One of my favorite parts of sewing my own clothes is being able to incorporate new design elements into silhouettes I love to wear.  We all have a go-to favorite shirt in our closet. Most seamstresses I know have a few “greatest hits” patterns. Lots of us steal the core design from our favorites because we already know they fit and flatter, and fit is often the most time consuming part of making a garment.  “Pattern hacking” is especially easy if you’re using patterns in the same sizes from the same designer because they use the same design block and measurements. Kind of like how Lego from any and every set will always fit together.   I’ve used the sleeves from Colette’s Aster blouse and put them onto the Sorbetto tank over and over again. The resulting simple shirt is a staple in my wardrobe.  Using elements from different pattern makers can be a little more challenging,  but with a little problem solving its a cinch.


akita datura cloud9 voile copy

This is my inspiration board.  I recently started to document my ideas in a project planning binder to get me more excited about using the beautiful fabric that I have in my stash so I can go “shopping” when I’m not sure what I want to work on next, also so I can get my supplies in order before I get started on a project (I might have mentioned in the past how much I hate coats and clark zippers)


What brought me to my design decision:   I wanted to make the Akita blouse from Seamwork because the single-piece construction on the sleeves gives it a cute smock-like aesthetic, but lately I’ve been underwhelmed with the fit of Colette’s blouses. Their side seams are always straight these days, and straight, vertical seams just don’t show my curves any love.  Nonetheless, I think the architectural shape of the sleeves fit in very  well with the Scandinavian modern feel I get from the fabric.  I mentioned “greatest hits” patterns in my introduction, and Deer and Doe’s Datura blouse is definitely one of those.  I love the loose fit of the blouse and the movement from button-back detail, but I don’t really like to wear tank tops to work unless I’m layering, and its kind of a sin to cover up the back detail of the shirt, anyway.  I’ve been meaning to make a sleeved version of the Datura blouse, and the economical use of fabric due to the two-piece back construction further supported the decision to use it as the body of the shirt.  So, take the top of the Akita and use it to add on sleeves to the yoke of my beloved Datura blouse.

The first step is figuring out what sizes to use.  Choose your normal size in the main body of the shirt. Look at the corresponding finished garment measurements and match them up to get the correct matching size across pattern makers.


Spoiler alert: I am not a size 2. It was easier to go for a smaller size in my example images.


Trace onto paper and cut out the front and back yoke pattern pieces and mark the seam allowance at the shoulder.  Match up the shoulder lines and the front fold lines.

Datura Pattern copy

Now move over to the prep work on your Akita pattern.  Note that the marked circles indicate where the armhole gets sewn together, therefore halfway between those two points would indicate where the imaginary shoulder seam line would be. Measure and mark these elements.


Now match up the center fold line and the shoulder seam lines (I had to flip the Datura Pattern)

Akita copy3

Now trace the new pattern and blend lines into the important construction elements of the yoke.  I know the armpit seams of the Datura blouse sews together beautifully, so I am being mindful to retain those elements for ease of construction.


Clean up your final pattern piece and you’re ready to go!

Akita copy6I used an active wear 4-way stretch double knit scrap piece I had available in my stash for the yoke of my shirt. I ended up really liking the freedom of movement it gives me as well as the body it gives the sleeve. It almost behaves like a scuba knit.  Oh, and the best part is I got to make a matching shirt for my friend who gifted me the geometric floral voile fabric.  2 shirts out of 1.5 yards of primo organic voile fabric WITH pattern matching. Can I get an Amen?


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