It is finally my turn to share on the Great Pattern Hack tour! I had so much fun hacking this Marigold blouse and Marigold/Alder mashup Dress. Also, I also have a million things to say and don’t want to forget any of them.
First of all, though, the fabric. I fell in love with the entire Indigo fabric collection from the moment I saw it at the Michael Miller offices. I’ve always been fascinated by the gentle art of sashiko embroidery and I love the way this collection mimics both sashiko as well as a woven ikat look. It’s very wearable too. I ended up making three garments some with Indigo and one with the MMF solids line Cotton Couture and I love them all. Love, love, love.
But before the nitty-gritty I need to get minorly sappy. I’ve been kind of cheerleading about this whole pattern hacking idea without really explaining why. When Kait from Michael Miller asked me for an idea for a blog hop I suggested pattern hacking because I’ve noticed a split in the sewing world. It sometimes seems there are two persectives and they are polar opposites…you either follow a pattern to the letter or you learn how to make your own patterns from scratch through pattern drafting classes. I see it all the time among students in my sewing classes; this feeling that those are the only two options. Yet, I know that somewhere quietly in the middle lives pattern hacking. It’s in hacking up a pattern that some of my best lesson have been learned….frustrating ones for sure, but alongside the failures has been the highs of successes. I love that I don’t have to be a fit expert to take a pattern, tweak it a little and make it into what I’m looking for. I started sewing because I wanted to make things that fit my body shape and define my own style. I like being able to tinker with an existing pattern to make something my very own; my vision and no one elses but without the hassle of figuring out a sloper, etc. I don’t have to reinvent the wheel; I’m a hacker, baby! I’d much rather pattern hack than pattern shop. I’d rather sew and experiment than read a pattern making book. You feel me? I want to DO THE THING!
So, The Great Pattern Hack was my idea for how to celebrate the quiet tinkerers and the “what if I do this-ers” of the vast sewing world. It’s an invitation to others who might be reluctant to stray from the written rules for fear they get lost in the weeds. And, I could not possibly be more honored that the folks at Michael Miller fabrics were down for it. I mean, it’s truly a dream.
Wait! Did you hear that? It’s the sewing machine calling! So let’s jump in! Let’s hack all the things.
Time to get down to what I made! First up, I hacked the Marigold Dress from Melly Sews. (In truth, it’s more than a dress pattern, it has options for a peplum style top and a skirt.) I first saw this version by Jane and loved the blouse details so much but knew that the elastic at the waist wouldn’t work for my body shape. I’m a much bigger fan of a clean, a-line silhouette for my pear shape but I love all the other details…the gathers in front, the low-key collar, cap sleeves and buttons. All so scrumptious.
I’ve been hanging onto a lovely short-sleeved, summery blouse that is too small for me for years, hoping I could replicate it. With my “nothing new” mission in mind, I took my Marigold dress pattern and set myself to task.
I altered the pattern in the following ways:
1. I removed a wedge-shaped portion from the front top of my traced pattern to open up the neckline a bit. I had to reduce the collar by the length of the top of my wedge, about 2 inches, to accommodate this change. I reduced the collar length at it’s midway point, not at the ends so it wouldn’t lose it’s curved shape.
2. I moved the top button marking down so that the first button starts just above where the second button is marked on the pattern.
3. To create the shape of the front pattern pieces I had to alter both the placket and the front and back pattern pieces. I lengthened the front placket by around 7.5″ and added three additional buttons to the length. I used the distance between buttonholes already dictated by the pattern as I determined the length between buttons. To the front and back pattern pieces I added around 3″ at the side and another 4″ at the middle and then drew a curved line connecting them to create the curved hemline.
4. Added 1.5″ to the width of the back pattern piece (below the yoke) so that I could create a back pleat and create more of an a-line shape so the top would widen with my hips.
5. I also switched the inside placket for a contrast fabric to add some interest.
To sew the blouse I pretty much followed the written instructions except I had to wait to attach the placket until after I had sewn on the sleeves and stitched up the side seams. Then I hemmed the bottom hem and at that point I attached the placket. To close the bottom end of the placket, I folded it over itself, right sides together, stitching across the bottom horizontal end and folded it back over the shirt before I stitched along the vertical edges of the placket.
