Paola Shirt Hack
Hello! Joy here AKA @joy.margot on Instagram. If you follow me over there or if you read my last blog post for Sew Me Sunshine, you may have seen that sewing had taken a bit of a back seat for me in recent years. Amazingly, sewing my Liberty Archer Button Up totally brought back my sew-jo and I’ve sewn three shirts since! They’re an absolute staple in my wardrobe as they keep me covered but not too hot in the summer, and they’re great for layering in autumn and winter.
While I have quite a few long and mid-length sleeved shirts, my wardrobe was severely lacking short-sleeved shirts and I’ve been on a mission to change that this year. First up, I sewed a Tobias Konrath Laguna shirt in Sew Me Sunshine’s washed white linen and I still have a little linen left over for some matching shorts.
Next, I sewed a hack of the Fabrics Store Paola Jacket in Sew Me Sunshine’s marled rust stripe cotton linen. I’ve made a couple of shirt hacks from this pattern now and it’s such a good base to work from. I made quite a few changes to the original pattern to get the look I wanted and borrowed features from the Tobias Konrath Laguna shirt, the Helen’s Closet Gilbert Top and the Grainline Studio Archer Button Up:
- Shortened the pattern overall - I think by around two inches
- Shortened the sleeves to short sleeves
- Left off the top button to create a camp collar
- Changed the angle of the collar piece to make it less pointed
- Sewed with a 1cm seam allowance to make it slightly boxier
- Added a split hem
- Added a lined back yoke
- Added a back pleat for more volume
- Removed the rounded jacket pockets and added a pointed chest pocket
- Left off the top stitching, mostly because I hate doing it!
Now that I see it written down, it’s a lot and I’m sure some are people are wondering “why not just use another pattern?” which is a totally valid point! I’ve made the Gilbert Top in the past but it didn’t quite work for me and I much preferred the fit of this hacked pattern.
If you want to add a back yoke to a shirt pattern, all you need to do is split your back pattern piece horizontally across the back - I referred to another pattern to get an idea of how tall the yoke should be - then add seam allowance to both pieces at the cut line. I then followed the Gilbert Top instructions for the burrito method with a front-faced camp collar shirt.
I fell hard for the new Liberty fabrics at Sew Me Sunshine’s birthday party, and knew they’d be perfect for creating another short-sleeved shirt. I had to enlist the help of Yvette and Doug from Stash Hub to help me choose, and eventually we settled on Salter’s Forest Piccadilly Cotton Poplin. As you may know if you follow me on Instagram, I am a BIG fan of autumn and Halloween. As soon as September and October roll around, I wanna get all dressed up in my cosy autumn clothes but alas, it’s usually still too warm. I figured a short-sleeved shirt in an autumnal print would be the perfect solution: Cool enough to wear if it’s still 25°C out, but perfect for layering with my snuggly knits as it gets cooler. I just adore the playful animal illustrations tucked amongst the trees and flowers and I love that its inspired by Artemis, the ancient Roman goddess of the wild.
I wanted to create something similar to my rust stripe Paola hack, but with a few minor tweaks:
- I replaced the straight split hem with a curved hem, copied from the Grainline Archer pattern
- I removed the back pleat to reduce the volume for easier layering
- I also removed the chest pocket, mostly because I didn’t want to pattern match it!
- I added a line of piping to the back yoke to make more of a feature of it
In my infinite wisdom, I decided to pattern match both the front placket and the back yoke. Thankfully, the pattern repeat is quite small so I didn’t need much additional fabric to factor this in. I didn’t bother with my last Liberty shirt because it had a separate placket piece and I couldn’t face matching three pieces, but it’s pretty straightforward with a faced shirt front: You just need to match the centre point of the shirt i.e. the line where your buttons and buttonholes go. The line of piping on the back also helps conceal a slightly imperfect match across the yoke. Life hack!
This was my first time using Liberty’s Piccadilly cotton poplin and needless to say, it was an absolute delight to sew and press. It’s slightly thicker than Tana Lawn™ but still has a lovely smooth texture and none of that crunchy starchiness you get with cheaper poplins. I managed to get nice crisp points on my collar with it thanks to this tip from @gingerthreadgrl. You’re welcome.
I picked up these stunning copper foil buttons from the Ethel & Joan pop up at Sew Me Sunshine’s birthday party. They go *SO* perfectly with the fabric that they actually blend in a little too well but I love how they sparkle where the lights catches them. I loved this design so much that I actually bought them in two different sizes so keep your eyes peeled for my next project!
I’m so happy with how this Paola shirt hack turned out and I know I’m going to get so much wear out of it over the next few months. I have a few autumnal-colour knits and jackets and it just pairs so wonderfully with all of them! Here is it paired with my True Bias Marlo Sweater in Meet Milk Coda Interlock. I love making shirts with camp collars as they seem to come together very quickly compared to shirts with collar stands. I’m usually a pretty slow sewist and most projects take me multiple weekends, but I managed to get this shirt sewn in one weekend which felt like a real achievement!
*Joy was provided the fabric of her choice free of charge for her blog post & also provided with a £50 voucher*