We Interrupt Your Regularly Scheduled Programming to Bring You A Finished Object

Before I plunge into “Ease” for the Pattern Alteration foundation posts, I wanted to share my Cherry Bow Shirt.  It’s a prototype for the pattern I’m working on for download.

I began working on this draft with a particular set of criteria:

  • Simple enough to sew in an hour or less, and beginner-friendly
  • Suitable for medium knits
  • Ease-y through the torso to gloss over my squidge but also to prevent the fabric sticking to me during Brisbane’s endless bright, humid, still summer.
  • Negative bust ease
  • Kimono sleeves to allow air circulation to my sweaty ‘pits without flashing my bra
  • Short enough to wear untucked without the fabric riding up and bunching around my waist, and short enough to allow me to tuck it in if I please.  I like it at 3.5″ below my waist.

I changed up the back, inserting a softly pleated bow for interest.  This is the fifth one, I was getting bored.  Boredom and curiosity also drove me to try this pattern in a light, wiggly bamboo jersey.  Bamboo has a tendency to “grow” downwards as you sew and wear it, so the sleeves came out somewhat longer than the other versions.  I don’t mind it.

Lila was pretending to be a rhino off camera.  The irises come from the enormous bouquet of cut flowers my husband brought me yesterday for my birthday.  I love cut flowers, they’re high on my list of simple pleasures.

I’m not a standard size, so a relatively smooth shirt like this makes me happy. (It’s even smoother in the medium weight knit.) Since you were all so forthcoming with your measurements and proportions, I’ll share mine:  39″ bust/DD; 29″ waist, 40″ hips carried mostly at the back.  A commentator left me a note this morning on the Kimono Sleeves post:

“Just this morning I did not purchase a 1950s patterns because it had cut-on sleeves. I avoid this type of design because I think it’s extremely unflattering to those of us with full busts and very little space between our bust and our hips. The cut-on sleeve just adds more fabric folds around the side of the bust. I want a design that is “clean” around the bust and moves smoothly into a fitted waist. Sorry.”I beg to differ, friend.  I don’t have trouble wearing kimono sleeves with more tightly fitted waists than this, in all manner of fabrics.  I share those fit issues- big boobs, short waist.  It’s more a line and proportion puzzle than a problem with the design feature.  With a kimono sleeve, you should have one or two gentle folds in the area your sleeve seam would normally lie.  This looks fairly “clean” to me.

Now, don’t be shy.  Tell me what you don’t like about this top, or what you do like.  I think I mis-handled the front neck curve when I stitched on the binding, but it’s not really noticeable.  The pattern has a few necklines to choose from, I’m sick of this round one.  I may cut the sleeves a little shorter.  For those who like super-clingy t-shirts- you’ll be able to easily zip in the side seams.

Also– Do check out Leimomi’s (she’s The Dreamstress) post about coming to Brisbane!  We’re set to hang out in my sewing room later this week, I’m so excited I can’t stand myself.  :)  I never met another blogger, and to meet one I feel such a rapport with and for whom I have such deep respect- it’s an honor.  She even consented to let me draft her!


  1. My first reaction was WOW! For colour, cut and drama. Love the wide scoop nek. This is not a t-shirt -that ubiquitous ugly garment sporting silly sayings and pictures. This is much, much more :)

  2. I like the sleeve length on this one and the fabric is a great choice as it seems to “fall” really well to me, but personally I’m not so keen on the width of the neck. And happy birthday too!! X

  3. Yes, there’s something slightly off about the neck. I might have a plunging V, a bateau and play with this neckline until it’s perfect.

    Thanks. :)

  4. I love it and can’t wait to make one. I very much like the neckline. I find high necklines really uncomfortable and yours looks low enough to not feel constricting but high enough that there’s no risk of inadvertent flashing.

  5. Ohhhhhhh – I love the red on you! It looks fabulous. I also particularly am loving the fall of the fabric, the sleeves, the bow detail and elements of the neckline. I can see what you mean about it needing a little refinment. I like the concept of kimono sleeves that have a suitable length to prevent flashing. I have a top I don’t wear in public because of this. For me, I would probably lengthen to top a bit as I tend to do lots of reaching up and bending so like to prevent stomach and lower back flashes. I would happily buy this pattern, make it and wear it. It is such a pleasure to look at your gorgeous work!

    PS. Happy Birthday – I hope your rhino gave you a big bear hug to go with those gorgeous flowers!

