This week’s make is the oversized Sahara shirt from Ralph Pink Patterns!

I bought this pattern a good few months ago, after seeing blogger Shauni’s (The Magnificent Thread) plain black version and it’s been high on my list of makes ever since! My success with the Mélilot Shirt finally encouraged me to put scissors to fabric and go for it. 

I didn’t bother to make a muslin for this piece as being an oversized shirt I didn’t think there would be any issues with fit! Instead I dived straight in to cutting the size small (UK 8-10). And then I spent about an hour looking for a reel of cotton that matched my fabric perfectly – I knew I had it, as I had a half-loaded bobbin that didn’t just wind itself! After an increasingly frustrating search I decided there was only one thing for it – a cuppa and a biscuit! It did the trick and within 5 minutes I had found the cotton reel.

The pattern pieces are large, and at first glance it’s hard to tell the hem line from the yoke line, but it goes together pretty quickly and easily. I also seemed to use A LOT of thread! After a couple of hours my original bobbin and reel were empty from sewing the pocket, yoke, shoulders and side seams together, and since I didn’t have any more of it I decided to switch to a contrasting thread for the remainder of the garment.  Luckily I had a cotton that matched my buttons perfectly, and since most of what was left to do was top stitching, I thought this would be a nice touch.

Once the placket was sewn in place I did a quick try on and decided to take in the side seams a little as it was looking very big. I had a couple of test goes to see how much I could remove without altering the look, but having narrow shoulders meant that anything over 25mm seemed to form a fold in the shoulders at the back that changed the fit from ‘purposely oversized’ to ‘ooops, bought the wrong size’.  Of course, this now means the front and back yoke don’t match up at the side seams but I’m hoping no one will notice – I mean, does anyone really look under your arms? Next time I think I’ll make the XS!

The seams are finished with an overedge stitch as I don’t have an overlocker, and I admit I cheated by binding them together rather than edging each side separately as the instruction recommends. I stopped just short of the under-arm curve as I am well versed in the rumpling problems that arise when binding a curve (from my love of using French seams on EVERYTHING!), and I used pinking shears to finish the last section.


I also decided to go back and add a decorative stitch to the pocket in the contrasting thread, since this was sewn with the original matching. Like Shauni, I also decided to do away with the collar and just go with the collar stand as the finished article.


In a perfect world the collar and placket stitching would be a bit neater, but I’m happy enough with a few wobbles for now!  I would have top stitched the front and back yoke too, but I actually ran out of thread again, just as I finished the last button (precision timing that may never happen again!).

The fabric is a printed cotton poplin I bought online after seeing it at the Sewing Bee Live last year, and cost around £16 for 2.25m at 1.5m wide.  I was considering using a bright yellow button, but after spending 3/4 of a lunchbreak stood in front of the buttons in Fabricland I settled on a set of purple buttons I already had! The background grey has a subtle pink tone to it, so the buttons are a pop of colour whilst being a tonal match. In total, I probably spent around £20 making this shirt, including thread and buttons! And I have a little fabric leftover!

I really like this style, even though I worry I may be too short to carry it off – but as you can see from the ‘outdoor’ shots, I’ve worn it out in public and didn’t get any strange looks so I guess it doesn’t look too bad!