With hundreds of t-shirt patterns out there, it’s hard to know which one will fit best or even how they differ. I wanted a classic tee that is fitted through the shoulder and bust with a set-in sleeve. Today’s post compares two t-shirt patterns that fit these criteria, the Pattern Scout Comfi tee and the Cashmerette Concord tee. Below I’ll compare the flat pattern pieces for both, and in my next post, I’ll sew both shirts to analyze the fit on my body.
Both patterns come with 3 bra cup options per size, which is relatively rare across all t-shirt patterns, and it’s why I chose these two for a closer look. Both patterns also come in a high neck and scoop neck view, with options for long and short sleeves. Concord has an additional V-neck view, mid-sleeve length, and an optional sleeve tab. Comfi comes bundled with an additional knit shorts and a knit pants pattern. So you’ll get plenty of options no matter which pattern you choose.
The fit and silouette of these two patterns turns out to be quite different, and I learned a lot about t-shirt drafting by comparing the two. Let’s dive in!
Sizing and Grading
The sizing for Concord and Comfi is similar, making these patterns ideal to compare.
The grade rule at the bust, waist, and hip is identical, and the distribution of sizes throughout the size range is also similar. The one major difference is that the Comfi size range starts and stops a few inches smaller than Concord.
Choosing a size
I have a 37″ high bust and 40.5-41″ full bust, which places me at a 14 C cup in the Comfi and a 12 E/F cup in the Concord.
A note about choosing a size for the Comfi: my high bust falls in between the size 12 and 14, and my full bust measurement puts me just outside the largest cup size for a size 12. According to the Comfi instructions, if you encounter this issue you are supposed to size up, which is why I chose the 14 C cup rather than the 12 D cup.
Cashmerette has a nice size calculator that you can use to find your correct size in their patterns here. Make sure you take your high bust measurement without a bra on. I missed this instruction at first, and you may end up choosing the wrong size if your measurements are off, so heed the instructions. Thanks to @puppeteeringacademic for the heads up on that one.
Drafting and Fit
Below, Comfi size 14 C is in orange and Concord size 12 E/F is in blue.
Obviously, Comfi is more fitted through the waist and hip, and the scoop neckline is a bit narrower, so the silhouette will be different. But despite that, these two patterns share a lot of similarities, particularly the identical bust circumference (both sizes above are drafted for a 41″ bust), identical shoulder slope, and similar drafting for the back shoulder and armhole.
These similarities in the upper bodice allow us to better understand the major differences: the front shoulder and armhole. Concord has a much smaller front shoulder; it is 3/4 inch shorter in height and up to 1 inch narrower in width compared to Comfi.
Above I’m showing the width of the upper chest so you can see the difference between the front pieces. Spoiler alert, when I take the corresponding measurement on my body, it matches almost exactly with the Concord shoulder dimensions.
The shape of the front armhole curve is also very different. Concord has an asymmetrical armhole that is more scooped out in the front, forming more of an a L-shape. By comparison, Comfi’s armhole forms a symmetrical champagne glass shape that is 1 inch narrower.
I’ve not been able to find much discussion of what a more L-shaped, deeply scooped armhole does to the fit of a t-shirt, but in my next post, I’ll show you what it looks like on my body. More width in an armhole can mean that a pattern was intended for body with more depth. When more fabric is allocated for the sides of the bodice, this creates a longer “hook” on the lower portion of the front armhole, similar to a crotch hook. This hook on the lower armhole normally grows as you size up (larger bodies tend to be deeper than smaller ones), but Concord assumes more body depth than Comfi even at the smallest sizes. This shaping is also independent of cup size, since the armhole shape on both patterns does not change with different cup options.
When I align both armhole curves on top of each other, you can also see that not only is Concord’s front shoulder shorter and narrower than Comfi’s, but it is also slightly more angled toward the back. If you imagine closing the shoulder seams on both patterns, Comfi’s shoulder seam will sit directly above the side seam while Concord’s will fall more forward on the body (to the right in the image above).
The sleeves on both patterns also give several clues about fit. They have the same bicep circumference (horizontal dashed line), but Concord’s sleeve head is 1/2 inch taller and 3/4 inch wider. Concord also has more fabric in the sleeve head distributed asymmetrically to the front of the body, whereas Comfi is symmetrical about the center axis. This makes sense given what we know about the shape of the armholes.
Finally, the Comfi long sleeve is 3 inches longer than Concord, likely due to the fact that these patterns were drafted for different heights, so double check your arm measurements before you cut your fabric.
So what does it all mean? The only way for me to really know is to make both and see how they fit. In the meantime, though, a few thoughts to tide you over:
- Shoulder and armhole fit. No doubt about it, those shoulders are going to fit very differently. I’m tempted to say that because I have a narrow, forward shoulder, that Concord will be the winner for me. However, the armhole seam is a design element as much as anything, and just because the two patterns differ doesn’t mean one won’t fit or is “wrong”. A good analogy is the crotch curve on a pair of jeans versus that on a pair of relaxed trousers. Both curves fit the same area of the body, but they are drafted differently to achieve a different fit and visual effect. So I’m reserving my judgement until I can try both t-shirts on my body.
- Look at your patterns. I was really temped to skip over the nuances in the drafting and get right to the side-by-side fit comparisons. However, if there’s one thing I’ve learned from being a scientist, it’s to never underestimate the power of careful observation. Taking the time to study the differences helps me understand why I encounter certain fit issues with one pattern and not the other. Hopefully it’s helpful for you, too.
In part 2 of this series, I’ll show you what both t-shirts look like when sewn up in the same fabric so we can map all these 2D differences onto a 3D body. Stay tuned!