Search This Blog

The Perfect T-shirt

Since most patterns are drafted for someone that is 5'5" tall, at my mere 5'1", that's 4" of difference between m...

Since most patterns are drafted for someone that is 5'5" tall, at my mere 5'1", that's 4" of difference between me and the pattern size. I've always shortened my patterns at the "shorten/lengthen" line. That adjustment is intended to bring the waist of the pattern up to my actual waist. No doubt, I've been sewing a LONG time, but I reached an epiphany a few weeks ago.

That method works pretty ok. But I'm not looking for ok, I'm looking for amazing. So at the encouragement of Becca over at Free Notion and her blog post "Muslins aren't magic. They're math", I decided to retackle my favorite shirt, the Patterns for Pirates Layer Me Up. This pattern fits me pretty well, but it was quite clear it wasn't perfect. I still had a few wrinkles here and there. I knew I could do better. So I started chopping, adjusting and using... MATH <gasp>.

So I normally take 1 1/2 inches out of the top of patterns. The other 2 1/2 inches come out of my inseam. I have a short shoulder to waist measurement, proportionally long waist to hip measurement and then short legs. So rather than just chopping 1 1/2 inches out of the shorten/lengthen line, I took 1/2" out of the sleeve cap and upper bodice and then 1" out of the waist.

I am lucky in that my measurements now hit me solidly into the P4P size medium, blended to slightly larger waist, then size small at the hip. This makes a nearly straight line from under bust to high hip. I did NOT do a full bust adjustment on this pattern and the bust says I don't need one. NO BUST WRINKLES! Say that again, NO BUST WRINKLES! All those wrinkles I kept getting above my bust were because the bust point was too low for my shortened body. I can now confidently sew up any pattern and know how to move the bust point where my body needs it to be.

So this beautiful blue shirt has not yet been finished, I still have an unfinished neckline, and raw hems. Please note that while the bust says I don't need a full bust adjustment, my shirt hem says otherwise. Since I don't need more width in the pattern, I cheated and added 1/2" at the center front and graded it to zero at the side seam.

Seeing the amazing bust fit, I was eager to cut into my next fabric, a soft and silky Rayon Spandex. This purple rayon spandex has more finish than the above blue top. I raised the neckline 1/2" and then added in the neck band. In my excitement at the perfect bust fit, I completely neglected to adjust the sleeve. Apparently I now have skinny stick arms (or maybe my size medium shoulders don't match up with my size small arms? Who knows the cause, just the reality is that my arms are skinnier than the pattern intended. So while I have already taken 1/2" out of the sleeve cap, I still need to adjust the entire sleeve. So my next round of muslin I will raise the under arm seam a bit more, and take at least 1" out of the entire sleeve width. I look forward to sharing my perfected t-shirt next week!

I've achieved a new level of perfection that makes me want to sew ALL the tops. Toss everything out, because it isn't good enough... Ok, don't do that, or else I will only have 1 top to wear and I don't think anyone would like that. But you better believe that my clothes are going to fit WAY better here on out!

You Might Also Like


  1. I never thought of doing a modification on the center front....sort of like a pregnancy mod, but intended for the bust.

  2. These look like a great fit! I am petite as well, and I think I also need to take out some length above the bust. When you take out this length, this shortens the armscye, right? Did you have to adjust the armscye at all? I need to try out a muslin of this on a t-shirt pattern. Hoping the armscye doesn't end up too tight, though! Would love your thoughts/experience on this!

    1. I've got 2 blog posts that are exactly what you need. :)
      this one explains how to shorten above the bust and redraw the armscye..

      This one shows you how to adjust the sleeve cap.

      You should now have everything you need to make the necessary adjustments.

    2. Thanks Ti! I will look into these


These Reads

Analytics ( do not remove )