Ralph Pink Sahara shirt by Sewing Tidbits

What is going on with all the big shirts?

Dear readers,

From the reactions to my last post, I gather that you are still around and ready to engage and that’s pretty good news! So first I would like to thank all the commenters, I think there was a great conversations going on!

One of the reasons for my lack of posting is the fact that I sewed several items I ended up disliking. In my opinion, that’s the most discouraging thing that can happen to a seamstress. You have an idea, get excited, find the fabric, the pattern, spend hours making it, try it on and….. Meh. How anti climatic is that? It doesn’t help that once I reach  construction stage, I don’t like to interrupt myself.I finish all the seams and stop to try on items only just before hemming/adding closures. I usually can get away with it because I know what shapes work on me and I spend time adjusting patterns before cutting fabric. Except these days, I have no idea of how to fit myself because….

Squareshirt SewingTidbits-1
I’m growing a little human!! That’s another reason the blog hiatus, I really really didn’t feel like being in front of a camera and all my clothes feel weird.

I used to wear fairly fitted clothes, most of the time in the smallest size available, with a defined waist. Obviously all that is gone already and I’m not sure of what’s left… I don’t really feel like wearing a lot of those tight jersey dresses that seem to be screaming “LOOK AT MY BELLY” but I’m also not use to see myself hidden in voluminous shapes. Tricky time! So I thought about big shirts:

After seeing the version made by Paprika Patterns, I decided to try Ralph Pink’s Sahara Shirt pattern. I’ve been tempted several times by his patterns, on the basis that they look “different” from most other Indies, but the sizing seemed too big for me and I struggled finding a pattern I really liked. It probably doesn’t help that not a lot of other bloggers have made his garments (with notable exception by Inna and Oona) so I wasn’t sure what to expect.

I printed the pattern, found suitable cotton-silk in the stash (same as a Vogue 1247 skirt sewn in 2014), cut the smallest size (US 0), sewed and sewed and sewed. It’s a relatively quick make, without many seams (although I used french seams everywhere), and they matched well enough. I would recommend checking the length of the front button plackets (I think they were too long) and the side seams but there was nothing truly catastrophic… Until I tried on the shirt. I could not picture myself going around the city is what looked like A GIGANTIC TENT!!

I put it away my sewing friend from the Pattern Line came over and convinced me that all it needed was taking in the sides a little. By a little, I mean 3″ on each side seams… The total reduction is 12″ (!!) tapered to nothing at the underarm. I also removed some of the extra length at the back to soften the curved hem effect. But you know what? Now, I actually really like it!

 As you can see, I didn’t lie when I previously said that blog posts would have less pretty pictures… Next time I will tell you about my iteration in white poplin (in the first picture).

In the mean time, I would love to hear your thoughts on those pattern companies that seem less popular among sewing bloggers, does it stop you from trying them out?



25 thoughts on “What is going on with all the big shirts?

  1. Beth (SunnyGal Studio)

    that is very exciting news, congratulations! and your shirt/dress looks great. especially with taking it in at the side, I agree that was needed. you should repeat this pattern – maybe in lightweight denim.

  2. Kathy

    Glad you’re back! I’ve always enjoyed your perspective on sewing.

    I’m short as well and totally relate to the picture of that giant shirt.😄. Some of my alterations have included taking out several inches out of both length and width on some “unisex” patterns.

    Congratulations on the the little bundle.

  3. barbara

    i’m also vertically challenged. it’s amazing how many pattern companies show their designs on 6′ tall women. who are they? where are they?

    if you look at the photo of the dress on the model, you’ll see that it is huge. she’s belting it to give it a shape but she could still hide quads and their father under the dress and no one would be the wiser. (don’t do that – it would be dangerous to your health and his 🙂 and still be too big. your solution is the only one that makes any sense.

    congrats on your bundle of happiness.

    • Sewing Tidbits

      Thanks Barbra! I totally agree that drafting for 6 feet when your product is sewing patterns for home sewers is not the most logical approach. It would make more sense to make a specific sample for the photoshoot if you want to use traditional models…

  4. thewallinnat

    How exciting! Congratulations!

    I do love trying new pattern designers out only when they have something unique to offer. If I have similar patterns in my pattern library, then I will more likely not give a new pattern company a try.

  5. crab and bee

    Congratulations! All it took was growing a human to come over to the dark side of voluminous tunics 🙂 I like the finished shirt you ended up with (after taking out a mere 12″ of ease, ha!)

