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Short-sleeve Pierce Shirt Hack

At the beginning of the design process for the Pierce Shirt, I planned to offer two views – a long-sleeve and a short-sleeve version. As the development progressed, it slowly became too much to handle two different pattern layouts, so I decided to drop the short-sleeve view and focus solely on the long-sleeved version. Now that the pattern has been released, I wanted to revisit the short-sleeve version and show you how to make one for yourself.

For this hack, we will work directly with the printed pattern pieces. You will adjust the sleeve length and manipulate the pattern layout to work better with the shortened sleeves. After you have developed your new pattern layout, you will be able to measure it to determine your fabric requirements.

Note that for this particular hack, the result is minimal waste, not zero waste, as the end pattern layout is not a complete rectangle. There may be other ways to approach this pattern hack, and I welcome you to play with the pattern layout to see what you can come up with. The pattern layout for the Pierce Shirt is quite versatile and can be used as a base for multiple designs.

Okay, let’s get started! The changes you will make to the pattern layout are relatively straightforward. If you have already made the long-sleeved version, you will understand how the pattern comes together, which will make hacking the pattern a bit easier—although this is not necessary.

Prep work:

Before we start the hacking, you will need to print the pattern layout of your selected size, assemble it, and cut it out as directed if you haven’t already. Once all the pieces are cut out, set aside the 7-COLLAR, 8-CUFF, 6-PATCH POCKETS, 9-BIAS-BINDING, and 10-OPTIONAL HANG LOOP pattern pieces. If you are making Size D-I, you will not need 11- OPTIONAL MENDING PATCH or TEST STRIP (the irregular pattern piece between the 1-BACK and 2-LOWER FRONT).

Step 1: Shorten 1-BACK and 2-LOWER FRONT sleeves

Take the 1-BACK and 2-LOWER FRONT pattern pieces and mark the point on the sleeves where the underarm curve ends (about 3″(7.6cm) away from the side seam edge). At this point, draw a new sleeve opening edge perpendicular to the straight edge of the sleeve, as shown below in red. Fold the excess sleeve length back and out of the way (or you can cut it off if you wish). This line is the new sleeve length of the BACK and LOWER FRONT pieces.

Once the sleeves are shortened on the 1-BACK and the 2-LOWER FRONT, you can position the pieces so they are butted up next to each other.

Step 2: Shorten 3-UPPER FRONT sleeve

To adjust the 3-UPPER FRONT, align the edge of the neckline openings on the 3-UPPER FRONT and 1-BACK, as shown below with the blue dashed line. To do this accurately, you can lay the 3-UPPER FRONT pattern piece on top of the 1-BACK piece. You can now mark the sleeve length of the 3-UPPER FRONT piece. It should match the sleeve length of the 1-BACK. The 2-LOWER FRONT piece should be 1.5″(3.8cm) wider than the 3-UPPER FRONT.

Step 3: Arrange updated pattern layout

Once the 3-UPPER FRONT sleeve length has been adjusted, you can position the angled sleeve edge against the angled sleeve edge of the 1-BACK piece. Make sure that the center front of the 3-UPPER FRONT is in line with the sleeve edge of the 1-BACK piece (as shown below). Now, you will find a place to put the remaining needed pattern pieces. I have eliminated the 8-CUFF piece, as we will not need it for this hack.

There are a couple of ways to lay out the remaining pieces. You can play with the pattern pieces directly on fabric (as shown below) or work on a large table or the floor to determine the required fabric for your updated layout. As you can see, the original pattern pieces don’t fit perfectly into the updated pattern layout.

The 6-PATCH POCKET, 9-BIAS BINDING, and 10-OPTIONAL HANG LOOP pattern pieces are flexible and can be adjusted to fit within the new pattern layout without much issue. The 7-COLLAR pieces must remain their original size to fit the garment once sewn. Although, the 7-COLLAR pieces can be cut as one, as shown below, but you must eliminate the 1/2″(1.3cm) seam allowance at the center of the piece.

The images below show the adjusted pattern pieces in the updated layouts. You can make new pattern pieces for the 6-PATCH POCKET, 9-BIAS BINDING, and 10-OPTIONAL HANG LOOP, or you can draft the edges directly to the fabric when cutting.

At this point, you will be able to determine your required amount of fabric by measuring the perimeter of the updated layout. Remember to multiply the length by 2. The first option will use a wider width of fabric but less length, and the second option will use less width but a longer length.

Step 4: Sew

Now that you have the new pattern layout, you can continue as directed in the pattern instructions. For my version, I finished the sleeves with bias binding. I used the French bias binding method, which is the same process used at the hem of the shirt. I also adjusted the position of my patch pocket by aligning the top edge of the pocket with the seam of the upper front.

That’s it! If you have any questions regarding this hack or the original pattern, don’t hesitate to reach out – I look forward to seeing more short-sleeved Pierce Shirts out in the world.

Happy making!

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