Burda Cowl Neck Top

The Burda cowl neck top (10/2011#135) was part of my 2017 Make Nine so I wanted to share it for that reason. I don’t love it, but I don’t hate it. I really think the issues are due to the fabric. The top really requires a fabric with enough drape to make the cowl really look gorgeous. On the bolt, the fabric appeared to be nice and drapey, but it wasn’t really. It washed up a bit crisper as well. A knit with rayon would work beautifully in this top.

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The top has raglan sleeves and an inset for the front and back for the neckline/cowl. The sleeves are also in the original pattern ruched at the side from forearm to hem. I chose to make sleeve bands instead since I doubted I would like the ruching. In terms of fit problems, the sleeves fit like wings and the bust is pretty good. The cowl neck could be more cowl-like. More room in the hips would be good.

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In terms of sewing, it’s not my best work. The cowl was difficult to get in and there is something weird with the side seams.

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And yet the times I have worn it, I really loved wearing it. Just goes to show that a garment doesn’t need to be perfect for you to enjoy wearing it. It’s a super comfy top and I just love the colour of it. The length is perfect for wearing with jeans. Overall I feel pretty great in it even though I know there are fit problems and sewing problems.

Go figure.

Burda has the usual sparse instructions so this top isn’t for the faint of heart. You just sort of have to “interpret” their instructions or go your own way like I do 90% of the time.

Speaking of 2017 Make Nine, I’m on track to get five out of the nine done. Way better than my 2016 Make Nine where I made exactly zero of the things I planned.

Here is my #2017makenine Except for the middle column, these are @burda_style patterns. I made a goal to make more Burda patterns since I love the designs and think the block fits me pretty well. Plan is to make at least these 6 this year starting with the grey sweatshirt using some cat print terry I have. In the middle column, I want to make a maxi length @cashmerette #appletondress with some lovely tropical fabric I recently acquired in a swap. I love #M7537 from the @mccallpatterncompany early spring release. I can see it becoming a quick favourite. Finally, I have a bunch of flannel in my stash that is due to become pjs using the free pattern from @5outof4patterns If I bust that stash, I clear out an entire shelf of my stash! And I get many cozy pjs to wear about the house in various lengths for the year. Last year I didn't get any of my list done. This year feels pretty reasonable and should be doable. 😁 #sewing #sewcialists

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I think the summer dresses just aren’t going to happen, but the pj pants and the kimono robe will for sure. I finished my Appleton dress, Burda sweatshirt and now my Burda cowl top. I would love to get the top left corner Burda dress done sometime this winter. I have fabric for the other Burda dresses, but it doesn’t seem to make sense to make summer dresses when there are leaves on the ground so those will likely be pushed over to my 2018 Make Nine list. The McCall’s dress fell off my to make list. I ended up buying fabric for M7624 instead. Hahha oops. I hope to make view  C or D depending on how much I can squeeze out of the fabric at some point during the winter.

I’m just not sure that both of those dresses will happen in 2017. They may be muslined in 2017, but not finished up.

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Burda cowl neck top (10/2011#135)
  • Pros: Even though it was tough to put in, the separate pieces for the back neckline and the cowl make for a nice shape and lovely finish. I really like the relaxed fit and with some tweaks it would be perfect.
  • Cons: The usual sparse instructions issues for Burda patterns.
  • Make again?: With some nice drapey rayon knit and a few fit/style mods. I would increase the cowl width and try to figure out how to adjust to get rid of the flaps of fabric in the sleeves above the bust.
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdwhite-star-black-md4/5 stars

 

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Cashmerette Rivermont Pattern

I tested the Cashmerette Rivermont pattern and really fell in love with it.  The pattern includes a sheath dress and a peplum top with a high scoop neck. The neckline has shoulder to shoulder facings. And there are big pockets in the sheath dress. The pattern called for medium weight ponte knit or lightweight neoprene/scuba.

When Jenny sent me the pattern preview, I jumped on it. We actually tested back in July/August. I bought some lovely ponti de roma in a deep purple from Fabricland to make my first version.

 

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I sent off the results of testing and hadn’t hemmed the dress yet. I usually take off 3-4 inches from the hem of Cashmerette patterns unless I feel like leaving them long (the Webster dress I left longer). I’m considering going back  and hemming it about 4 inches shorter. Also, because the hem got all wavy in sewing and even after pressing it wouldn’t go flat.

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I realized as I was taking these pictures that most are with my hands in the pockets. They are such deep cozy pockets that I just kept putting my hands in there. Ha! I styled it with a belt from Addition-Elle. That belt is one of my favourite wardrobe accessories.

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I adore purple on me. Weirdly I don’t have a lot of it in my wardrobe. This piece was the start of getting it back into my wardrobe. 🙂

My second Rivermont dress was also using the tester pattern. I had a wedding to go to in Killarney at the end of September and really needed something nice to wear. I got some peach scuba in a Bunz trade at the end of August. Over 86 yards of awesome fabric for a $40 gift card to Staples! Bunz is crazy good. What I noticed was the light peach colour was a great match for my skin and then my brain just needed some lace overlay for it. I got some royal blue stretch lace from Fabricville (sadly not available anymore) and got started the week of the wedding. Yes, I was finishing the dress up the night before we left.

