Hey there! I’m Heather “Feather” from the sewing blog, Feathers Flights. I started blogging about six years ago when I became a new mom. I started sewing in high school because I wanted to be unique. I sewed in college because that was my major and job. I sewed as a young mom out of saving money and necessity. Now I’m now a SAHM of three littles, and I sew to give me something different to do among the mundane tasks of motherhood. I really, really love sewing for myself and my kids.
I want to talk a little bit about sewing out of necessity. I had my first baby when my husband started law school. We lived frugally to get by, and this limitation helped me learn how to use what I have and alter patterns. I wouldn’t say I’m an expert, but I love getting multiple uses out of a pattern and changing it to get a different look.
That’s why I love Tried and True Patterns. Once you get that perfect fit, it’s really easy to learn simple pattern alterations to get the most out of your pattern. You’ll be able to get multiple looks without having to fit a new pattern. I pulled together a bunch of simple ideas for personalizing your TNT patterns. Not all of the links are to a tutorial I created, but I’ve used all of them except one and that’s why all the photos are of me (except one). I only like to link to tutorials that I’ve used and can recommend.
- Add a seam to colorblock a pattern: This one is very easy but makes a big impact. I combined two cardigans into one to make a gorgeous statement cardigan, but you can do it with any sewing pattern. Just remember to add seam allowance whenever you cut apart a sewing pattern!
- Add a pocket: It’s really easy to add pockets. You can add chest pockets, a kangaroo pocket, patch pockets, or pockets in the seam. I added leather patch pockets to this tunic. Pockets are easy because you don’t have to worry about seam allowance or changing the shape. It’s just adding a fun detail!
- Shorten a dress pattern to a shirt: I shortened the Staple Dress into a woven tee. This was the fourth or fifth time I used the Staple Dress pattern so I already had it fitted. I love how the simple silhouette highlights the fabric. I even added a curved hem for an extra detail.
- Lengthen a tee to a dress: This one is so easy but turns all your top patterns into dresses! It’s a little tricky if it’s a fitted top because you’ll have to add width at the hips but it is definitely doable. A swing top or loose fitting top is a little easier to turn into a dress.
- Add a peter pan collar: Peter Pan collars are so cute, so feminine, and so easy! I actually haven’t added them to very many pieces, so the only picture I could find was a maternity pattern. But it only shows how versatile this simple alteration is!
- Add gathered ruffles or add flared ruffles: One of my go-to items to wear is a basic tee. It’s comfortable and easy to wear. Sometimes I get bored of wearing something so basic so it’s great to be able to add fun details to get a more interesting look. I took my TNT pattern and added two vertical ruffles and I also added a diagonal ruffle. It’s the exact same pattern but gives a really unique look!
- Add hem ties: This can be done to a tee, shirt, or pants. I did it to a pair of pants this summer, and I love them. It’s a fun detail without a lot of work. I really love the contrast of these woven joggers with a feminine bow at the hem. This might not be your look, but if you learn simple alterations you can change it to your liking!
- Make a cardigan from a tee pattern: I have tried a couple of cardigan patterns and was never happy with the result. I tried this free tutorial and used a TNT pattern I already had to make a cardigan I love! The tutorial is about using a specific pattern, but it states you can use any pattern to get the same look.
What is your favorite way to personalize a pattern? What’s your favorite pattern hack?