Category Archives: Pattern hack

A hacky Named outfit

A new little summery outfit of two simple separates, both of which are hacked from Named patterns that I’ve sewn before.

The trousers are the Ninni culottes, sewn up in a lush indigo crinkle rayon that the Fabric Store kindly sent to me. The only thing I changed from my first pair was to convert the pockets from side seam into front yoked. I just can’t stand the way side seam pockets add bulk and flap around, and these yoked ones are actually much easier to prep and sew so it’s win-win. Here’s a quick tute; you can prepare paper pieces or cut these straight onto your fabric.

1. Cut a rectangle for the pocket bag/facing, approximately 16″ wide by 11″ long. The width will be 2x the width of the final pocket bag and the length will be the final length of the pocket.
2. Lay the rectangle on top of your front trouser piece, right sides together and matching the side seam and waistline to the rectangle edges. Cut a curved or straight line through both pieces at the trouser side seam edge. This will be the pocket opening. Mine starts about 3″ in from the edge at the top and is 7″ long.
3. Sew this pocket opening seam using a small (5mm or so) seam allowance. Clip if necessary to release curves, press seam allowances to the pocket facing piece, and understitch.
4. Fold the pocket bag in half, lining up with the trouser waistline and side seam. Sew and finish the bottom edge of the pocket bag, then baste the top and sides to the front trouser leg. Construct the rest of the pattern as written.

The blouse is a rather more extreme hack of the Reeta shirt dress. I wonder when a pattern stops being a hack and becomes essentially a self-draft?! To make this kimono-sleeved blouse from the dress pattern I:

· Merged the back yoke onto the back body piece
· Altered the shoulder seam so it wasn’t forward-facing (took some off the back piece and added to the front)
· Extended the shoulder line to create grown-on cap sleeves
· Drafted a new back facing piece to finish the back neckline
· Left off the collar piece as I did with my previous dress
· Rotated/closed the front bust dart down into added ease, which I then trimmed away from the side seam
· Cut the body and facings off about 14″ below the underarm

I’m considering this a wearable toile, as this space-print fabric (from The Textile Centre) was an impulse buy that isn’t really in my usual style stratosphere but I just couldn’t resist it. Next time I’ll raise the kimono sleeve line an extra half-inch or so as they’re a little bit snug. Otherwise I think this hack came out rather cute, and it didn’t take very long despite the amount of steps. I was sort of more in the mood for drafting than sewing so it was a nice project to try out some advanced hacking.


Ogden camis, and a different construction method

It’s been deliciously warm in London this last week, with more nice weather forecast. A good chance to dig out the True Bias Ogden cami pattern and make use of some remnants I’ve bought lately.

I first made this dress version in some great stretch cotton-viscose that I bought from the Cloth House Camden warehouse shop just this last week. I got the last metre on the roll which was just enough to lengthen the Ogden into a mini dress. To do that I just extended the side seams down by about 9″ (the total length armsyce to hem is 24″) maintaining the flared angle. I’ve been after a basic black slip for ages and I think it’ll work well with a tee underneath when the weather inevitably dips again.

I made another one pretty quickly in this adorable cat-print polyester remnant that I got in Tokyo. I refined the fit a little bit around the top; basically darting out a bit of gaping on both the front and back. I also came up with a revised construction method which I think is a little faster and easier than the the instructions, so I took some photos and wrote up how I did it below. It’s quite similar to my facing tutorial in that the front and back are constructed before sewing them into the ’round’. Here we go – sorry the photos aren’t very good but shout if you have a question.

Complete steps 1-3 to staystitch and create/baste the straps. (…Except I don’t staystitch or baste, because I am a REBEL.) Now instead of sewing the side seams next, pin and sew the front facing to the front bodice across the top edge, securing the straps in the process.

Trim, clip and understitch per the instructions.

Now, lay out and layer up the pieces as follows: back facing right side facing UP; the loose strap ends (attached to the front bodice) right sides facing UP; back bodice, right side DOWN. Again you could baste the straps to the back only here first but I just deal with all three layers at once.

