The first shirt
The first shirts I made in my quest to find a tunic length garment that I could wear with leggings all day, every day was from a pattern that I purchased at Liberty of London in 2017. However, this shirt did not have pockets and pockets are an essential (so essential they will have their own whole post). I also didn’t think the result was flattering, it seemed like a nightshirt. In fact, I have since repurposed it as my nightshirt, but that is another story.
While at our cottage in Nebraska, I looked through a few patterns I had ordered from Vogue and found one that I saw I could adapt to my needs. I headed up to The Quilt Basket in York, Nebraska and purchased 2.5 yards of a chrysanthemum patterned batik in tan and green shades. In honor of my mother, who died in May 2015, I will name this first shirt, the mother shirt so to speak, Mum.
I am not from the UK, but I have in fact called my mother “mum” since I made friends with a girl from Australia in the 8th grade. She was the daughter of visiting faculty teaching at the University of Colorado in my hometown of Boulder. I remember that at first my mother was intrigued by eventually found “muuuuuum” to be as annoying as “moooommmm” from a begging teenager. But even now, when I slip into a moment of fondness, moving past the bare fact of “my mother” into “my mum” I find comfortable memories that warmly enclose the heartbreak of losing “my mommy”.
After making Mum, I altered the pattern and changed some of the essentials, this new pattern I developed is the one I still use. But, as a shirt, Mum still fits, or I should say fitted, until I took scissors to it and ripped it to shreds to become the bedding in the cradle of my composting project that will form an important part of my 100 day challenge this cycle. Mum suffered from a problem we call “tendering” where some of the chemicals used in the dyeing and finishing process weakened fibers and made the more vulnerable to tearing or just forming small holes. I haven’t worn Mum for over a year but slipping back into this first shirt, I was amazed to discover that my goal of designing a shirt that would look and feel as good at my lower weight as at my higher weight was met.