Thursday, September 10, 2015

Mama gets her groove back

So, if you read my blog at all you may remember I sew to a rota. Each family member has a turn and now it is my turn.

When Zara asked me what I was making this time 'round I answered 'Two more tunics and a couple of pairs of leggings'.
She pulled a bit of a face but I didn't take too much notice, initially.
It got me thinking though so I asked Elsa what she thought I should sew for myself.
'No more tunics, Mum, something nice'


I then asked Jed, he was more gentle but still very honest.
He didn't really like the clothes I was sewing for myself  but if I was happy, he was happy.

What to do?

While we were on holidays the Twins introduced me to Polyvore. It is so much fun, it is like shopping without having to get undressed and you can use pieces you already have!
After having a good play I was a lot more switched on to what I actually like and want to wear.

I have some really nice pieces already. Lots of very nice boots and shoes, some classic jackets and vests and two timeless leather skirts as well as some good jewellery.

It was when it came to the basic stuff I was sorely lacking.
Jeans, trousers, shirts and tees.

After much perusing of Pinterest we were really taken with the concept of core wardrobes.  The idea is that your clothes work hard and make many different outfits.
The Twins and I have emptied out all the clothes we don't wear and made lists of what we actually need to make what we have work better.
We have donated anything that just didn't fit or we just didn't wear.

It is so much fun and makes so much sense. We have been shopping twice since we started and both the girls were so much more sensible with their choices. Rather the buying stuff because it was on sale or cheap they quizzed each other whether they needed the piece and what would they wear it with.
It has also helped them plan what they would like made next.
As it did for me.

A item that kept popping up in my Polyvore sets was a denim shirt so I decided to sew that for me first.
I had long had my eye on the gorgeous ladies version of Hugo's Mister shirt
I was determined to get a good fit so I made a calico muslin of the Aime Comme Madame shirt.
Jed helped me with the fitting. I had to be patient as his big fingers fumbled with pins but he did such a good job.
I use calico for my muslins, it means I can write on it and it will take being sewn and unpicked over and over again.
I always put my seams on the outside, it just makes it easier to adjust them.
My muslin is unpicked once perfect and then becomes my pattern.

My first muslin was a straight LL (the largest size) with a cm added to the waist. This was to my measurements.
I ended up taking in that extra cm plus a few more. I shifted the darts up to better flatter my tummy and nip in under my bust.
The back darts were a bit a wide for me so I moved them in.
Moving the back darts made a huge difference. Jed suggested this alteration as he could see my back, I, obviously couldn't.

I added a bust dart and then trimmed a bit from the shoulder cap as well as removing an inch of ease from the sleeve.
It was okay but a bit firm in the boobage.

I tried again, this time I did a FBA using this method.
Swedish tracing paper is brilliant for this.
So very happy with the result.
It looks like it is pulling a bit in the photo below but I am wearing a padded feeding singlet and a cloth breast pad.
I purchased the chambray on our Melbourne trip. It has a slight sheen and a gorgeous drape.
I pulled it out of the remnant bin at Eliza's Fabric. It was the princely sum of $3.50.
I went with my usual MoP buttons but reversed them to show the shell finish, for a more casual look.
I love the two piece sleeve placket and the rounded cuff.
Deliciously feminine.
I topstitched all the darts and seams with navy thread.
A double back yoke and waist darts are delightful features.
(I will pinch just a smidgen from under the collar next time)
I cannot express how lovely it is to have a shirt that actually fits me.
It actually fits my boobs, feeding bra, breast pads and all!
Shoulders that fit!
Shaped but not tight with some ease for my 6 child waistline.
I feel proper smart.
I just feel so nice wearing it.
Smart but not too dressy.
The nitty-gritty-kitty.

I won't josh you, these patterns are not for beginners. You need some experience with sewing.
The pattern instructions are all in French however there are good diagrams. 
If you have made a shirt before you could make this.
There is no seam allowance included either (except on the sleeve placket, I think).
It is a paper pattern but the p&h was very reasonable.
The front and back darts made it a good shirt to adjust. It is such an elegant, feminine garment.
I can see myself making many more.

I already have fabric for a white linen, powder blue lawn and navy gingham version.

So, so happy!

xx N


  1. The shirt looks so good, I applaud your attention to detail!
    I have some blue chambray tucked away for an Archer shirt but am hanging on until I have lost a bit more weight (1 stone lighter so far!!)

    Polyvore is addictive, watch out!

  2. Thank you Katy. It was hard taking criticism from your daughters but it turned out to be a lot of fun.
    Make the Archer, don't wait for the weight loss, make another when you do!
    xx N

  3. You look fantastic! I was nodding all through this post (though not about your previous makes! I really like your tunics!), as I recently went through my closet and cut hard, including giving away many me-made items, in hopes of having a wardrobe that actually fits and looks good on me and makes me feel good about myself. I had gotten to the point where I had so many different sizes in there, I couldn't find anything I liked! Now that I have less, it feels like more! And classics like this denim shirt never go out of style and will, as you put it, work HARD in your wardrobe. Well done, Nicole! You're a beautiful and stylish woman.

