Finished Object: Not A T-Shirt

(worn with Cherry Blossom Blues, altered to 7/8 length)

My husband (and photographer) is down to the wire finishing his ecology dissertation.  We barely see each other except an hour or two in the evening.  It’s been that way for weeks on end.  Today we got up early for natural light photos!  (A Thank You is in order, as he doesn’t really have time to spare for such things.  Thank you!)

I made Burda 08-2009-117 last December and marveled at how easily it went together- no closures, no darts.  It’s simply a semi-fitted, flattering top.  I had the idea to make several in plain cotton without the ruffle and the “Not-A-T-Shirt” concept was born.

Ten months later, I finally got around to trying it.  From cut to hem, this took about 2 hours to make.  If that.  I felled the shoulder seams and went French for the side seams.   This photo captures the odd, luminous quality of the batik the best. It’s almost liquid.

Besides losing the ruffle, I also dropped the arm opening by about 1″.  My bra doesn’t show!  The underarm doesn’t bind!  Talk about side-seam Shangri-la.

The boxy cut doesn’t do my figure any favors (where did my waistline go???), but honestly I don’t mind.  Come high summer I’ll be glad the fabric doesn’t skim my body.  I find I prefer woven natural fibers for hot weather.  Knits don’t breathe as well- besides, I hate the feeling of fabric sticking to sweaty skin.

It’s a comfy mommy shirt, it just has french seams and pretty fabric.  I like pretty utility garments- and why not?

I’m really, really tempted to pick up a few pretty batiks to make more of these tops.  When I press these batiks, I can smell the wax used as a resist.

What kind of clothes do you wear for being mommy?  If you work at home, what kind of clothes do you like?  What do you think about investing in pretty fabrics and fine finishes for clothes you’ll wash and wear every few days?

Coming soon- Finished Chef-Chos!

Feel free to enter the Pretty, Sparkly Giveaway.  I’ll be working with those trims in my next wardrobe “ensemble.”


  1. Lovely fabric and what a good idea to make that top without the ruffle. I might just copy you.

    I work in an office but if I worked at home I would like to wear nice clothes like yours. Go for lovely fabrics and great finishes!

  2. Hi steph,I love this!it’s the perfect mum shirt .It looks comfy casual but not daggy and a beautiful colour for the aussie summer

    • Thanks! :) After wearing it all day for mommy duty, I’m happy with its performance. Definitely will make a few more of these over the summer.

  3. Oh I really like that shirt. I have just made up a pattern for a shirt quite similar to yours with the intention that I will make it up in a million different fabrics. I find I always reach for 100% cotton clothing that is not super fitted in the summer. My main summer mom outfit is summer dresses with some shorts and tank tops thrown into the mix. I would wear more linen and hemp if I had the garments in my closet.

    • Wicked. I find I really love being able to throw a lightweight jacket on top, too… I should get around to blogging my “new” one.. I keep wearing it without the buttons so it’s being worn despite not being “finished…”

  4. I really like this! And it seems quite well suited to my very basic-level sewing skills. I’m assuming the ruffle is not “structural” in any way – it is easy to leave it off (for someone of said basic-level skills)?

    I liked your version with the ruffle, but I have way to many frills in my wardrobe already.

    • You know, I did use a funny trick for attaching the neck facing. I’ll keep my eyes open for another piece of batik I really really like, then show how I do the neck facing. I don’t cut the slit until after I sew the facing to the neck. Once it’s sewn, I cut the slit and trim the corners… I works really well for keeping the work flat with a minimum of puckering..

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  7. Actually I think it’s really flattering, you may not look curvy but the whole effect is ‘petite’. I have a New Look pattern that’s not entirely dissimilar and just so comfy, and flattering enough when cut short enough to suit my height (or lack thereof). However I this the cut-on sleeves of yours are nicer. I’ve spent good money on lovely Japanese cotton double gauze fabrics for this kind of thing and never looked back. Pretty much all of my wardrobe does double-duty for mama days and work days and gets washed and worn again and again. Therefore cotton, but pretty/stylish cotton, is a good investment!

    • Hehehe. Did you just find a nice way to tell me I don’t look fat? ;)

      We are of the same mind about the cut, the reason for the cut, and Japanese double gauze. I love that stuff!

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