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?
What a fun, informative post! Just the thing to give us a nudge, and tutorials to give confidence. I particularly like the clear examples. I may have jumped the gun though, as tutorials 1,2,3,6 & 7 are not linking yet.
I’m so sorry! My site kind of fell apart over the weekend, so I’ve spent all day fixing it! You can go see now (but some of the formatting may be off for the next couple of days)!
Love this! You are very!! creative! Thank You for sharing!
Thank you! I hope it helps!
They are all great, but my favorite is the cardigan from a tee. Love it!!
It’s the best to basically have a free cardigan pattern!
Love your ideas! I agree in getting creative with patterns. I look for details I like in others makes and in ready to wear for inspiration.
Yes! That’s where I look to and then I look for a pattern that matches the closest!
Love the hem ties, thanks for sharing. I’m going straight over to check out your blog.
Thanks! I wore those hem ties all summer long!
Wow…these are fantastic ideas and examples Heather. Your hem ties are so cute!
I have been lengthening my tee patterns into tunics and dresses this year. I had a good, long look at my closet and noticed that my most worn RTW dresses were really just a tee with some added volume.
What a great discovery! Because that’s such an easy pattern alterations!
Great post with some fabulous ideas. Lately I’ve been fond of modifying sleeves to make a statement . I love color blocking too…I’m a big fan!
Modifying sleeves are easy and so fun! It changes the look so much!