The Shirt that Shouldn’t


The Facts:

Fabric: A very pretty, yet loosely woven fabric.
Pattern: Vogue 8747
Notions: 6 pearl buttons, thread, interfacing
Time to complete: 6-7 hours
First worn: November 12, for photoshoot
Wear again? Yes, but very carefully
Total price: Nothing new, just thrifted fabric and notions, so cost was minimal.




If you google this pattern and look at images, you’ll see quite a few photos of ladies who have made up this shirt very attractively. I really like the pattern, but my fabric was too thin and too busy to show-off the the sculptured seams and details. I noticed that four of the views on the pattern illustrate the shirt in solid colors. Something to keep in mind when choosing fabric.  I love the fabric I chose, the colors and flowers are so pretty, and initially I thought that the thin delicate fabric would drape well. It looks OK in the photos, but truthfully if I do wear it, I’ll have a backup shirt in my purse.


To begin, I confidently cut out a size 14, B cup, 3 pieces for the back, 4 pieces for the  front, sleeves, cuffs, front band, collar band, and collar. Happily I sewed seams and serged all the sections of the back and front and then tried it on. It was too small! So I had to let out the sides and let out the seams of the side back panels all the way to the serged edge. Then it fit fine. I had no problems after that. Until……

I was putting it on and my elbow went right through that back panel seam. What the F???? I ran to my serger and repaired it. Then I put it on carefully and while I bent forward to check my makeup, the other back side panel busted open. Again, I ran to the serger and mended it. This time I reinforced both seams with stay tape. I hope it holds up for a while.

I think I’ve learned a thing or too about loosely woven delicate fabric. Avoid it even if it is pretty! It’s probably meant for curtains or something, not clothing. I guess I could have underlined the whole thing. That would be twice as much cutting and there are a lot of pieces to this little shirt. It seems like it took forever to put it together as it was.


I was wondering if I could really say that this is a wardrobe staple, since it’s not very stable and might only be worn on the rarest occasion, an occasion that doesn’t involve a lot of movement. And another thing I wondered about and did some research on, was the difference between a shirt and a blouse. There were a lot of opinions about the subject, and it was very controversial. I’m going with the fact that shirts button down the front, and have a collar. My shirt has both. I could also say it’s a blouse because it is a synthetic fabric, lightweight, flowery, and feminine. What is your definition of a shirt as opposed to a blouse?

My husband said, “Jump!” I thought, “I hope something doesn’t rip!”


After the Out-to-Lunch Date! I think I’ll take off the buttons and make another one….someday.



Barbara is a resident of Northern California. She loves to sew and has pledged not to buy retail clothes for the year of 2012. That means she has to make her own, or buy it at a thrift store. I hope she doesn't spend too much on fabric. When she shops for fabric her eyes light up as she imagines the possibilities! She's like a kid in a candy store.


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  1. Ah, what a frustration! It is beautiful fabric, and a flattering shape on you, so you must be peeved after all the effort. Way back when we did the Mad Men challenge, I had some 60s fabric that I made into a shift dress, but when I pulled it over my head for the first fitting, all the seams started to give way. It was just too old and delicate. :(

    (I’m sitting out this week, but my post was going to be called, “Is it a shirt or a blouse?” If you’ve been watching Project Runway Australia, you’ll know there was an episode devoted to white shirts, and one of the losing designers got all in a huff because he declared that he lost unfairly for having been the only one to make a shirt, while all the others made blouses. Hmmmph!)

    • OoOh I watched that. That Savva is a pain in the arse and Leah! seems to be the magician of the bunch. I would say a shirt has buttons and collar and a blouse would maybe have the same but be more dainty in its appearance?

  2. What a shame! It looks so great. I would think that a shirt is something that you could wear kind of casually, like you are doing and a blouse is something a bit more dressy, but I may be wrong …

  3. …and you did such a magic job too, maybe you can wear this with the shoes that you can only sit in- we all have those shoes. A sitting only outfit hehe. Love,love the colours on you.

  4. oh darn! what cute fabric and a great pattern. Maybe call this a muslin and go from there. Would it be strong enough to work as an over shirt worn undone over a singlet top?

  5. I can just imagine the sinking feeling you got (followed by rage) when you heard that first rip. Ugh! It’s too bad because that is such a great color on you!

  6. Oh, what a pity! The shirt looks beautiful. Hopefully you’ll be able to wear it at least once, and can make a workable version with the pattern. My guide to fine and loosely woven fabrics is the more delicate the fabric, and the less tightly woven it is, the less seams it should have, and the less fitted the garment should be.

  7. Oh man, all that work and it split! Too bad since it’s a nice style on you and really gorgeous colors. You can think of it as a really fancy muslin : )

  8. Infuriating! Such a shame as the colours really suit you and it’s a very pretty print. Love the gathered area over the bust – very feminine – a successful toile. What about cuting the sleeves off – wonder if that would get a wear or two from it? I also Googled shirt vs. blouse. I noticed that looking through my old patterns, women’s blouses were called shirts in the sixties. Wonder what Leimomi’s take on this issue is.