It seems like the new Harvey Shirt from SBCC patterns has been met with lots of enthusiasm from the sewing community. I was lucky enough to test the pattern so I wanted to be sure and get a blog post up so everyone could see the pattern on a curvy figure.
What seems like a simple shirt pattern on first look is deceptively well designed. This shirt fills a major gap in the indie-pattern-plus-size-button-front-shirt pattern offerings, in my opinion. I had been meaning to sew a button front shirt for a while, but I never got around to it, and now I realize that is because there wasn’t a pattern available that I really wanted to sew. The Cashmerette Harrison is beautiful, but a little to formal/fussy for my every day life. What I wanted was the casual look of the Grainline Archer, but I really didn’t want to have to grade up all those pattern pieces, plus I thought I would probably be happier with a pattern with some bust darts. Enter the Harvey Shirt! The details on this are so nice. It is roomy through the body, but the shoulders and sleeves are fitted so it doesn’t end up like a tent (I mean, obviously I’m not opposed to tent-like garments, this just isn’t one of them). You can just tell that the design details have been really well thought out, its a beautiful pattern!
Now SBCC patterns are drafted for petites, but I’m 5’7″ish so I hardly qualify. However, ever since I made my Limoncello Cardigan, I’d been wanting to try another SBCC pattern because the fit was just so good. I am so short waisted (my legs are so long that my 6’2″ dad and I can ride a bike with the seat at the same height) that I think I could really benefit from using petite patterns on my top half more often. Whenever I sew wovens for my top half (and you will notice that is something I mostly avoid), I typically have gaping through the neckline, often have to take things up at the shoulder seam, and sometimes have to move the bust darts up 2 inches.
Well, imagine my surprise when I finished this shirt and it fit THIS WELL!! I was shocked, ya’ll! Now of course it isn’t perfect, but I didn’t even muslin this, I just plowed right in and spent a couple weeks working on it, so I couldn’t be more pleased that this shirt is soooooo wearable. The only alteration I made to this pattern was to lengthen the sleeves by 2″, partly because its a pattern for petites and partly because my sleeves are often too short on RTW. I’m not sure if my arms are especially long, but this is something you might want to check, especially if you are not petite.
One minor fit issue that I have is that the sleeves are slightly too tight through the bicep. I did measure ahead of time and knew it would be borderline, but decided to give it a go with the pattern as drafted since it was a test. It is totally wearable as it, but I will give myself a little more room next time, while still trying to maintain the slim look of the sleeve. The second issue I have is that the armscye is a little too tight for me. I think this is mostly related to the fact that I’m not truly petite, I talked to Betsy about it and it was intentional drafting to avoid the gaping armholes that petite folks often experience when using patterns drafted for taller folks. I often get the gaping armhole as well, so I totally appreciate that it was drafted to avoid this issue, I just need a little more room there personally, so I will fix it on my next version of the pattern.
Betsy sent me a full list of changes made to the final pattern, so for your information they are as follows:
Speaking of the final version, Betsy added a dress version during testing which is so cute! I really, really want to make either the tunic or dress length with that fun angled pocket. It give it a bit of a safari vibe, no?
I know that SBCC patterns are notoriously light on directions, but Betsy stepped them up a bit for this pattern. I don’t think it would be great for beginners, but they were thorough enough for me as an intermediate sewist to sew my first button front shirt without any major issues. And if you’ve already sewn a shirt, it shouldn’t be any issue! There aren’t a ton of words, but the diagrams are great. Just make sure you are on top of when you want to finish seams and other little details like that.
My intent is to use this Harvey shirt (and future versions) for is for lightweight sun protection in the summer and I’m so pleased that this shirt should work with almost everything in my wardrobe. It will be great for wearing over dresses and tank tops, the sun here are 7000ft elevation here in New Mexico is so brutal that I don’t often expose my arms during the summer months. There is nothing more tedious than reapplying sunscreen every hour! I have some RTW shirts that I use for this purpose, but they fit sooooo poorly. To accommodate my pear shaped figure, the bust ends up a size too big, while the hips end up a size too small and the sleeves are always 2″ too short. It is such a revelation to be able to sew my own!
I hope you will check out the Harvey Shirt if you are petite (or if you feel like doing a few alterations). It is such a good deal right now, on sale for $9.60 USD, and it comes with three different lengths and two sleeves. I can’t wait to make more (and I swear I wasn’t paid to say that, I am just obsessed with this pattern)! It goes up to a 54.5″ bust and 57″ hip.
Just the Facts:
Pattern: SBCC Harvey Shirt
Current Measurements: Bust: 45″, Waist 42″, Hip 53″
Size: 18-20-22 with 2″ length added to the sleeve
Fabric/Notions: Riley Blake double gauze from Hip Stitch, buttons purchased locally
This pattern was provided to me in exchange for my pattern testing services.