspired to sew up a pair, we’d love to see pictures! Send them to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have an adventurous summer filled with crochet!