  4. I loved my tunics too Inder and they have been posted off to a new home where I hope they will be worn gardening and relaxing.
    The Twins were right though, they really were not my style and didn't really suit my life style.
    I am a shirts and jeans girl so I need to find a pattern that works.

    My wardrobe is practically empty but I get dressed quicker and I feel smarter.
    Thank you for your thoughtful comment.

    xx N

  5. It's great! And thanks for sharing your sewing process, it's great to see how others go about their sewing.

  6. Thank you Kate.
    I am still learning and I get a lot of help from blogs, it only seems fair to share back.
    Just in case it is useful.
    xx N

  7. that chambray looks so lovely. I picked up some nice tencel on sale from spotlight this week, but it doesn't have the nice dark colour of this!

  8. Tencel, of course, you have hit the nail on the head. I suspect this has Tencel in it as it falls so nicely but takes a hot iron.
    The dark colour is nice, grown up.
    Thank you Colette.
    xx N

  9. Lovely work - I imagine having teenage daughters would certainly keep you on your toes regarding fashion and wardrobe! You look fabulous and I'm so glad you've taken the time to make yourself some things that make you feel good. (Can't wait for the jeans post!) I bet you wear this to absolute pieces.

  10. Thank you Jane. I am so pleased with this shirt, a lot of work but now it is done I am good to go.
    You learn to have thick skin very quickly Jane but they mean well. The Twins meant well and I do think they were right.
    Only problem is, I have to hold my tummy in when I am wearing jeans ;)

    xx N

  11. It's easy to see why we might sew a dozen different tunics when they're so easy. But this one, well fitted shirt will serve you so much better. Well done on taking the time to get it right and you could have spent 50 times what you did for no better a result!

  12. Exactly Shelley, I figured I can cut and sew two tunics in the time takes me to make a shirt muslin but I am glad I did it. This shirt is the first thing I haven't felt fat in for a long time.
    Thank you for your lovely compliment.
    xx N

  13. The shirt is lovely and the fit looks just perfect. It is so satisfying to make clothes that actually fit well. I always enjoy reading your posts and reading about what you've sewn! I have been going through my closet recently trying to take out anything I don't wear or doesn't fit anymore. I still had a lot of clothes from my teen years and just aren't my style anymore. I don't have anyone in my family to give me fashion advice though! It makes it hard when going through my wardrobe because I'm the worst at letting go of my handmade items!

  14. Thank you Elizabeth.
    I was really confused about my style. Like you, I had a lot of clothes I was hanging onto, mainly as they were quite expensive. I find it quite easy to give away my hand made stuff as I have a group of friends that take it.
    As for fashion advice, it was a case of thumbs up and thumbs down from the Twins. I didn't agree with all of it but they got it pretty close.
    The only problem is now I just want to sew for me!
    xx N

  15. I loved the shirt before but I love it even more after reading the full story! As the seasons are changing perhaps it's the moment to follow your lead and look at Polyvore...

    1. Thank you Catherine.
      I love it and have worn it so often. It is so much easier to have less to pick from but somehow, after finding this pattern and getting it to fit, I won't have 'less' shirts for long.
      xx N

  16. The shirt looks so great on you and your sewing is always superb! Finding your style during-after children is really tricky I think and I know it is something I struggle with as well... I don't have a teenage daughter yet though (not sure how I'd cope with that!!)
    So did your portfolio tunics get sent away as well? Cause I'd just like to throw my vote into the ring that that you keep those! :D xx

    1. Thank you Virginia. I had fallen into a bit of a slump and just felt frumpy and unfashionable. I was a bit shocked at the girls comments but I am so glad they were honest. I wore my new shirt to a PT interview last night and got so many compliments and comments on my weight loss (I haven't lost any). I think I just saw my big boobs and sized myself up to them.

      I did keep my Portfolio's, I have a soft spot for those.
      xx N

  17. Oh I love this!
    And I had never heard of this company. I must have the


    1. Thank you Sara, it is a stunning shirt pattern, enjoy!
      xx N

  18. The top looks great on you, Nicole!

  19. That is such a cool website! I could get lost perusing it for hours ;-) I love your shirt, it is so flattering on you. What a great way to build a wardrobe!

  20. It is so cool Kristin. Tilly and Liddy love it too. They make up interiors and party outfits.
    Thank you!
    xx N

  21. It looks lovely on you, Nicole! Though I like your tunics too :)

    1. I am have worn my speckley voile Portfolio's for the last two days Masha.
      Thank you
      xx N

  22. Next time you should use your speckle voile for facings/cuff insided. That would add a nice touch. I am glad the girls talked you into something outside your usual comfort zone. :)

    I have a similar short pattern in my box, you might have inspired me to pull it out!

  23. Thank you Jessica, I took your advice and used it for the yoke on my current sewing project.
    Make a muslin, it is so worth it.
    xx N