Pin, sew, and trim/clip/understitch the top edge just like the front. Turn right side out and give it all a good press – you’ll have a funny side-seam-less cami joined by the straps as above. Now is a good time to finish the lower facing edges – I just pinked mine – and to add a label to the back facing, as otherwise it’s hard to tell which way round to wear it!

Now to finish the side seams: open up the facing again so the right sides touch. Pin and sew the bodice and facing as one long side seam.

Finish the seam as desired, snip a notch where the facing and bodice meet to reduce bulk, and press seams open.

Turn out, press and ditch-stitch the facing down to the side seam to keep it in place. Alternatively, you could also treat the facing and bodice as one and do a French seam, catching both layers and meaning the facing gets anchored into the side seam. Hem the bottom and you’re good to go!

High street hack: Tied Inari in merino knit

Just a quick one today. I saw this dress in All Saints yesterday for £98, came home and made myself one for precisely zero in a couple of hours. And people ask why we sew?! :)

As soon as I saw the dress in the store, I thought ‘Inari with ties!’, so that’s the base pattern I used. All I changed was to scoop out the neckline a bit and add the ties.

To do that I basically completed the entire dress, made my ties (2″ strips sewn into a tube) and pinned them in place while wearing the dress. I found I preferred them set into the front of the dress rather than the side seams, so I sewed them on using a small zigzag, directly over the raw edge of the tie. The zigzagging gets concealed when the ties are done up so it looks quite neat.

I used a gorgeous merino jersey knit which The Fabric Store kindly sent me to try out. It’s the 200gsm merino in charcoal specifically. This knit is just amazing to work with – it’s stable, loves both the overlocker and sewing machine, and takes very well to a steamy press. It gives a beautiful luxurious sheen and drape to the final garment as well. You would not find knit of this quality in a £100 high street dress, put it that way!

The ties lend themselves to being arranged a few other ways too…

I’m reaching more for trousers than dresses lately in these awkward in-between days where I want to ditch the black tights but it’s not quite bare-leg temperatures yet, but I can’t wait to wear this with sandals when spring properly kicks off.

Kniti Midi Inari

Inari hack1

Sewing time is short right now and I need guaranteed results, so I’ve been doing quite a few repeat makes of TNT patterns lately. This dress merges the best bits of two of my wardrobe essentials to get another dreamily simple easy-to-wear everyday dress. Guess the two references from my recent makes…?

Inari hack2

Answer: the base pattern is the Named Inari dress, and the fabric choice and mods were inspired by my Style Arc Celine. I wear one or the other of those weekly (and have made a second stripy Inari already) and now this one’s gone straight into rotation too.

Inari dress hack

The pattern ‘hack’ was really easy:
– Freehand convert the round neckline to a V. Tip: cut the V shape in a slightly concave (curving outwards) line rather than straight diagonal: it sits nicer on the upper chest.
– Cut the front as a pair rather on the fold, adding seam allowance, as it’s easier to make a nice V-neck if you sew the shoulder seams, then sew the neckband on, then seam the CF
– Add six inches to the length
– The tie is a separate skinny piece, sewn RS together as a tube then turned RS out, the ends tucked in and sewn closed.

Inari hack3

The fabric’s the same as my Celine, cheapo poly-blend rib knit from MyFabrics, but in navy instead of green. The fabric’s held up really well on my Celine, no bobbling/pilling yet despite many washes. I’m going to buy yet more for future variations on this theme.

Inari hack4

The Inari is designed for either woven or knits, so I didn’t alter the sizing. I think the pattern even includes instructions and a pattern piece to do a neckband for knits instead of the facings. I added about 1.5″ onto the sleeve length and left off the bands.

Inari hack5

One final detail was to leave a small slit at the centre front – easy because of the new CF seam. I was going to level off the hem but decided I quite liked the small extra detail of the stepped hem. I forgot to take a photo without the belt, but it looks pleasingly sack-like and cocoon-y, so it’s really two looks in one. All in all, it’s cycle-friendly, comfy and took like an hour to sew. I need more makes like this in my life right now!

