Sewing patterns are not law…FACT!
I really like to use patterns, they give me a great starting block….but there is absolutely no reason why they always have to be stuck to. Some of the best clothes I’ve made have been by modifying a pattern or thinking about how I can approach the design in a slightly different way.
There’s nothing more satisfying than to look at a sewing pattern and think “hummm I wonder if I could just do this little change here” and then it actually working out in the long run. I know Neela from the Great British Sewing Bee is a great fan of this, I had once shown her a Lekala.co pattern for my summer dress in week one and only a matter of weeks later she was wearing a dress that incorporated the top half from this and the bottom half from another. Gorgeous!
So here I’m encouraging you not to panic or worry, but instead to embrace your inner creative side. We all have it, that’s why we love making and stitching. For your next project why don’t you reuse an existing pattern and follow some of the below tips to create a different garment?
It’s important to take your time to understand how a sewing pattern reads, what the markings mean, how it all comes together as a sequential process and results in a great wearable garment.
Quite often I tend to make the garment as the pattern suggests. But then the next time around I perhaps try them in a different fabric, or maybe change the neckline, add an embellishment here and there. The options are endless.
You only have to look at some of the fantastic alterations that have been done on GBSB over the last three years to see that there’s endless possibilities, take Jenni’s T-shirt modification for example, who would have had the courage to give that a go.
I’d made a sheer blouse for Gemma a little while back in a lovely floaty georgette, the pattern was a Simplicity New Look 6035. In the instructions it has a gather on the front neck edge to bring this up into a slight ruffle. I wondered if I could, instead of this do it in a printed cotton and bring the front neck edge together as two inverted pleats almost meeting in the front centre.
The change was simple, I had the neck binding cut so an idea of how far the gather brought the neck edge in, so all I had to do was use this measurement, halve it and create two crisp knife pleats pointing inwards.
Once I’ve made sure these are evenly spaced and symmetrical I run a few edge stitches from the neck edge downwards to hold them in place I then press them well for the first third and allow the lower two thirds to fall naturally. Simple but effective.
Perhaps it doesn’t even need to be a pattern. You can always adapt something that was shop brought, like the jumper that I changed for Gems with some sparkly sequins on the shoulders.
Remember, there’s no pattern police out there waiting to tell you off for giving it a try, so I say why not….Go Sew for it!