Pattern Review: Carolina Tee

by | Feb 20, 2017 | Clothing, Women | 0 comments

Shwin Designs. The styles are perfect-just my jam.  I bought two patterns on a Black Friday Sale two years ago and recently sewed up the Carolina Tee.  I love the curved side seams and hoped they would give me a slight slimming effect.


First, I made a quick muslin of the Carolina Tee and decided to widen the shoulders.  This is actually the shirt Curved Side Seamsfrom my post about Wide Shoulder Adjustments. The adjustment really improves the fit in the shoulders (although I probably still needed 1/4 inch more width).  I also removed two inches from the bodice length at the waist because my muslin looked like a tunic on me.  My height is right on the edge of petite and I seem to have a proportionately short torso.


The Carolina Tee is a relaxed fit shirt with a curved hemline.  The black one is comfortable but the Navy and polka dot one isn’t.  That’s because the navy doesn’t have enough stretch.  My mistake. I like the length and width of the sleeves. (I forgot to hem the black one…sometime I get so excited to try it on that I can’t wait for hems.  And I then I forget them.)Curved Hem

The side seam curves are not hitting at my waist and are especially obvious in the black shirt.  I took out the two inches at the shorten line, but that curve just needs to be higher on me.  I think the shirt will give more of a slimming effect if I raise that curve 2-3 inches.

The shoulder seam shifts to the back about an inch instead of running along the top of my shoulder.  Other shirts also shift toward the back on me, but it’s more exaggerated with this pattern. Along with the shoulder seam pulling back, I’m getting wrinkles coming from the armpit to the top of my bust.


I don’t usually comment on the pattern pieces themselves, but the armcye for the Carolina Tee is odd.  Because the side seams are curved they match the armcye toward the back.  The pattern
Armcyepieces have notches to designate where the back and front pieces meet at the armcye, which is great and super helpful. However,  the armcye is really narrow and short.  Compared to other T-Shirt patterns, it hits about 1/2 inch higher into my armpit.  I wouldn’t mind that if I wasn’t getting wrinkles  coming from the armcye.

In addition to a funny shaped armcye (which looks like it needs to be at least scooped more in the front) the Carolina Tee has a very tall sleeve cap with little curve at the top or at the bottom to go under the arms.  The sleeve is cut on the fold and is short-I clearly needed to stretch the sleeve cap to make it fit the armcye.  Since the side seams hit toward the back armcye as part of the design, knowing where to line up the underarm seam is tricky.  And the pattern pieces do not have a notch or marking to indicate where that should be.

The grading between sizes of the Carolin Tee is also inconsistent. For example, the front armcye curve has a different shape from size to size-some more curved than others.

I believe the shifted shoulder seam and the bust wrinkles can be fixed or at least improved by giving the back of the armcye more length and making the bottom of the armcye more rounded/scooped.  Okay, and also adding some length to the sleeve cap so it fits the armcye without stretching.


Overall, I love the style of the Carolina Tee-that’s why I bought it!  I love how the side seams are just a twist on a regular t shirt but give it so much interest with the potential of slimming the waist.  As long as the smallest part of the curve is actually at the waist.  I may try making the black shirt a high low hem instead of curved to see if it helps that particular shirt at all.


Overall, I was unimpressed with the pattern.  Which is disappointing because the style is cute and I like how it looks.


  • Pattern: Carolina Tee
  • Designer: Shwin Designs
  • Style:Relaxed T-shirt with curved side seams and curved hem
  • Fabric: Navy is ponte, polka dots is interlock; black and striped are rayon spandex
  • Size Range: XXS-XXXL
  • Size made: S graded to M in waist
  • Lengths: 1
  • Sleeve lengths: 2-long and short
  • Sleeves cut on Fold:Yes
  • Alterations/Hacks: Yes-Wide Shoulder Adjustment and 2″ out at waist to make shorter
  • Instructions: Simple instructions with mix of illustrations and pictures from two different shirts
  • Seam Allowance: 3/8″
  • Layers: yes
  • Trimless: Yes
  • Dislikes or desired changes? The armcye is really funny shaped and makes a large wrinkle from armpit to bust
  • Sew again?  probably not. I’m not confident I can fix the problems.
  • Would you recommend it to others? No.