  6. Love this shirt. I’m following this with interest – I’m a 34″ bust, 29″ waist and 42″ hips, ex-QLDer. So glad you’re getting to meet a fellow blogger – I went to the US this year and met some fellow bloggers.

  7. Overall, I really like it. It looks simple, comfortable and elegant. I do think the neck is a bit wide. I’d be worried about my bra straps peaking out.

    Oh, and Happy Birthday! :)

    • My bra straps are near the neckline, but I measured from my neck to the edge of my regular bra strap, then took off an extra inch. The neckline sits to where I measured and so far no peeking. (Visible bras are a pet hate of mine)

  8. Happy Birthday!

    The color is great on you and I do think the cut-on sleeves. With the right proportions, I think they can be universally flattering. For me with super square shoulders, they are great but only if there’s no built in slope.

  9. The cherry red is wonderful on you. As an aside, these pictures look so much like my mom at your age that I had to look twice! She was so glamorous and pretty, as are you.

    I like the tee design very much, but concur with some above,,,the neckline is a bit too wide for me. If I had the pattern in my hands right now, I’d make it up in an instant, especially with the cute bow detail.

  10. I really like it! I would need a much narrower neckline, since I bend over a lot at work, but that is a very easy pattern alteration to complete. :)

  11. Love it! The color is **amazing** on you. Love the sleeves, love the shape. Love the scoop, but yes… could use some refining, and perhaps about an 1″ less scoopness?

    I think you might have a blouse pattern that I’d need to get, yes ma’am.

    Hey, idea since you’re good at this…. if we upload pix of ourselves in tight tank tops, do you think you could identify our fitting issues????

    • Yes ma’am, I could probably identify several. I’m not sure about tank tops, though I’d give it a try. Email me. stephc (at) 3hourspast (dot) com.

  12. What a marvelous garment! I also have large bust and high waist, and I agree with you, Steph, that kimono sleeves can be very comfortable and flattering for that type of figure. I just wish it was a little less crazy trying to alter patterns to fit! I am definitely interested in this in-progress T-shirt pattern of yours. Very intriguing! I could see myself making one with a sweetheart neckline too – with the kimono sleeves, it could be a fun retro nod. I have a couple of T-shirts (of the slinky poly/nylon jersey variety) with sweetheart necklines, and I’m quite partial to the look. A boat neck sounds nice too! Color me enthusiastic. :)

  13. (apologies for bad/odd spelling, theres a toddler on my lap ‘helping’ me type)

    That colour is fantastic you, but like a lot of the other commenters, I’d be nervous of a neckline that wide. Even when I KNOW it’ll be fine, becasue of strict measuring, I would still feel like its going to slip. It looks great on you though!!

  14. I love the bow detail in the back. I have very narrow shoulders and would need a narrower, less scooped neckline in front, but the back is gorgeous!

    • It’s so interesting to hear all these responses. Thank you!

      Maybe I’ll use a wide and narrow scoop… I had thought to do deep and deeper, but wide and narrower may work better…

  15. I’m a 36″ bust, 28″ waist and 38.5″ hip short girl. I like the shirt, but agree with the comment on kimono sleeves. I would be worried that the lack of waist definition and extra fabric under the arms would make me look even more busty. I do like scoop and V necklines, though! Though, perhaps with the sun in mind, maybe not quite so much width and scoop on the neckline?

    Love your blog!

    • Thanks!

      Maybe, but you could simply take in the side seams for more waist definition. It wouldn’t have much effect on the bust/sleeves shape.

  16. OH, yum! The colour! The scoop neck! The nifty back! This is excellent, all around. Can’t wait to give the pattern a try (hmm, I have some red knit I’ve been hanging onto…)

    As to your anti-kimono-sleeve commenter, well, we all have our issues, and sometimes they have as much to do with our own perception as anything else. I never like how I look in halter-tops, even though they’re supposed to be flattering to people with broad shoulders. It’s entirely possible it’s just my own perception, though. :)

    • Yes, of course… It’s all down to personal taste at the end of the day.

      I think I need more clothes this color… I feel so BRUNETTE wearing it, in a good way.

  17. Lovely top and a great shade of red–very becoming color on you! I like the bow detail and the length of the top.

  18. It’s beautiful.

    I would prefer a higher/narrower neckline, mostly because I try to cover up a lot in summer to avoid sun exposure.

    My details, if you’re still compiling them: 32:26:34

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