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Made By A Fabricista: Hacking Patterns

Do you like to hack your sewing patterns?  To hack a pattern, you are basically altering it from its original design.  Most times I see an inspiration online or in-stores and I check my pattern stash to see what pattern I have that I could easily modify to fit the design.  For this blog post I used 3 different fabrics to create 3 different looks by hacking the selected patterns I used.

For the first look I took McCall’s 7999 which is a TNT pattern for me.  To hack it I first converted the pattern from a set-in sleeve to a raglan sleeve style.  I had an inspiration picture that I referenced of a knit dress sketch. The rib knit I choose was perfect for this project.  I had a good weight and excellent stretch retention which I liked for this design.  I also liked the speckle detail that was in the fabric.

Once I made my style lines, I then created open curved shapes along the sleeve seamline and added binding.  I really love my new dress; this is the perfect item to add to my fall wardrobe.

The second look was based off another sketch that became my inspiration.  I loved the high low hem line and exaggerated sleeves.  I knew the perfect pattern would be Simplicity 8889, another favorite of mine.  To start I changed the hem line making it longer in the front with curved lines blending to the hem.  Next was to make the sleeve, I came across a diagram to draft an exaggerated sleeve. Using the slash and spread method I modified the sleeve from a short sleeve.   It required great amount of ease which was then pleated back into the armhole.

The fabric I used was a sateen, the amount of hold and structure the fabric created was beautiful!  The sheen on the fabric created such a lux feel and look.  I loved sewing with this fabric, and I created beautiful buttonholes on it as well.  With the weight of the fabric the look would be great as just a shirt or even a like jacket to through over other shirts. 

For my last look I was so happy to be able to recreate.  I had this picture saved as inspiration for a long time.  When I came across this pinstripe denim, I knew it would be perfect for this make.  It very lightweight and great for shirting styles.   I used Simplicity 9239 which is a jacket pattern.  What drew me to this pattern to hack it was the silhouette and the drop shoulder detail.

To hack I first converted the pattern into a raglan style line.  I then also lowered the drop shoulder to be closer to the original inspiration picture.  Since this was going to be a shirt instead of a jacket, I cut the center front on the fold.  Additionally, I extended the length of the front and back hem making a high low,

The most unique detail and what really brings it all together is the soutache decorative braid along the front seam lines.  I love this detail and what really makes it unique.  I made markings on the shirt for placement, but the actual motif is completely freehand.  I tried to make both sides look as even as possible. For now, I just have the ends tied off but would love to find a fringe tassel or something similar to add later.

If you are considering hacking some patterns for yourself my best advice is to look at the line drawings and not the actual picture itself.  Often time the styling or fabric choice on a pattern cover will have us miss an opportunity for a great pattern.  Pinterest is also a great source to pull inspiration.  See what style lines and silhouettes of patterns are like your inspo.  Also don’t be afraid to mix elements.  Take a sleeve from one pattern and add it to the bodice of another, give that design a new interpretation. 

JASMINE  @sewmuchjazz

Unfortunately Fabric Mart Fabrics sell out quickly!
You can find similar fabrics by shopping the following categories: RIB KNIT, KNITS, COTTON, SATEEN, & DENIM.


  1. I could not pull off the bold styling, but I love it on you. Creative and inspiring.


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