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CANARY Pattern Hacking! DIY Short sleeve button-up shirt, cinched waist, and frayed collar

Updated: May 29

DIY linen button up short sleeve shirt sewing pattern

Hi everyone, Leah here! The CANARY shirt sewing pattern has been a huge crowd favorite, and with warmer weather upon us, I want to share some fun ideas on how you can stretch your CANARY pattern to get even more use out of it!

I used these exact alterations to create a short sleeve button up shirt that I gave a whole new name to in my made-to-measure shop, I call it the LUNA shirt!

We'll be exploring:

I added the elastic + waist ties to version B, because I wanted to be able to wear this crop top version without a bra, and sometimes I feel like the loose flowy crop (Version B in the original pattern) can be a little bit risky when I raise my arms up too high. Adding the cinching at the waist helps keep everyone nice and snug :)

Here is the CANARY sewing pattern, if you haven't grabbed yours yet!


DIY linen button up short sleeve shirt sewing pattern

If your fabric has a selvage edge (the edge that is bound by the manufacturer) that is pretty, you can add it as a design element to your collar stand!

Frayed collar sewing tutorial

Cut a strip of the selvage that is 1/2"-3/4" tall, with a length long enough to wrap around the 2 rounded and 1 long top edge of your collar stand.

selvage edge linen

Your selvage edge isn't useable? You can also get the same effect by using a 3/4"- 1" tall strip of your fabric, cut on the bias (diagonal). Use the same steps that I show in the video below, but use your bias strip instead of the selvage strip. After turning the collar stand right side out, use a toothbrush or your fingers to roughen up the fraying fibers. Trim the frayed threads to your desired length.

Here is a video tutorial where I show step-by-step how to add a selvage edge to the collar stand (tutorial starts at the 8-minute mark).



On the pattern, shorten the sleeve length to 8".

Canary pattern hack

Attach the sleeve to the bodice and hem it, the same way that you would for the long sleeve (Version A).

short sleeve pattern hack


Timing: Sew this step after you have finished your underarms/side seams and hemmed your sleeves, but BEFORE adding your buttons!

Additional supplies needed:

1/2" elastic, at a length of...

[Bodice Back TOTAL hemline length] - 5"

So for example, I wear XS, and the bodice back pattern piece is 9.5" wide at the bottom hem. If I multiply this by two to get the TOTAL hemline length, I get 19". I will cut my elastic at 19-5", which is 14".

Two strips of fabric, cut on the straight grain, for the waist ties. They should be cut at 1.5" tall by...

[Bodice Front single side hemline length] + 14".

So for example, wearing XS, the bodice front pattern piece is 14" wide at the bottom hem. I will cut my waist tie at 28" (which is 14+14).

After making any adjustments for your height (use my Height Adjustment Calculator to get yours precise!) add 2" to the bottom of the bodice front and bodice back pattern pieces.

Create the bottom hem/channel:

  1. Serge or zig-zag stitch the bottom edge of the bodice.

  2. Fold upwards 3/4" and press. Pin. Stitch 1/8" from the serged edge, leaving a 1" opening at each of the side seams (this is where you will insert your elastic and waist ties).

CANARY sewing pattern hack

Create and insert front waist ties:

  1. Cut 2 strips of fabric on the straight grain.

CANARY sewing pattern hack

2. Fold each long strip in half length-wise, press.

CANARY sewing pattern hack

3. Turn this into a tube by stitching along the long side, 1/8" from the raw edges.

CANARY sewing pattern hack

4. Turn the tube right side out using a safety pin or other turning tool.

CANARY sewing pattern hack

5. Use a safety pin to insert the waist tie into the opening at the waist side seam, through the front waistband, and popping out at the center front.

CANARY sewing pattern hack

adding a cinched waist to sewing pattern

6. Tuck in and leave the tail end overlapping into the back waistband by 1/2". Pin to hold it for now.

adding a cinched waist to sewing pattern

7. You could tie a knot at the loose ends or finish them by turning them under.

adding a cinched waist to sewing pattern

Insert back elastic:

  1. Insert 1/2" elastic into the back bodice channel using a safety pin or bodkin, leaving a 1/2" tail at the end to tuck into the channel and overlap into the front waistband.

adding a cinched waist to sewing pattern
adding a cinched waist to sewing pattern
adding a cinched waist to sewing pattern
adding a cinched waist to sewing pattern

2. Pin everything to hold it in place (the front waist ties and the back elastic, overlapping at the side seam).

adding a cinched waist to sewing pattern

3. Stitch a vertical line over the side seam, "stitching in the ditch" (aka right on top of the side seam that is already there).

adding a cinched waist to sewing pattern

And that finishes hack #3, the cinched waist!



Have you tried any other creative alterations with the CANARY sewing pattern? Please do send me a photo so I can ooooooh and ahhhh at it!! I'd love to add the details to the list here.

And if you have any questions about the hacks above, please email me at




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