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Aladdin Sane Shirt

Aladdin Sane vintage WilliWear shirt by Tuesday Stitches

Aladdin Sane vintage WilliWear shirt by Tuesday Stitches

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.

Aladdin Sane vintage WilliWear shirt by Tuesday Stitches

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.

Aladdin Sane vintage WilliWear shirt by Tuesday Stitches

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.

Aladdin Sane vintage WilliWear shirt by Tuesday Stitches

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.

Aladdin Sane vintage WilliWear shirt by Tuesday Stitches

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.

Aladdin Sane vintage WilliWear shirt by Tuesday Stitches

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!)

Aladdin Sane vintage WilliWear shirt by Tuesday Stitches

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?

Aladdin Sane vintage WilliWear shirt by Tuesday Stitches

Comments 9

  1. Your shirt is very cool! I owned that pattern back in the day. If I remember rightly I sewed a shirt for me and one for my husband. So delightfully oversized! Willi Smith was a really great African American designer who sadly died in the AIDS epidemic. I wonder what fabulous garments he would be coming up with today?

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      Author

      How fun that you remember sewing this pattern! I was actually recently introduced to his work by reading about designers featured in the Black Fashion Designers exhibit at FIT last year (though a visit to the exhibit myself was unfortunately not in the cards). It is neat to think about what he might be doing if he were here today.

  2. I love this. What a great print and the shirt is a perfect match. I live in a hipster neighbourhood in Vancouver, BC and you’d get nothing but envious compliments around here.

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      Author

      Thanks! I do have to admit that one of the few problems with my current life is that, since I don’t get out of the house a lot, much less leave our island, a lot of my clothes go unappreciated ;)

  3. Fantastic shirt and the look on you is perfection. I long for androgynous fashion but with the curviest silhouette around, it always falls flat (har har). Work it!

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      Author
  4. I really love this ???? despite me having a body that does NOT suit androgynous clothing (big bust, big hips, narrow waist) I really love it as a look and usually just go with it anyway ????
    The shirt looks amazing on you, and this might be one of my favourite makes I’ve ever seen in the sewing universe ????????

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      Author

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