Shelly Swimshirt: Designer Notes

Shelly is my first design. It was born out of the need for shirts that can compress very tight (for sensory needs stemming from autism), and the lack of suitable ready made shirts. Undersized swim shirts are tight enough, but expose the belly and pinch in the armpits, so I set out to design a shirt that would be both comfortable and therapeutic.

Raglan sleeves are used to provide additional flexibility and mobility in the armpit, and are very important for very tight clothes.

That said, Shelly is a simple and versatile design capable of making knit tops over a wide range of eases, from tightly compressive compression shirts, to loose raglan tees. It makes a great first knit garment project, as it only uses five pieces of fabric cut from four pattern pieces, and features simple seams that can be entirely made with a serger/overlocker. It’s also fairly tolerant of small errors in measuring/cutting/sewing due to the elastic nature of knits, especially swim fabric, and the lack of any fine features requiring too much attention to detail on Shelly.

The name is chosen because I like the beach and I like seashells.