maternity · shirts

Knocking Off Banana Republic

I really like BR’s clothes–they are classy, usually well made, and generally fit me pretty well. Wearing their clothes, though–especially the dresses or suits–always makes me a little nervous because I’m convinced I’ll show up at an event and two other women will be wearing the exact same thing. Normally that wouldn’t matter, but since I only ever get dressed up for class or professional events, that makes things awkward. Nothing like being caught wearing the same clothes as your students!

I generally can’t resist their clothes, though, because we live near a BR factory outlet (score!). And when they have sales, they have really, really good sales. A few weeks ago, for example, I got this very cute shirt for $8.32. I couldn’t buy the fabric for that price! Well, I can’t buy the fabric anyway, but you know what I mean.

Anyway, I love the cut of this shirt. The gathering along the sleeves and the bodice mean the shirt is pretty form fitting. I especially like the back of the shirt, which picks up the gathering motif, as well. In fact, I liked it so much that I got two of the shirts. One I wear and the other I pulled apart to pieces to use as a pattern.

My sister has a BR maternity dress that she loves that has a similar style, so I decided to make her a maternity version of the shirt. All the pattern pieces remained the same except the front panel. I did added about 10 cm in width and a bit extra length to keep things even at the hem. I then just gathered the piece at the empire waist and that solved that problem. On the muslin I had problems keeping the gathers in place on all these seams, so for this version I used clear elastic and that helped a lot. The only tricky bit was the bias binding along the neckline. I hate doing a binding in a knit. My stitching always always comes out wonky and ugly on the inside and there’s always one section that is visible from the front, no matter how much I try to stay in the ditch. Sigh. I think this is partially my machine, which is not very. . . precise. But I think I need to play around with the foot pressure. I’m sure that is affecting the quality of the stitching.

It is a cute shirt and I think I’ll probably make it again, although not as a maternity shirt. Actually, I think it would be really nice to extend it into a dress. But I probably won’t make it again until I can figure out how to do a more precise neck binding. Otherwise it will just bug me and I’ll never wear the shirt.


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