Fitting the Arm Candy Tee to My Petite-Plus Frame

The Arm Candy Tee is a gender neutral pattern drafted for two gender-expansive fits, linear & dynamic. Many bodies fall somewhere between these two proportional ranges. 

My own body, for example, falls into a dynamic fit above the waist, and a linear fit below the waist (like the figure on the far right in the illustration below).

An illustration showing four line drawings of figure outlines. A gray oval or rectangle imposed over each figure indicates variations in body proportions.

I am 5’1” tall (155 cm), and my measurements are:

bust: 46” (117 cm)

waist: 40” (102 cm)

hip: 42” (107 cm)


I prefer a cropped hemline, as I like the way that it visually divides my petite frame, making my legs look longer and making me generally appear a bit taller. 


When I cut out an Arm Candy Tee for my own body, I use the dynamic body block and grade to a narrower size at the hip. Because I use the cropped hemline, I’m not actually cutting all the way down to the full hip, but the guideline ensures that I will not get any extra empty “flare” out below the waistline. On the other hand, folks with fuller hips and narrower waists will appreciate this shaping in the dynamic body block.

A flat lay of the tee shirt body front is shown on a cutting table, with the pattern projected onto it. An arrow indicates where the hipline has been blended from the base size to two sizes smaller at the full hip.

 

I don’t usually shorten the pattern at the waistline, even though the pattern has been drafted for someone a good 5” taller than me (5’6”). This is because I am straightening the side seam out below the waist anyway, eliminating the nipped-in waist, which would sit too low on my shorter-than-average torso. I also like where the cropped hemline sits without shortening it, as it overlaps the top of my pants by a few inches. 


The hemlines on the pattern are really just a set of guides, and you can always redraw them higher or lower based on your own desired fit and what feels good on your body!

Which size to make?

Knit fabrics can stretch a lot on the body when worn. Refer to the finished garment measurements (on p.6 of the instructions) when choosing your size, and take into account the stretch percentage of your fabric. If you’re using something really loose and drapey, like a rayon jersey, but you desire a snugger fit, you can probably get away with sizing down by one or two sizes. 


To give you an example of how the garment fits in several fabrics across several sizes, I made 3 different versions of the Arm Candy Tee for myself. 

A montage of 3 photos, in which Ruby models three different Arm Candy Tees in diminishing sizes.

 

You can see how each fabric and size fits relative to the amount of ease (the difference between my body measurement and the finished garment measurement).

Shirt A:

Ruby stands in front of a shelf of fabric in her studio, wearing a blue Arm Candy Tee with petal sleeves. The fit of the shirt is relaxed.

 

I used the dynamic size J block for this version. The fabric is merino jersey, and it has 75% stretch across the DOGS (direction of greatest stretch), as well as good recovery (meaning it snaps back to its original shape after being stretched).


Shirt A

My measurements

Finished garment 

Ease

Base size J (graded down to H at the hip, cropped ~4” above full hip)

B: 46” 

W: 40” 

4” above H: 42”

B: 46”

W: 40”

4” above H: 44”

B: 0”

W: 0”

4” above H: +2”

Shirt B:

Ruby stands in her studio modeling a mauve Arm Candy Tee with short sleeves. The fit is somewhat snug across the bust, but still a bit loose around the waist.

The second version is cotton jersey, which I cut from a preexisting tee shirt that was much too long and didn’t fit well. I used the dynamic size I block as a base. You can check out a short video I made showing that process here. The fabric has 50% stretch across the DOGS, and somewhat weak recovery.


Shirt B

My measurements

Finished garment 

Ease

Base size I (graded down to H at the hip, cropped  ~4” above full hip)

B: 46” 

W: 40”

4” above H: 42”

B: 44”

W: 39”

4” above H: 42”

B: -2”

W: -1”

4” above H: 0”


Shirt C:

Ruby stands in her studio, modeling a light green Arm Candy Tee with contrasting dark green band sleeves. The fit is snug across her shoulders, bust and belly.

The third version is rayon jersey with 100% stretch across the DOGS, and pretty terrible recovery (the fabric stretches out very easily). I first cut out a size J, and then quickly decided the fit was much too loose (see photo of original below). I recut the body pieces from the dynamic size H base (2 sizes smaller), just to see what would happen. The fit is definitely snug. 


Shirt C

My measurements

Finished garment 

Ease

Base size H (graded out to size I at the waist, cropped ~4” above full hip)

B: 46”

W: 40”

4” above H: 42”

B: 42”

W: 39”

4” above H: 40”

B: -4”

W: -1”

4” above H: -2”


Final Takeaways

I know this is a lot information, but the most important thing to focus on is how the amount of ease (negative or positive) impacts the final look of the garment. Everyone’s body measurements are different, but the two biggest factors to consider when choosing a base size are:

  1. Your own body measurements relative to the finished garment measurements (ease)
  2. The stretch percentage and recovery of your knit fabric

A note on choosing a fit:

If you’re questioning the difference between the linear and dynamic fits, Kristy (@needlesandbeetles on IG) made Arm Candy Tees in both fits, pictured below. If you have a bust/chest that is significantly larger than your waist, the linear fit will be a bit roomier around the waist and have a looser, more casual fit.

Kristy models the Arm Candy Tee in two fits. The photo on the left is the dynamic fit, and fits more snugly around the torso. The photo on the right is the linear fit, and sits more loosely through the waist.

 

I'll also include a photo myself in Shirt C (without sleeves) before I recut it. Here you can see the shirt body (with original hip-length hemline) in size J, compared to the recut shirt in size H. In retrospect, I think size I would have been ideal for this very stretchy, drapey rayon jersey fabric.

Two images of Ruby side by side. On the left she is wearing the green Arm Candy Tee in a size J and the fit is loose. On the right she wears the same shirt, recut to a size H, and the fit is very snug.

 

Want to make the Arm Candy Tee for yourself? You can purchase the PDF sewing pattern on my website

If you need help choosing a size for the Arm Candy Tee, you can always reach out to me at hello@spokesandstitches.com for guidance!

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