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Saturday, 28 November 2015

Adapting an Existing Pattern to Your Own Style

How often have you wanted to sew something you envisioned in your own head, but then you simply could not find the exact pattern for it? It is costly to find a pattern designer to draw the pattern of your vision and often you compromise to make something that is like your vision without realizing the ideal you had in mind. This can for the most part be avoided if you know how to adapt an existing pattern to turn it into the vision of your dreams. I show you what to look out for when I adapt a boy's fishing jacket to become a girl's bolero in today's blog.

I wanted to make a bolero for my niece, but the closest pattern I had to what I had in mind was this one for a boy's fishing jacket. It was close enough.

I only need a front and back piece for a bolero and these would be the only pieces I worked with.

I start by tracing the back onto a piece of paper. I fold away some of the excess fabric in the back as I want the bolero to be more body hugging than the fishing jacket. I do need to measure here, as the girl is 9 years old and the pattern is for a five year old. Careful measuring will ensure a better fit. At this stage I am not bothered with the length of the jacket. I concentrate mainly on getting the neckline and armhole in place.

This is the basic design for the back which will be developed further as we progress.

I now turn to the front. This is wider than the back and I need to glue two sheets of paper together to accommodate the width of the pattern. Once again I trace the pattern, concentrating on the neckline and armhole, not bothering with the length yet.

I now cut out both the front and the back before I continue to work with them.

I use the off-cut paper from above to add length to the front of the bolero by gluing it onto the pattern.

As I want a rounded shape, I now draw in the shape that I want to bolero to take. I also measure carefully along the side seam to make sure the bolero will be the length I want it to be. It is once again cut out on the new lines.

I glue an extra sheet of paper to the bottom of the back part to accommodate extra length. I then fit the front part onto the back part, lining the two pattern pieces up at the bottom of the armhole.

I redraw the hem of the front onto the back pattern to make sure the length of the front and back patterns line up at the side seam. Drawing a straight line for the back hem, I cut the back pattern to the correct length. I also trim the side seam to taper neatly.

I now have two pattern pieces that will line up at the shoulders, and the side seams. If you have a pattern that has more places that need to line up, follow the above principles to adjust your own patterns accordingly.

A bolero has a wider arm opening than the original pattern I worked with has. I therefore taper the armhole to my requirements. Notice how I make sure that the side seams will still line up.

I cut out the widened armholes and now I am ready to lay out the fabric. As easy as that!

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