Green Celine

Style-Arc-Celine5

Well, hello there. What’s new? I got a new rug and tidied up my mantelpiece…

I’m sorry for a bit of an unintended extended absence round these parts lately. A lot of things seemed to collide at once in my life the last few weeks, such as:

– Two hellish weeks doing jury service. Honestly, if you get asked, run a mile!
– Work kicking up a gear, culminating in pretty crazy trip to Iceland.
– Lending my camera to my sister because she got a new puppy, and subsequently buying a new one jointly with Josh, which he promptly took on holiday with him.
– The turbulent news from my own country and the rest of the world generally not making me want to leave my bed…

Style-Arc-Celine1

I have managed to fit in a bit of sewing though, if not blogging, so I have a nice backlog of projects to share. Starting with this, my new favourite dress. It’s green, it’s midi, it feels like I’m wearing a big comforting hug, and I love it.

Style-Arc-Celine

The basis for the pattern was the Style Arc Celine, though you’d be mistaken for thinking it’s the more famous Named Kielo, especially given the tweaks I made. I bought Celine over Kielo because I know how well Style Arc patterns fit me and they’re so very easy to work with: one pattern on the sheet, nice paper, easy to cut, seam allowances at the ready. Also it came with optional short sleeves which I wanted, though I think Kielo has a free extension pack for sleeves now too.

Style-Arc-Celine3
Style-Arc-Celine2

So I basically hacked the Celine to make it look more like Kielo: adding 6 inches to the length and straightening out some of the skirt’s flare; adding extra-long skinny ties onto the wrap sections; and merging the front and back princess-seamed panels into single front and back pieces. (There is some shaping built into the seams, so for a woven I’d use the panels; for a knit I thought it was safe to simply overlap the excess where the princess panels curve outwards.) There’s loads of ways to tie the dress to get different looks, but I think the most flattering on me is a crossover at the front with the ties knotted at the back.

Style-Arc-Celine4

Knits aren’t amongst the recommended fabrics for Celine, but I didn’t change anything else except switching the neck facing for a band. The fabric is a ribbed knit from MyFabrics. My god this fabric is lovely: yes, it’s polyacrylic, but it’s £3 a metre, snuggly soft, and comes in loads of colours, so I might be snapping up more. It was painfully difficult to cut – my rotary cutter was going NOPE over all the ridges, plus the pattern pieces are huge and awkward so I had to move from my sewing room onto the kitchen floor to have enough space. But once cut it came together quickly and was easy to work with, even the hemming, which I was slightly dreading but came up lovely using a walking foot.

Style-Arc-Celine6

It’s a dress that attracts a lot of comments and compliments, yet it’s secret pyjama comfortable, which is really my preferred criteria for clothing and why it’s amongst my favourite garments right now. I’ve worn it on a flight, to work, it’s cycle friendly, and I’d feel fine wearing it out in the evening too: not many styles you can say that about.

Back soon with more! How have you been?

V1501: black midi edition

Vogue 1501

Sometimes I swear to remake a pattern again and it doesn’t happen for a long time, if ever, but in the case of Vogue 1501 I had such a ~vision for a black midi version that I went out hunting for fabric to make it happen immediately, and spent last week sewing it up.

Vogue 1501

To be honest I was just setting out to copy the Klein dress from the pattern designer Rachel Comey’s ready to wear line. (Apparently I even copied the shoes, ha ha.) I made a few fitting and stylistic tweaks to the pattern as follows:

  • Added 6 inches to the length of the skirt plus knee-high side seam splits.
  • Gathered rather than pleated the front skirt and bodice into the waistband
  • Graded out the back side seams to adjust for the tight fit across the bum in my first one
  • Rounded out the bottom edges of the bodice for a different look (and hemmed it using bias strips)

Vogue 1501
Vogue 1501

The fabric is black ‘powder touch’ polyester from The Textile Centre in Walthamstow. The pattern does work well in a crisp cotton like i used last time but I think it’s especially nice in something drapier.

Vogue 1501

Despite being a bit out there for my usual style (I’ve never owned a dress practically ankle length long) I bloody love this dress and feel really comfortable in it. I feel like it will join the ranks of things I’ll reach for on those ‘I’ve got nothing to wear’ days, and the poly fabric will make it really easy to care for.