The Fancy Jane Shirt


The Fancy Jane shirt.  Because without the small-but so important-detail of the lace insert in the sleeves, it would be a Plain Jane shirt.  Clever?  No?  My husband would say it's a reach, but I get to name my designs, so it's the Fancy Jane.  Regardless of your thoughts on the name, who doesn't love lace and black?  I've resolved to add some black shirts and blouses to my wardrobe and this has been the perfect item to rekindle my love of black clothing!  It's classic and simple enough that it feels easy to style, and the lace adds just the right amount of detail to make me feel fancier than if I were wearing a plain tee (which I do! all the time).  It's also a medium weight knit, so it's machine washable and doesn't require ironing with each wash.  Which fits into my low-fuss mom life perfectly.

The fabric for this is a  black knit jersey with this black lace insert in the sleeves.

The Pattern

I used our free shift dress pattern (If you are a subscriber, you already have access to it, if not, find it on our sidebar of the home page.  All you have to do is subscribe!) as my base and just adjusted the sleeve, length, and side width.  I typically wear a size 2 or 4 in blouses, so I used the size 4 with the adjustments listed below.  If you are between sizes, I would recommend sizing up.  This shirt fits best slightly loose.

Taking Measurements

  1. Measure your arm length.  You can make your sleeves whatever length you prefer.  Be sure to add 1/2" seam allowance.
  2. Measure from the nape of your neck to mid-bum for your back measurement.
  3. Your front piece will be 1" shorter than the back piece, so simply measure from the top of the shoulder to the bottom of your back piece and subtract 1" from that for your front piece.  You will need to measure your front piece from the top of the shoulder for this part of the patter adjustment.  (since the neck of the pattern is lower in the front than the back, you cannot simply subtract one inch from the nape to bum measurement of the back piece)

The Sleeve

  1. Mark and cut the sleeves as you would for the shift dress.  Then fold one of the sleeves in half and mark the fold line with a fabric marker or chalk.  Lay the marked sleeve on top of the other and cut straight down the line you drew, cutting both sleeves in half.
  2. Whatever length you chose for your sleeve will also be the measurement for the length of your lace insert.  The lace insert will be a rectangle with a slight curve at the top to follow the curve of the sleeve pattern.  The width of your lace insert can be whatever width you like most.  I chose 2.5" because I wanted a full sleeve and I really loved the lace that I chose.  I used a ruler to draw this rectangle pattern and then drew the slight curve at the top to match the curve of the sleeve.  
  3. Now mark and cut your lace inserts.  I've found that it works better to pin the two layers of lace together before I mark and cut it just to keep it from sliding and pulling as I cut it, resulting in two mismatched pieces.

When you sew the insert into the sleeve, it helps to stablize the lace and keep it from fraying to do a top stitch on the seam where you sewed the lace onto the knit portion of the sleeve.

The Side Seam Adjustment

  1. Easy-peasy!  Just add 1.5" to the side seam at the bottom of the shirt pattern, starting the sleeve and marking a slight diagonal line to the bottom of the side seam-this creates a slightly flared look instead of the body shaping curve of the shift dress pattern.


  1. My shirt has a side split hem, you can use this tutorial for sewing instructions.
  2. Be sure to press all of your seams!  We're always going to say that. ;) 

Amy MocasShirt