Pattern Hack: Hiking shirt with armpit and back vents

This is the same pattern as in my previous post, but this time with twist. The fabric is one of those tech hiking fabrics, supposedly with moisture management and UV protection, that I see so often in RTW hiking shirts. It’s been in my stash for ages and I’ve always had plans to use it make a hiking shirt with all the bells and whistles.

pocket detail

The photo below is a tech drawing that I did last year and is fairly close to what I was after. The main shape and front pockets are based on the Knipmode pattern, but with the back yoke modified to include a mesh panel and venting. I think the yoke was based on a Columbia shirt.

Knipmode overshirt crossed with a Columbia hiking shirt

I was a bit concerned about the fabric being too hot for our conditions and more like wearing a plastic bag. Just in case, I decided to make the back vent a lot bigger and to add a vent into the armpit.

The back yoke is extended down to the middle of the back. The inner yoke is made from a sports mesh and joins onto the back piece. For the back flap, I’ve extended the yoke pattern down for a 1″ overlap and shaped it into a gentle V. It also has a facing that finishes 1″ above the top edge of the mesh.

back vent
back yoke facing
inside mesh yoke

The armpit gusset/vent idea was pilfered from one of DH’s shirts. It is basically a rectangle stitched into the side seam, extending 2-3″ above and below the armhole. I say “basically” very loosely, because it was a bit harder to stitch in that I thought. It closes with a fabric loop and small button.

sleeve vent

The only other modification was to change the shape of the hem to me more shirt-tail in shape.

sleeve placket

A lot is said about how great these tech fabrics are, but I tend to find that don’t breathe as well as natural fibres and are usually too hot and sweaty to wear. I’m also a little dubious about the SPF rating as the shirt is slightly see-thru. I’m hoping to be proved wrong with this shirt, but I have my reservations. With a long hot summer predicted, I’ll certainly get a change to try it out.

Silver hiking shirt – Front
Silver hiking shirt – Back


At a Glance:


Pattern Knipmode #6 August 2012
Fabric Moisture control, sunblock tech shirting
Difficulty 4/5 – the shirt is relatively easy to put together.  Vents add time  and the pocket  the construction is a little different to the normal
End Result ?/5 –  Jury is still out on the fabric but I like the design changes
Cost AU$40 ( mostly in shipping charges).

7 thoughts on “Pattern Hack: Hiking shirt with armpit and back vents

  1. My husband always wore Columbia shirts to fish in the summer heat, and I live in the American south where the heat and humidity is very high in the summer. He found he liked the cotton shirts with the mesh vents much more than the tech fabric. I hope your shirt works well for hiking. I think your modifications are perfect for the mesh vents. You are a fearless hacker of patterns!


  2. That’s great! I have a hiking shirt with that mesh yoke that I found in the thrift store. I actually really like mine, except for the fact that it closes up with snaps and…. well, I have children.

    The underarm vent is very clever. Is the button noticeable or a bother?


    1. Sounds like you have scored a bargain with you shirt. I thought that the button might be a problem but DH told me that I never noticed the ones in his shirt. So far it hasn’t been a problem


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