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Frankie Shirt Sew Along Part One: Measuring and Adjustments

Frankie Shirt Sew Along Part One: Measuring and Adjustments

Before you cut into your pattern, it is important to determine your correct size, and make any needed adjustments. In this post you will learn how to measure, how to make a narrow shoulder adjustment, and how to lengthen and shorten the sleeve. 

To determine your correct size, measure these seven points on the body. Use the image below to see the proper places to measure. 

1. High bust circumference 

2. Full bust circumference

3. Waist circumference

4. High hip circumference (over the tummy)

5. Full hip circumference 

6. Upper arm circumference

7. Sleeve length

For the Frankie, choose your basic size from your full bust circumference. For a woven shirt, you want 3 1/2½" to 4" of ease between your bust measurement and the finished garment measurement. Please note that we realized while writing this post that the finished bust measurements listed on the pattern envelope are incorrect. To calculate the finished bust measurement of the pattern, measure your pattern between the actual stitching lines for your size, or check below for our recalculated finished bust measurements. 

How to measure the bust:
Extend the Pleat Stitching Line on Back. Overlap seamlines of Back and Front/Side Back even with upper points of dart. Measure from Pleat Stitching Line (on Back) to upper dot on Dart (on Side Back). Measure from upper dot on Dart (on Front) to Center Front Line.

Finished Bust Measurements

Small 39 ¾"

Small 41 ½"

Medium 43 ¾"

Large 46"

Large 48 ½"

XXLarge 51 ¾"

Narrow shoulder adjustment

Shoulder seams on a garment should fit the width and slope of your shoulders. The fit of the shoulder seams influences the fit of an entire garment, improves the overall drape, and many times solves other fitting problems. The most frequent adjustment requests we get is the Narrow Shoulder Adjustment. This simple fix can transform the way your garment fits. Start by measuring your shoulders.

Measure the shoulder length from neck base to shoulder join. Find the neck base by wearing a simple chain necklace or bending your neck toward the shoulder to locate the crease.

To local the shoulder joint, raise the arm and feel the indentation at the socket. 

Now, measure your pattern. Using an indicator such as a red dot, mark the ends of the actual stitching line on the shoulder seam of your size. Measure the width of the shoulder seam on the pattern between the stitching lines (the finished length). This shoulder measures 5 ½" for a size small. 

Compare your shoulder length with the pattern measurement to determine how much to adjust the pattern.

For example:

Your shoulder length = 5"

Pattern width = 5 ½"

Adjustment - reduce the shoulder seam length ½"

To make the narrow shoulder adjustment, you need to start by marking the new shoulder width on your pattern (both front and back).

Then, trace the armscye of the pattern. Use pattern tracing paper or vellum to trace and record the original armscye shape of both the front and the back. Place it under the pattern piece. 

Position the top of the traced armscye at the new shoulder mark. Pivot the tracing until the bottom of the traced armscye is aligned with the side seam. 

Redraw the armscye of the front and back to the original shape.  

For other shoulder adjustment tutorials, including sloping shoulders, forward thrust shoulders, balancing the shoulders, extended shoulders, raglan sleeve adjustments, and rounded back adjustments, see our Sew Confident! tutorial, Fitting Shoulders

Lengthening Sleeves

Linda found that she preferred her sleeves to be one inch longer than the original pattern. To lengthen. measure 2" up from the top of the vent hem allowance on both the Upper Sleeve (4) and Under Sleeve (3). Place the pattern pieces on a cutting mat, and line up the grainline to a straight line on the mat. Draw a horizontal line across each pattern piece using a red pen, this is your lengthen and shorten line. Cut each pattern piece apart along the lengthen and shorten line. 

Tape a piece of pattern paper under the two sections and tape the top section to the paper. Extend the grainline down onto the paper. Separate the two sections 1" (or your preferred measurement) and tape the lower section to the paper parallel to the top and matching the grainline.

Using a ruler, true the sleeve seam lines to connect the top and bottom sections.

Note: to lengthen the body of the garment, use the same technique. On the Front/Side Back pattern piece, measure one inch below the bottom point of the dart. Draw a line across the width. This will be your lengthen and shorten line. Continue process listed above. Be sure to repeat the process on the back. 


​We have had requests for the yardage requirements needed for using two fabrics for the Frankie. Those are as follows...


45" wide
1 ⅛ yards: Back, Under Sleeve

1 ⅞ yards Front/Side Back, Upper Sleeve and CollarXS-M 

60" wide
1 yards: Back, Under Sleeve

1 ¼ yards Front/Side Back, Upper Sleeve and Collar



1 ¼ yards: Back, Under Sleeve

2 ¼ yards Front/Side Back, Upper Sleeve and Collar


1 ¼ yards: Back, Under Sleeve

1 ⅝ yards Front/Side Back, Upper Sleeve and Collar

Join our Facebook Group to share your own Frankie shirt with our sewing community. Join us for our next post for cutting and marking techniques!

Frankie Shirt Sew Along Part Four: Sewing the Back
The secret to overlapping seams + the Chateau Popo...