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Say Hello to the Shirley Shirt

Posted by Betsy C on

As I develop patterns for SBCC I like to think about so called "classics" or "basics" that we petites need to fill in wardrobe gaps. Trendy styles or those with a twist are fun to sew and for me to make, but I'm all in for a wardrobe workhorse pattern- a style that you'll always need so you don't have to buy. 

The Shirley Shirt is a serious style and one that I admittedly, at first, was like, "Yeah, where am I going to wear that? I like stretchy things."...until the day came and I realized I was a missing a blouse to complete specific looks and all the options out there were for super long torso bodies and everything store bought fit like crud. 

Time to solve that problem!

The Shirley Shirt is your classic fitted button-down blouse...but for petites. Classic collar, cuffs and details. Now don't worry that this blouse is something you will have to squeeze into. Nope! Fitted just means that the silhouette leans towards a slimmer look. There are front and back waist darts to give you subtle shaping at the waist without making you feel pinched. 

Now let me just put this here for you before we go further: I know a lot of people are like- “I don’t wear these type of blouses because they never fit me well”. I mean, c’mon- you know I’ve got you covered ;) Every single sewing project that you will do will more than likely have you making adjustments to personalize the fit. But at least starting from something that it pretty darn good will make it all worthwhile.

As we transition seasons the Shirley Shirt is perfect for looking polished. You can easily style a cardigan or blazer with it for a chic look and the short sleeve view lets you peel off your layers when the temps are warmer. 

If you've made the Harvey Shirt before you may be wondering about the difference between these two blouses. They are subtle, but they both have their own looks. The Harvey is what I call a "boyfriend fit". It's slightly oversized for a boxier fit. The Shirley Shirt is much more feminine and fitted. It is slimmer through the torso and sleeves and slightly shorter in length.

Pocket options

If you are looking for a way to elevate your skills and make you garment look like something you bought off the rack, then definitely give the pintuck pocket option a try. It looks tricky, but it's actually pretty simple to do. Pair it with the pocket flap and some topstitching detail and you've got something that will have people saying "You made that!?".

Now if the pintuck pocket or the flap are not your look, there is just a simple rectangular pocket that you can make that will look just as great. Even pair it with the flap if you want!

Fabrics to Use

The Shirley Shirt is intended for light weight woven fabrics. You could definitely choose a woven fabric that has a little stretch to it. The key here is to select a fabric that is not super heavy or thick.

I would recommend cotton voile, poplin, linen, shirting fabrics, and silk, to name a few. It’s pretty versatile overall. 

For the product photos I used the following: 

Long sleeve light blue- This was a lightweight cotton that had a little bit of stiffness to the handfeel. 

Grey and green long sleeve plaid- a slightly thicker cotton weave with a light brushed effect to the fabric. 

Navy Blue short sleeve- This was a Tencel twill. This turned out to the drapiest look. I’m not mad about it, just something to consider.

Orange long sleeve- This was a brushed cotton flannel from Joanns. I love the color, but I think I’ll wear it more as a shirt jacket because it is more stiff.


As per the usual, there are two size ranges catering to specific figures- 00-XL2 and L1-32. Now you may be wondering about the weird sizes XL1, XL2, L1 & L2. These are just intended to bridge the two size ranges and create an overlap if someone is in between size ranges. And yes, you did hear me right, sizing for this style goes up to a 32. 

Because the Shirley Shirt is more fitted I wanted to make sure you got the bust fit right for you. There are 3 different cup options to choose from. For a style like this, I would recommend choosing your size based on your chest circumference first and foremost. From here grading out to the waist and the hip will present far fewer problems for fitting. 


The beauty of making your own clothing is that you can make it your own. No one will ever have the same item. Some may look at the Shirley Shirt and think it’s just a standard blouse. It is. However, there are so many opportunities to personalize it to your own unique style. 

Mix fabrics so your inner yoke and collarband are different from the main body. Add tonal or contrast topstitching to the seams to make it unique. Even the buttons that you choose make it yours.

However you want to interpret it, the Shirley Shirt offers you unlimited possibilities. Give it a try and you won’t be disappointed. 





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