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Harvey Shirt Sew-Along: Selecting Your Size

Posted by Betsy C on

Let's talk about the fit intent of The Harvey Shirt first. It may appear to you as a basic button-down blouse. However, there are slight nuances within the design intent that are important that I want to make sure everyone is aware of. The description of "boyfriend shirt" can be a little vague, so let's get into the details. Plus, this gives you a peek inside the workings of my mind as I define what silhouette I am going for during development. 

Shoulder width- 

We all have that imaginary placement line on our shoulders where we feel the shoulder should hit. However, the Harvey shoulder width is intended to be more dropped, i.e.- appears to be falling off this line. 

Body width-

Harvey is intended to fit slimmer in the chest and wider in the bottom opening. Don't get me wrong, the chest is not intended to be tight or fitted. It is just to give the illusion that you would be wearing your boyfriends shirt. Mens shirts are generally cut rather straight through the chest and hip and it would look as described if a female was wearing one. 

Slim fit sleeves- 

My beef with button downs is they always look too overwhelming on a petite figure. I've found one of the biggest culprits of this is the sleeve shape. I don't want to look like my short arms are big and bulky, but rather lean and slim for a look that makes them appear longer. 

High Chest pockets- 

With the wrong pocket placement one can instantly look shorter.  My preference is to keep them high and perky for an elongated look. However, out upper body shapes vary considerably, so my recommendation is to always to a quick check before sewing on to see how the position looks on you. It could be too high for some. 

Relaxed Collar- 

This one is quite subtle. I envisioned the collar sitting on the neck in a way that it made it look like you were wearing an oversized shirt of your boyfriends. The collar is super slim, which is well proportioned for our petite frames. 

Selecting your Size:

I'm going to go with my typical advice for choosing a size- when you are reviewing the body measurement chart, make your selection based on your chest  measurement. If you have to grade between sizes, it's going to be a ton easier to adjust the hip/bottom opening on the Harvey shirt. 

Don't even worry about your waist measurement. This is not applicable for the Harvey Shirt because there is no defined waist shape. Just stick to the hip and the chest first and hip 2nd. 

Finished Garment Measurements: 

You will find these on the product page and they are intended to give you an idea of how long and how wide the finished Harvey Shirt will be for your size. These are the measurement points I am basing the finished garment measurements on:

Shoulder Width:

This is measured on the back of the garment, straight across from shoulder point to shoulder point. To get an idea of what this means make sure you are comparing to something that already exists in your closet. It is rather had to do so on the body and will yield a different length due to the curvature of the back.

For more on shoulders- checkout this blog post!

Center back length:

This one should be pretty easy, but if there is anything I have learned from working in the garment industry is that if something is not clearly defined, it can and will be interpreted differently. So the center back length, for all views is measured from the neck seam (not including the collar). All the way to the bottom edge. 

Sleeve length: 

Measured from the top center of the sleeve cap, all the way to the bottom edge, including the cuff height. 

Chest circumference:

Measured straight across from side seam to side seam, 1" below the armhole. 

Hip circumference: 

Measured at the bottom edge from side seam to side seam.

Do You Need an FBA? 

Good question. The Harvey shirt is more of a B/C cup fit. Why do I define it this way? I have little *tricks* in my grading that accounts for a larger cup size for larger sizes. It's not perfect, nor definitively accurate, but it does help things along if you are on the fence. But as alway, make a basic muslin to check your fit and you can make the call. 

Bonus Bicep Info

The sleeve is intended to be slim, but definitely not tight. Below is a chart for what the finished bicep measures. If you are unsure of what this measurement means in relation to you, check out this blog post

Now that you know what you have to do for a bicep width, I’m going to fill you in on a sneaky cheat: the Harvey Shirt sleeve cap was made with zero ease for all sizes. It should fit exactly into the armhole. If your sleeve doesn’t, then something got stretched out of shape. But if you think that sizing up one size on the bicep may be your best bet, then choose one size larger sleeve and ease it in. Admittedly, this only works for one size bigger. But hey, that’s something right?!

if your bicep needs more work, check out this post on what you should do. 

What if I am not Petite?

no worries! Check out my handy visual aid below to show you where and how much to slash and spread to get the right lengths for your body. 


Ok, on to the sewing!... Stay tuned for day 1 of sewing the Harvey Shirt in the next blog post. 




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