Generally, my style philosophy is “go big or go home.” I designed this fabric with that philosophy in mind but it has sat on my shelf for a few years as I never quite seem to figure out how to pair it with a pattern that does it justice. I had thought of a fitted shirtdress when I designed it but it turned out a little too large scale. And then, while digging through my men’s pattern collection while looking for something else entirely, I found McCall’s 9628 by Willi Smith for WilliWear from 1985. And a lightbulb went off.
I find androgyny really sexy on other people, but it’s not a style that I’m very comfortable in myself, despite (or perhaps because of) having a body type that suits androgyny. I tried to style this shirt femme. I tried it with a little skirt. I tried it with a big belt. I tried it tied up. I tried it suggestively unbuttoned. It didn’t work. It needed to be androgynous. I wasn’t so sure I was going to enjoy wearing this shirt when I first finished sewing it. And with each attempt to make it femme it just kinda fell flat for me. But as soon as I ran with the androgyny, I felt it. I love this shirt in an androgynous outfit. I love how I feel in it. I love how I look in it.
Despite having my daughter over 2 years ago, I’m still trying to navigate and embrace my postpartum body. My body has hung onto curves that I never had before pregnancy – despite being the same weight as before pregnancy, I’m up a half cup size and have a little belly on a once flat stomach. But I think the fact that I have a softer more “feminine” body now makes me more comfortable exploring a less feminine presentation.
Yeah, yeah, enough blabbering, Erin, tell us about the fabric – right? I designed the fabric based on the David Bowie’s Aladdin Sane makeup (sometimes mistakenly called his Ziggy Stardust makeup but that was a gold circle on his forehead). It was printed for me by My Fabric Designs and you can print your own! I printed it on their premium cotton which works well for this kind of shirt – a bit crisp, close to opaque. The print is visible through a layer of fabric so I did put a layer of white muslin between layers of fabric in the pocket facing.
The only change I made to the pattern was to add tabbed sleeves. A little change that updated the shirt enough to make its oversized shape look intentional instead of just too big (it isn’t 1985 any more, after all). It was a fun excuse to add a pretty button on each tab to match the top button on the shirt.
The shirt has a hidden button placket which I have, surprisingly enough, never sewn before. I used a white cotton broadcloth for the placket because, as I mentioned before, the print is visible through a single layer of fabric and I wanted it to look as crisp as possible. The hidden buttons are a plain off-white pulled from my stash. I wanted to use red since it was more fun but they could be seen through the fabric so I went back to boring. (Don’t adjust your monitors, this photo is out of focus. How I took a dozen placket photos without a single on being in focus is beyond me!)
A little wrinkly, but I did wear the shirt for two days in a row before taking pictures, so I’m just being honest :) So, what do you think? A good use of giant lightning bolts? Is it anything you would ever wear? Do you think it suits me?