Since the beginning of the year, I’ve been on a quest to find the perfect button down shirt. (Read my 4 Shirtmaking Lessons Before You Get Started here.) I’ve always loved the idea of a crisp white shirt, or a silky blouse, but I’ve struggled to find a well-fitting button down. It seems like RTW shirts either gape at the bust and pull at the hips, or hide me beneath a gigantic swath of fabric. And because I am lazy when it comes to pattern modifications (FBA, swayback, narrow shoulder, hurray!), I am pretty tentative when it comes to shirt sewing.
No more! I’m excited to have the Cashmerette Harrison Shirt in my arsenal of shirt patterns. It checks some important boxes, including:
- Classic details like 2-piece collar, tower plackets, and separate yoke piece.
- Fitted shaping – perfect for a slimmer fit and layering under a sweater or blazer
- Double princess seaming provides the VERY BEST fit across my bust of any pattern I’ve ever tried – there is absolutely no gaping. (Say it again, sister!)
I was an early tester of the Harrison, and made a chambray version that I wear almost every week. Subsequent pattern revisions meant that the tester version looks a bit different than the final versions I’m showing here, but suffice it to say that I’ve been waiting a LONG time to share this pattern with my CSC ladies.
A few notes before my official review begins:
- The pink shirt is made from a blush pima cotton shirting from Mood that is a bit translucent, and much thinner with slightly more drape than normal shirting fabric. It also wrinkles like the devil.
- The white shirt is a sanded silk poly that I picked up at Joann. It’s the first time I’ve sewn with such a slippery fabric and I made a couple of newbie mistakes – like cutting on a double layer of fabric (thus getting the grain all out of whack on the bottom half). I also took a slightly larger seam allowance that allowed, which makes this version a bit snugger than the sizing would suggest. Basically, check out how the drape of the poly changes the look of the shirt, but forgive my poor sewing skills — I definitely need to work on my slinky fabric techniques.
- I took these photos the morning after a fancy fundraising gala. As a result, in these photos I am hung over, crazy-haired, and stuffed to bursting with the accouterments of an after-party brunch buffet. #sorrynotsorry #mmmmmeggsbenedict
- In exchange for testing the pattern and providing detailed feedback, I received a copy of the final pattern for free. All opinions are my own.
Let the review commence!
Pattern Name: Cashmerette Harrison Shirt
Size Range: 12-28, cup sizes C-H
What size did you make? I started with a 20e/f at the shoulder and bust, grading to a 22 at the waist and a 24 at the hip.
What are your…..
Body Shape: Shape-shifter!
Bra size: 44D
What adjustments did you make and how long did they take? I didn’t make any adjustments – I didn’t even muslin. I just cut and trusted the process.
What was the construction process like? Did the instructions make sense to you? Construction of a proper button-down shirt with all the trimmings is a time-consuming process because of the attention to detail that it requires. But the instructions are very clear, with line drawings of each step in the handy instruction booklet. Take your time and you will be fine.
I absolutely LOVE the tower placket instructions. I’ve tried four different ways to do tower plackets and these are definitely the best – easy to understand, crisp edges, and beautiful finished product.
How did you like the pattern’s fit? Do you think that the design works well for your body shape? I LOVE the fit – it’s definitely more close-fitting than the other shirt patterns that I’ve tried, but that’s the nature of princess seaming in the front and the back. (Note: the silk version is admittedly too snug, but sewing the proper seam allowance would have solved that.)
For those people who have sewn other Cashmerette patterns and found the neckline too wide – please muslin the Harrison before making any adjustments. I usually have to bring in Cashmerette necklines by an inch, but not on this pattern – and you can see that the shoulder seam falls just in the right place.
Will you make this pattern again? If so, what fit or design changes will you make? The Harrison pattern is one that will become an instant classic – once you work out the right fit for your body, it will be a workhorse in your closet for the next decade. I have three right now (including my tester version in Chambray), but am tempted to tackle on in flannel for the upcoming colder months.
The only changes I will consider making are these:
- I will probably add a sleeve tab to keep the sleeves up when they are rolled – I’ve really loved my sleeve tab in the Hey June Cheyenne, and it will be a snap to add one to the Harrison.
- I will consider adding breast pockets. I’m not sure how they will work with the double princess seaming, but I’d like to try it and see if it adds a classic touch or just looks weird.
- If sewing a silky fabric, I’ll give myself an extra ¼ seam allowance. (and I’ll cut all my pieces on a single layer to keep the fabric shifting to a minimum).
- I might shorten the sleeves a half inch. Or maybe not – I’m undecided. Or I might try to hack a short sleeve version.
- I might go up a size for bulkier fabrics (like flannel) so that I have a little more wiggle room. At a minimum, I’ll go with the size 22 for the sleeve, since I found the upper arm a tiny bit snug.
Do you have any advice on this pattern for other curvy sewers? Are there any resources or materials that helped you sew this piece up? I’ve heard positive things about the “Shirt Making For Curves” video class that Cashmerette’s Jenny Rushmore has produced to accompany the pattern.
I haven’t seen many reviews on the internet yet, but I’m especially keen to hear how others are tackling pattern matching on the Harrison. With the double princess seams, I am too nervous to try anything as bold as plaid, and have stuck so far with solids. I have an idea that color-blocking could be awesome too, but will let someone else try it first!
Pattern Rating (1-5):
- Size range: 4
- Instructions: 5
- Construction process: 5
- Final fit: 5
- Overall rating: 4.75
Overall, this is a solid pattern that should probably be in the closet of every curvy woman that finds herself with an occasional need for a collared shirt. Buy it, make a dozen, and report back.