Yes, dear reader, I am about to once again eat my words because I’ve always said that I am not a ruffly person and always steer clear of the things, but I really like this little top – the Nellie by Republique du Chiffon.
I was inspired and encouraged to make it by my friend Hélène, and, although the line drawing didn’t motivate me much at all, the versions I’ve seen on IG were very appealing. There have been many comments about this shirt with suggestions to perhaps reduce the frump factor, namely by reducing the length a bit and reducing the width of the ruffle.
The fabric was from the stash and was a piece that my sister found in an op shop years and years ago and which I was saving for a future granddaughter as it is a very sweet dimity print. It is 100% cotton and made in Shanghai. I know this because that gold writing says that it is “printed shirting, resin finish, 100% cotton, made in Shanghai”, as well as other stuff which I can no longer read.
I had never heard of a resin coating so googled it and wasn’t thrilled about it. In a nutshell it is a treatment which reduces creasing and increases colour fastness, but possibly is terrible for the environment and body. So I’m rather glad this isn’t going to be worn by a grandchild.
To the making! What a debacle it was! I had reduced the length of the top, as mentioned, but somehow the back and the fronts finished up as different lengths. I didn’t want to make the front shorter so added a piece along the back. Luckily with the busy pattern, it’s pretty well disguised. So first crisis over. Then I had a play with the ruffles. My first attempt was terrible because I basically halved the width of the ruffle and then finished up with a funny narrow strip. Recut the ruffle. I then pleated it, but it finished up too short, so I reverted to a gather and I just could not live with the unevenness. Here is the finished top (all bar buttons) with gathered ruffles on the dummy.
At this point I abandoned ship and went off to Tasmania, thinking about my options during the trip. The night we got home, I unpicked the ruffle, made it an even width by running it through the unthreaded overlocker, and added a piece to the length. I then used my ruffler foot to pleat and attach it. Some of the pleats are still a bit uneven because the ruffler foot did not like all the joins I had had to use.
Can you spot the join in the back?
I really like it teamed with my new Itch-to-Stitch Danube skirt, even though the weights are really different. I used tiny yellow buttons sewn on with blue thread and they are quite hard to see. I got really sick of undoing and doing up those tiny buttons so am thankful that I can just pull the top over my head.
As the weather is still really nice, I risked wearing it today with my yellow Stylearc Taylor skirt. This proved to be a perfect combination, although a cardigan was required at various points of the day.
On the Republique du Chiffon website the model is wearing the top tucked in. I didn’t care for mine worn this way, but when I see this pose, I am wondering whether I should try it. On the other hand, if I stood properly this might not happen!
I feel as though I have snatched victory from the jaws of defeat with this one. I thought I was going to really dislike the shirt, but I can see that it is going to go brilliantly with white jeans, shorts and other skirts during the summer. The cotton is probably a bit stiff, but I think I have just managed to get away with it and have enjoyed wearing it for Day 20 of Me Made May.