Have you always wondered about pattern-making and wish you knew how to work all those drafting rulers to create your own stylized sewing patterns? When you learn pattern-making it really opens an exciting door to your sewing practice. I remember when I first learned pattern-making after a couple years of sewing; I instantly fell in love with all the customization options, so I want every sewist to learn!
Pattern making is altering the style of a pattern, without compromising the fit. A starting place can be a set of slopers (base patterns to establish fit) or a stylized sewing pattern that is in your stash — this is currently more often called a “pattern hack” in the sewing sphere.
Throughout the year we are offering several live interactive workshops with me to build the skills that you need to know to successfully alter your pattern’s styles as well as draft patterns from scratch!
Let’s start at the beginning with Pattern Making 101.
Do you ever come across a pattern, but you wish it had pockets? Or pleats instead of a dart? Maybe you want to add more fullness, or remove a style line? This is pattern-making.
In the above example I’m converting a dart into a pleat while simultaneously adding a bit more fullness.
With stylized patterns you already own with separate pattern pieces, you can eliminate a style line (seam) by taping those pieces together and cutting as one. Altering a neckline is also a simple way to change up the look of a top — just remember about finishing details! In Pattern Making 101, I’ll go over how to draft facings to new neckline styles.
A hem alteration is another simple modification you can do to establish a new silhouette and style. This is an example of a hi-low hemline that utilizes curved rulers. I’ll cover all the tools and rulers you will need to get started and how to use them effectively.
You’ll gain so much confidence to dive back into your sewing pattern stash to change little things to suit it to your fabric and desired style — or make many changes! So grab those rulers and paper to hack something you have already made in a new way.
Example Pattern Hack: Adding a Hem Band
Below is one of my past “Mash Ups” that I did a simple hem-band hack with. Start small, and by the end of all our skill-building workshops throughout the year, you will be slashing and spreading to add style lines, fullness, dart rotations and more!
On the left is the original pattern photograph, then on the right we have my version! Faux fur is not the easiest to hem, so I thought drafting a hem band to sew the faux fur into would be a simple and neater finish.
Anything that you do in terms of changing the pattern style is a pattern-making hack. You’ll see that’s so easy to start out. Also take a listen to our Sew & Tell podcast episode about pattern hacking.
Hacking the Pattern
To the bottom of my pattern, I simply taped on some paper and mapped out a hem band my desired width. When starting out, I do suggest using lines and rulers to plan modifications so you can visualize proportions.
Once you get more advanced, you can simply add these types of details by measuring the hem circumference and cutting a band from those dimensions factoring in seam allowances and finishing widths.
This hem band is a cut two as the bottom of band is a seam and not on the fold. Just remember, for anything you add in terms of new pieces and seam lines, you need to add seam allowance. I’ll go through that process in the Pattern Making 101 course!
Another thing you need to take into consideration when changing pattern attributes is the sewing instructions. You’ll need to know how to sew that component of the project without the specific instructions.
This can be easily done by referring other pattern instructions you may have that have a similar construction detail, or just from sewing experience knowing how to sew such things.
Sure glad I made this top! It is so warm, and my added band both finishes the bottom and holds in the heat.
Want to learn more? In the Pattern Making 101 course you’ll be provided with your own set of slopers to use as a template for pattern making, and each session will guide you through different pattern making practices on the bodice, sleeve and skirt!
By the end of this course, you will be confident with pattern making and using your slopers to bring your design ideas to life. Come learn and see the potential and endless possibilities that slopers and pattern making have to enhance your sewing experience. Join me here!
Happy Pattern Making!