    I’m hesitant to try new pattern companies in general. If the patterns are simple, most likely a stashed pattern I’ve already fit would be better. If the patterns are interesting and complicated, I worry that the shoulder fit changes I’ll need to make would be prohibitive. I often tell myself that I’ll draft or alter a pattern myself for more complicated designs, but I never seem to get there. A complete Catch-22!

    • Sewing Tidbits

      Thank you Morgan!! Those little humans have an interesting way of turning your life upside down even before ever seeing the sunlight!

      All the things we would draft, drape, sew, make and do if only there was no day job. I feel lazier and lazier about drafting from scratch but every time I don’t start from a Burda pattern (or another brand that I fitted already) I regret it…

  6. Clio

    Oh congrats!!! I’ve also sewn Ralph Pink and found that his Hareem Pants were one of my favorites before, during and after pregnancy. I did wear a lot of knit ruched dresses, but some of my favorites that were more voluminous included Vogue V8977 lengthened to both a tunic and a dress and V1179 (DKNY), and also Simplicity 2603 in two variations because having a wrap to throw on over whatever outfit is handy. I sewed a lot of Megan Neilsen’s patterns since it is slim pickings when it comes to maternity. I’ve always thought that the Named Patterns Kielo Wrap Dress would be great for maternity (not out when I was expecting). I’ve never really let the popularity of an indie brand determine whether I give it a try. Normally I am picky about style so there aren’t that many that appeal to me.

    If you are interested in more maternity adaptable or appropriate indie patterns, you might like this post on DIY maternity….

    • Sewing Tidbits

      Thank you so much Clio! Your pattern recommendations are great!! It’s funny that you mention the Kielo wrap as I keep thinking about it too! The link you included is super useful too, I even found a free pattern I didn’t know about!

  7. Splinters&Stitches

    Congrats on the new baby!

    Also, maternity clothes are kind of the worst. Especially pants, but even shirts are a pain. I do like how this came out, and there should be room to grow, just be aware that you’ll want to leave plenty of room in the later months–your little ninja might decide to kick out a few buttons during somersault practice if you don’t! 😉

  8. Fabric Tragic

    My word you could have been a human kite in the original version! Nice save and congratulations! I don’t mind trying new companies but I’m more interested in what the background is of the designer. If they’ve design or drafting training then I’m more likely to give them a try as opposed to being ‘self taught’…..

    • Sewing Tidbits

      Thanks Sarah! The comparison with a human kite is hilarious and terribly accurate. I value professional training also when trying out Indies, however I’ve been disappointed before even by “pros”…

  9. Sandra

    Hihi je m’en doutais… Félicitations 🙂
    C’est normal que tu aies un peu de mal à te reconnaître, c’est un changement physique assez brutal, mais rassure-toi, ça ne dure pas si longtemps.
    Ton option grandes chemises est une bonne idée, bien accessoirisées ou ceinturées aux hanches, ça peut être très sympa ! Megan Nielsen a fait pas mal de trucs de grossesse en jersey, l’avantage c’est que c’est rapide à coudre.
    Profite bien de ces moments et prends soin de toi !

    • Sewing Tidbits

      Haha, je croyais que j’avais été hyper discrète et bah c’est raté!!! Merci beaucoup!! J’ai regardé les patrons de Megan Nielsen mais a part un ou deux j’ai pas vraiment eu de coup de coeur…

  10. 24

    Félicitations ! Il est vrai que la grossesse perturbe un peu (ou beaucoup !) le rapport au corps et à l’habillement, ainsi d’ailleurs que les envies et les priorités !
    L’ampleur de la chemise est impressionnante et ton rattrapage réussi 🙂 Avec le recul, mon patron préféré pour la grossesse a été le haut Jalie 2788, confortable, valorisant et utilisable en dehors des grossesses. Je portais peu de vêtements amples (notamment les robes taille empire que j’avais imaginé pouvoir utiliser pendant cette période), avec l’ampleur de mon ventre cela me donnait très tôt l’air d’être à terme 🙂
    Pour les marques moins populaires, je ne crois pas que cela me freine, mais c’est sûr que ça limite les possibilités de se faire une idée préalable du vêtement. Ralph Pink me tente beaucoup, pour certains modèles et pour les corsets. J’aime leur nouvelle présentation des patrons et une de leurs robes est prévue pour cet été.

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