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You can see how the scuba with its lower stretch percentage and stiffness makes it fit a little bit differently. But it still looks awesome imho.

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After seeing all the pictures with my hands in my pockets, I basically was self conscious and kept them out for these pictures. LOL. I styled this dress with a thin gold belt from Winners.

The neckline was fixed for the final version. It doesn’t really bother me in either of these dresses. It’s much better in the ponti version since the fabric has better recovery. The scuba version definitely has a more pronounced neckline issue as well as an issue with gaping pockets. I used a lighter jersey to line the pockets due to a few reasons. I didn’t want to have too much bulk from sewing through three layers of fabric at the waist and I didn’t have enough fabric. The dress also had to be cut 4 inches shorter, but that turned out to be a great thing since I love the length.

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I really wanted to take these pictures and get the post ready for the launch of the pattern, because I love it so much. I had a rough September and October due to having gluten back in my diet in order to get tested for celiac disease and spent a lot of the time sick. I’m back on my gluten free diet now and automatically feel better. I mean I still have a chronic illness, but a chronic illness plus an extra amount of horrible migraines, allergy attacks, GI issues, and not being able to eat for fear of throwing up is the worst. I often have all of these issues, but not to that degree. And of course, it is fall here, so if it isn’t me being sick, it’s raining. I actually managed to take these after it had rained off and on all day.

There will be many more Rivermont iterations in the future. I plan on making a stretch velvet peplum next. 😀

Pattern Hacking Smorgasbord

First off, thank you for the wonderful comments and messages on all my social media formats on my last post. Your support means so much to me and helps life me up on bad days. I cannot thank you enough for both reading my posts on chronic illness and responding to them. Even a “like” makes me feel better. Chronic illness can be so isolating and lonely, but I love having an online community to make that feel less and less true. I may be at home in bed, but I am able to feel the love. ❤

I can’t use the word Smorgasbord without thinking of Charlotte’s Web.

Man, that rat knows how to live. It is living its most authentic life. Hahah.

August was pattern hacking month at the CSC and I got quite a bit of inspiration from the posts that fueled some recent sewing.

First up on my recent pattern hacks, is a Cashmerette Concord T-shirt. Anyone who follows me knows this is my TNT t-shirt pattern. I just adore it. It fits me perfectly. So why even try another t-shirt pattern to achieve what can easily be done with an existing pattern?

I didn’t even make a paper pattern for this. I was feel super lazy and having a low energy and medium pain day. I grabbed my tailor’s chalk and just made the adjustments with that on the actual fabric. I had minimal fabric leftover from my friend’s dress, but it was determined to become a 1980s inspired top.

The shirt is a bit of a flashback to an early 80s top that I vaguely remember and can’t find a single picture of. The 80s top had a tie neckline with a keyhole too and puffed sleeves with cuffs and a banded hem. Because of the small amount of fabric there was no way I could stripe match and I had to cut it shorter than I would prefer. I cut the back going in the opposite direction from the front and failed to remember to take a picture of that.

It was an easy top to hack. I extended the width of the sleeve across the entire sleeve from the centre. This gives enough width for the gathers at the sleeve head and the gathers around the sleeve band. I cut the sleeve band against the grain. This does effect the stretch of the fabric so I had to extend the length. I am probably about an inch and half too short for that so I do find the sleeve band doesn’t quite hit in the right place. But I was working with very little fabric and didn’t have enough for a longer band. I used my chalk to draw the shape of the keyhole and then cut a very long neckband. I also cut a small piece of fabric to finish the keyhole. The easiest part was likely the bottom band. You cut it slightly shorter than your hem. I didn’t even need to really cut it. It was the bottom edge of the fabric after cutting off the sleeves on the fold. I think I may have cut it a bit shorter and that is it.

Well I like this so far! #concordtshirt #sewing #sewcialists

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Cashmerette Concord T

I just love the top and really want to make more that look the same. Since I didn’t make a pattern paper for this, I will have to do backtracking and make it. I can’t kick past Andie for not doing it. It was an accomplishment for me to cut out the top that day. No way I was putting my spoons toward making a pattern.

Next up on the pattern hacking smorgasbord is a *finally* finished pleated Cake Pavlova skirt. Another TNT pattern for me. Speaking of TNTs, which is all that I used in this post, have you heard of the upcoming Sewcialist TNT month? I’m pretty excited for it! Clearly TNTs have also been on my mind.

Cake Patterns Pavlova Skirt

The skirt is black so unfortunately you might not see the pleats I added. There are two pleats halfway between the centre and the side seam on each side and on both the front and back.

A note on the socks. They are the Wolf and the Tree Going Rogue socks. I never got around to posting on them and these are the only pair I made. I will say they run bigger than I thought they would and I had to size down significantly. I really love them though and will eventually get around to making more since I am on board with matching my socks and cardi (cardi is my Gryffindor Sophi Cardi).

Cake Patterns Pavlova Skirt

There is a side seam pocket on the left side of the skirt and the zipper is on the left side of the skirt.

