The “Gingham-To-Go” Shirt

The Facts

Fabric: somewhere between 0.5 and 1 metre of green-and-cream gingham I picked up at Fabric-a-Brac a while back for about $1
Pattern: Australian Home Journal 11553
Year: 1950s
Notions: 5 buttons from my stash
Time to complete: 2.5 hours
First worn: to visit friends and later for a walk around the neighbourhood
Wear again? yep
Total cost: about $1

Hi everyone! I can’t believe it’s been nearly two months since I’ve posted on here – yikes! Probably unsurprisingly, it’s taken me a while to figure out how to find time to sew with a baby around. (And then, when I did figure it out, I had to quickly make up a few pairs of trousers for the little lad.)

Anyway, here, finally, I have made something for myself. Yay!

So this whole baby thing has resulted in a bit of sewing soul-searching. I’m not my former size, but I’m heading down that way, which has resulted in my not wanting to make things in my current size for fear of not fitting them in another couple of months. But at the same time, I am in need of new clothes, since hardly anything I own fits me! Clothes that are also easy-access for feeding the little guy, easy to wash, and preferably don’t need ironing as they’re likely to have baby-spew down them by the end of the day. Hmmm.

Conveniently, shirts seem to fit most of what I need at the moment, so this challenge came at quite a good time! ;-)

This pattern was, well, interesting to put together. I had to read the instructions 2-3 times to figure out whether seam allowance was included or not. And those instructions are spread over the instruction sheet, the back of the pattern envelope (for the “general” instructions), and notes on the envelope front and a pattern piece or two. Rather vague they are at times, as well. Such as “make buttonholes or have them made at a local store”. No indication of how many button holes, where to place them, etc, etc. I’d put the instructions for this shirt right up there with BurdaStyle pattern instructions for sheer incomprehensibility. So I pretty much ignored them for the most part, which seemed to work out ok.

I like the details on this shirt – there are small pleats at the neckline, and inverted tucks for shaping at front and back. The cap sleeves have grown on me – I liked them while making them, didn’t like them when I first tried it on, and I think I like them again now. (Does anyone else do that, fluctuate between liking something they’ve made and not liking it? I seem to do it with nearly everything I make….!)



Kat stumbled upon The Sew Weekly at the end of 2010. Inspired by Mena's creations and dedication to sewing each week, Kat stitched along with all the weekly themes for 2011. Through The Sew Weekly and the girls who contribute to it, she deepened her passion for vintage styles and started amassing a large collection of vintage patterns. Now she needs an excuse to try using them all.


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  1. I’m amazed that you’ve found time to sew! Love the shape of your shirt.

  2. Really cute and great to see you again. Yes, that post-pregnancy clothes conundrum is a tough one. I luckily got a lot of second (and third and fourth) hand clothes from my sister and the thrift store. Although, I pretty much hated all of them! Hang in there. I’m just now (after more than four years) getting back into some of my favorites.

  3. Cute! Lovely fabric, and a good cut on you. Welcome back!

  4. I’m pleasantly surprised to see you here too! I was so turned upside down by my first baby that I could barely manage a shower and food basics for the first few months! You do get the hang of not having “me time” anymore, and I found that after my second baby, I was even more efficient with my time. OK, enough about me. ;).

    It’s a great separate for the breast feeding years, and it looks like with some belting, you could even wear it when you are back to pre-baby shape. I still have some baby weight. Wait: can you call it baby weight when your “babies” are 7 and 3?

  5. *i forgot to add: we should all be so lucky to look so rested and fit after two months!

  6. Very stylish! Looks like you we’re able to put it together just fine without all the complicated and hard to find instructions. It’s a very flattering cut, and with the belt, you’ll be able wear it as you get back to your desired weight. However, I must say that after just two months you’re looking just fabulous!

  7. Well….I think you look fabulous!! Kudos for finding time to sleep AND sew : ) Drake is adorable and lucky to have a mama that sews for him. Keep some of his outfits in a box and when he’s older you can pull them out and show him his humble beginnings. My daughter just turned 27 but I remember the sleepless nights and lack of focus like it was just last year and I wouldn’t trade those memories for ANYTHING : )

  8. Kat, I’m so happy to see you sewing.. And what a great shirt.. The sleeves are so cute

  9. Ah Kat you look amazing and your shirt is super fab, so glad to see you back here so soon, it sure is a juggle finding me time it does get better. Your little Drake is so gorgeous and how cool is it to have a talented mum like you to have dress him.

  10. You are not the only one to fluctuate between like and dislike of a project. I very much like this shirt. The cap sleeves are delightful and you will love them over summer, I’ll bet.