I have a phobia about new patterns I’d like to get over. I’m the type that would rather use the patterns I have and modify them vs. buying a new pattern from a new company. I guess I worry about having to make a million different adjustments if company x’s sloper happens to be not close to mine vs. taking 30 minutes to make a change to an existing well tested pattern. The Curvy Sewing Collective wrote a great post on this very topic back in September–check it out, it’s well thought out.
As I can see it, here’s my pros and cons list for choosing to modify well tested patterns instead of buying new ones:
- You’ve already done all the fitting
- Muslins are only needed if you do a big drafting change (collar, make your sleeve poofy etc) because you’ve already done all the fitting.
- It’s cheap!
- You don’t have to worry about new styles from new patterns not fitting you because you’ve done all the fitting.
- Drafting takes brain work. You have to have some knowledge of construction before you can compose a variation on a theme.
- New patterns come in fresh shiny envelopes with fresh shiny pictures of fresh shiny people. Your beloved TNT is probably stuffed unceremoniously into a nondescript manila envelope that is decidedly not fresh and shiny.
- Sometimes you royally screw things up and have to start over. Wait, you have to do that with new patterns too.
- Pattern designers work really hard to create reliable, fashion forward patterns and it’s good to support their efforts.
I’m curious…would you rather use a beloved pattern and modify it to suit your changing style or buy a fresh new pattern with all the pattern work already done for you?
Peter Pan Collar Pajamas
Just after Christmas, I sewed these new Peter Pan collar pajamas in Cloud 9 Fanfare Flannel by Rae Hoekstra (lovely to sew and wear even if it’s only 44″ wide and I had to order extra). I was imagining of a sort of vintage feel somewhere along the lines of vintage McCalls 9480:
I’ve never tried a Peter Pan collar before, and pajamas seem like a safe sort of project to try out a new style. If you hate it, who’s going to be offended–your pillow? I decided to work with Ottobre 5-2007-2, a pattern I’ve made multiple times (here and here, and here). It’s a pattern for a good basic button down blouse with front and back darts. To change the pattern into something more comfortable for sleepwear, I did the following:
- Lengthened the sleeves by 5.5″ to make them full length (it’s January!).
2. Left the darts unsewn except the side bust darts for that cozy big flannel loose pajama feel.
- Added patch pockets to the front per the inspiration photo above.
- Added a back neck facing for a cleaner inside look.
- Drafted a Peter Pan collar to fit this neckline.
It seems like a lot of changes, but all total, it took me about 20 minutes to do the additional drafting for the collar and back neck facing. The pockets I blithely cut out approximate rectangles and went to town, pinning them on after I made the top to check placement.
The pants pattern is Burdastyle 5-2010-119 which I left as is, or as I’ve made it before.
So what about you? Are you a pattern hacker or do you crave the smell of fresh tissue paper?
As for this round of pattern hacking, I’m enjoying the cozy soft flannel and glad that I actually have something to contribute to Jungle January (so fun!).