I had enough fabric to make a second one in the solids line from Michael Miller called Cotton Couture. I used what they call lipstick for the main shirt and watermelon for the contrast. I surprised myself with this choice…I am not normally a pink person but these pinks have a bit more depth to them. I like them more than a pinky pink, you know?
It feels good to have these two additions to my handmade closet. I know they will get lots of wear.
I didn’t stop there, however! I also hacked my way to a dress. This is really a mashup of the Marigold Dress from Melly Sews and the Alder Skirt from Imagine Gnats. Two brilliant designers in one humble, super wearable dress. This dress is made with the same lipstick solid from Cotton Couture and Sashiko in black from Indigo.
For a visual, it went something like this:
It means that I have a dress with a simple a-line style as well as pockets and the great details of the Marigold blouse on top. Wahoo to the best of both worlds! (Also, if you are counting I did, indeed, have to stitch 15 buttonholes as a result of all this hacking. Thanks goodness for my amazing Janome 6600 and its many functions.)
The tweaks on this involved both #1 and #2 up above from making the blouse and the following:
1. I removed some of the a-line shape from the Alder Skirt but reducing it a little bit in all three of front pieces of the skirt.
2. I added 2″ to the length of the skirt. (And, obviously kept the blouse top at it’s original length)
3. I took in the side seams on the blouse. Because the Marigold is designed to be cinched at the waist I needed to remove some of the blousy-ness and I did that by tapering in the side seam of the dress so that it matched the width of the top of the Alder skirt. I kind of played/ tweaked as I went and marked my corrections on my pattern so I can replicate it when I make this dress again.
To sew it all together I really had to mix things up. I started by making the whole blouse (front and back, sleeves, placket, collar and buttons and buttonholes) but not sewing the side seams. Then I made the front and back portions of the skirt. I attached the front of the skirt to the front of the top and the back of the skirt to the back of the skirt. So, I had one long piece and then I stitched the full side seam. Finally, I added a 4″ band of the lipstick-colored fabric at the bottom, pressed the bottom edge over 1/2″ and folded the rest up and stitched it over my previous stitch line. I really debated about whether or not to make the pink band at the bottom visible. I toyed with adding it as a facing hidden on the inside. In the end, I decided I wanted the dress to have a little more punch. Either way, a new dress is born and it suits my figure and my style. If you have seen me around lately you know that this dress is getting lots of wear. Job done!
Wanna hack along?!
I really, really hope that if you are following along, you are feeling emboldened and ready to hack some patterns. Join in The Great Pattern Hack by grabbing some Michael Miller fabric and showing us your skills! Hack a pattern, any pattern, and share your creation on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Make sure to tag your photos so we can find you– @michaelmillerfabrics and @ahappystitch and use the hashtags #GreatPatternHack #MichaelMillerFabrics #AHappyStitch.
It’s been so fun to see your creations so far! Keep ’em coming.
The Great Pattern Hack team:
Monday 6/29 :: kick off with Jess Abbott from The Sewing Rabbit
Tuesday 6/30 :: Kait Witte from Making it Fun (Michael Miller Fabrics)
Wednesday 7/1 :: Flash Giveaway Day!
Thursday 7/2 :: Jane Kohlstein from Buzzmills
Friday 7/3 :: Me! A Happy Stitch
Monday 7/6 :: Rachael Gander at Imagine Gnats
Tuesday 7/7 :: Tamara Serrao at Kaya Joy
Wednesday 7/8 :: Betsy Blodgett from Indygo Junction
Thursday 7/9 :: Laura Titchner from Craftstorming
Friday 7/10 :: Kristin Timm from Skirt As Top
Saturday 7/11 :: Jessica and Ericka at Violette Threads
Monday 7/13 :: Celina Bailey at Petit A Petit and Family
Tuesday 7/14 :: Sanae from Sanae Ishida
Wednesday 7/15 :: Erin Sundet at Sewbon
Thursday 7/16 :: Delia Randall from Delia Creates
Friday 7/17 :: Wrap up and Surprise Giveaway!!!
By the way, this is a sponsored post meaning Michael Miller Fabrics generously provided fabric, patterns and financial compensation to me for my work. I’m really grateful to them for that; I can’t pay my bills in fabric alone! Of course, my opinion are my own and always will be 🙂 .