#90: Introduction to Pattern Hacking

Check Your Thread
Check Your Thread
#90: Introduction to Pattern Hacking
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Have you ever tried pattern hacking (making changes to a sewing pattern to create a different look)? This episode is a wide ranging introduction to the topic. Whether you are new to this practice, or are a more seasoned ‘hacker’, by the end of this you should feel emboldened by the infinite possibilities!  

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The patchwork denim quilted jacket is finally finished! Read all about it on my blog

One way of thinking about pattern hacking is by breaking it down into these three approaches:

  1. Pattern-first – that is Choosing a pattern you own and considering how you can alter it to come up with a different look
  2. Style-first – that is finding inspiration for a garment from elsewhere, then looking through your patterns to find a good candidate to hack to get close to that inspiration.
  3. Frankensteining – taking two existing sewing patterns, or the parts of existing sewing patterns, and splicing them together to create a different looking garment. 

My Fibre Mood Ermine/Norma Franken-garment is an example of taking the sleeve piece from one pattern and the bodice from another to create a new look.

Suggested equipment for pattern hacking:

  • Large format paper / pattern cutting or drafting paper / the dot and cross type or plain. Also consider large sheets of paper from an art shop or printing shop, the back of wide rolls of wrapping paper or rolls of paper from a business that regularly prints out plans and so on
  • Some kind of ruler or set square (a metre or yard ruler is also super helpful)
  • Pattern weights or pins
  • Sharp pencils 
  • Paper scissors
  • Some kind of tape such as scotch, masking or washi tape
  • Tape measure
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