Hi there! You just caught me during one of my favourite springtime jobs: inspecting future plum cakes in our mini orchard.
At the end of each summer I traditionally ruin some tops while harvesting blackcurrants or bringing in the walnuts, giving me a good excuse to sew some fresh shirts during spring.
This year the planning of new gardening gear coincided with the launch of the Concord T-shirt by Cashmerette Patterns. A classic t-shirt with three hem lengths, three necklines (high, V-neck, scoop) and, most importantly, three different cup sizes. Sold!
As this was my first Cashmerette pattern I checked the stash for muslin options. I found a lightweight cotton jersey of unknown origin, which to me looked like the result of drunk fabric shopping. Perfect muslin material!
Now to determine the right size.Sizing chart instructions tell you to use your full bust measurement to choose your bust size. Hmmm, I've never had any luck when following that rule.
If your full bust could fit into two sizes, choose the size closest to your waistline.
Don't try this at home if you're middle aged and your waist has it's own agenda!
According to the above rules I had to cut a size 18 C/D cup (I have not been in those regions of the alphabet since high school, wearing a European 36HH bra) I ignored the advice and went straight for the 18 G/H while adding some extra room for said waistline. This way I worked around the significant negative pattern ease. I can live with negative ease at the bust, negative ease at the back is a no go.
The design choices regarding length of sleeves and bodice were made by the fabric, I could just squeeze it out of 1 meter while avoiding the white horizontal band in the print ending up at apex height.
When I'm making a new pattern I always start by basting the shoulders first. If the fit in the shoulders is off, the garment will never hang properly. I baste, adjust, and repeat the process till I'm happy. For the Concord tee I made a shoulder adjustment that Liechty et al describe as Low Neck Base adjustment, so by reverse diagnosis I suppose that's what I have to deal with since I often make this type of adjustment. I took in 3/8 inch at the neckline, tapering to zero at the armscye and used my calculator to determine the percentage of shortening needed for the neckband.
Come to think of it, if I remember correctly Cashmerette patterns are drafted for a 5'4" height, but nowhere in the instructions, nor in the size chart on the Cashmerette website could I check this.
It's a pet peeve of mine, but I feel the importance of the height issue is easily underestimated. I know I have sewing friends who are 5'1" as well as sewing friends of 6' tall and most probably Cashmerette customers come in very different heights as well. It's so much easier when you know the starting point!
For those of you who want an indication of the length: I am 5'8" and I cut the mid length, which I expected to be on the short side. Surprise! In the end I shortened it by 1,5 inch it's now finished at a length that's 1,5 inch longer than the crop length.
When you consider these tiny seams as the anchor for both the neckline and the sleeves, I strongly recommend using clear elastic, or even a woven ribbon to reinforce the shoulder seams! It really helps the neckline to stay in place.
Also, but maybe I'm sounding like my nitpicking editor self now, the instructions tell you to sew side seam and sleeve seam at one go, starting at the waist and sewing to the end of the sleeve. From the waist? Technically the waist is where one of the notches is, about halfway between top and hem. When do we sew hem to waist, a beginner might wonder? I feel this could have been phrased more accurately to avoid confusion.
O, and last but not least, sew the neckband using this Off the Cuff tutorial
Final verdict: after some minor adjustments I really like the fit of this pattern and there will be more Concord t-shirts in my near future. I'm planning a longer version for the gym, a fun print with a v-neck and a stripey one with medium sleeves.
Edit: as Jenny of Cashmerette mentions in the comments Cashmerette Patterns are drafted for 5'6" and that information can now be found on the sizing page.