Cake Patterns Pavlova Skirt

The above picture highlights the pleats a bit better. The fabric is from the thrift store and is a lovely and extremely soft cotton stretch suiting. I had no idea fabric like that existed, but it is lovely. The waistband is unfortunately a bit tight. It’s due to the interfacing on the waistband. I am hoping it relaxes with washing. I should have used knit interfacing to make for pie room in the waistband. I started making the skirt earlier this year and left it aside to take out the waistband. I’m kick myself for not removing the interfacing at the same time. 😦

As long as I am not swollen or having GI issues, I can wear the skirt without issue. It’s just not going to be one I reach for on bad days.

Finally, my last pattern hack is using the Cashmerette Springfield top.

While at work one day, I got it in my head and HAD to draw it out.

I have been wanting a tie-neck top for a while and had never gotten around to it. I saw Elizabeth make a top with ruffle cap sleeves and just had to make one. Then my brain suddenly put the two together at work and I freaked out because it became my dream top. Add to that a lovely tunic length and a high-low split hem! OMG. A veritable smorgasbord!

Cashmerette Springfield Top

Cashmerette Springfield Top

Edit: No shame posting the back with a big sweat stain from having worn it all day. Hahah. 😛 Shirt is poly crepe so no breathing! Also as an aside… I’m noticing how wonky my ankles are looking here. Yeay, EDS? lol

For this pattern hack, I had changed the neckline to a v-neck. I just drew the line on my pattern and folded it under. I extended the front by 2 inches and the back for 3.5 inches for the high-low hem. The top already has a split hem. I used the pattern view with the princess seams on the back. I do see from pull lines that I might benefit from going up a size in the butt area due to the extra length and needing to skim over my widest asset (har har). But otherwise, the fit is good. I added some handstitched gathers to the shoulder area of the neckband to help it sit well. The ruffle cap sleeves are just long rectangles gathered. The sleeve and neckline are finished with bias binding.

Cashmerette Springfield Top

Cashmerette Springfield Top

Cashmerette Springfield Top

Really feeling myself in that picture. Ha!

Cashmerette Springfield Top

A bonus to this post is my alteration of my Auberley dress. The sleeves never quite felt right. They were big enough, but with EDS sometimes woven sleeves can be too constricting and can cause issues. I split them down the centre and then added some cute cuffs with snap closures and gathered the sleeve hem into them. What I achieved is a sleeveless feel for my wonky joints but a sleeved look that is “on trend.”

And now after all that, I want some fair food. Bring on the cotton candy and popcorn!

Decades Everyday Chore Skirt

I’m extremely pleased to announce that Decades of Style has expanded their size range for their Decades Everyday patterns! The Chore Skirt just released today and goes up to a size 26 or a 46″ waist. This means no more grading up for me! When Janet asked me to test the skirt, I jumped on the chance. I’ve been a big DOS fan for a while. The instructions and drafting are great. The vintage style is right up my alley.

The Chore Skirt is not your regular pleated skirt. It has a narrow waistband, side seam pockets with a side seam zipper, and beautifully placed pleats in the front and the back. In the front, there are less pleats than the back for a clean look. The back pleats really give the skirt a lovely look. There are also side pleats that make the pockets and zipper disappear. There is a bottom panel in the skirt that is perfect for contrasting fabric or for using bias tape or lace. The hem is weighted so that the skirt always draped beautifully. The skirt works beautifully in mid to lightweight fabrics that can handle the multiple pleats at the back.

I made my skirt in a hot pink cotton poplin with bias trim above the bottom panel. The skirt went together really quickly except that I originally forgot the side pleats and frantically messaged Janet saying the waistband didn’t fit. She was very wonderful about it, but my cheeks sure were red! With the side pleats, it of course fit perfectly into the waistband. D’oh.

I will need to wear this version with a belt, but that is okay. My gold belt looks fabulous with it. 😉 I made a size 24, but likely should have made a size 22 instead. I was trying to be extra cautious because my waist can fluctuate due to inflammation. Next time, I will choose a size 22. I have visions of making this in chambray fabric or some lovely linen. Or copying this vintage version posted on the Decades of Style IG page:

Isn’t it beautiful? ❤

Here is my gorgeous version! Don’t I match my blog theme perfectly? ❤

Just a note, the belt is styled under the waistband here since I haven’t added carriers yet for the belt.

Decades Everyday Chore Skirt

Decades Everyday Chore Skirt

Decades Everyday Chore Skirt

Decades Everyday Chore Skirt

Decades Everyday Chore Skirt

Decades Everyday Chore Skirt

Look at that swish!

Needless to say I am totally biased because I was already a fan girl of DOS and I got the pattern for free. But in spite of that bias, I really love this skirt and I think it’s a great pattern.

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Decades Everyday Chore Skirt
  • Pros: Well-drafted pattern and a great size range! The strategically placed pleats are really going to look awesome on a lot of people.
  • Cons: I’m not sure I have any cons!
  • Make again?: Already dreaming of the next one!
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md5/5 stars

Flashback Friday

Flashback Friday is here, but with a twist. 😉

Recently, a friend contacted me asking me to help her with a very special project. She sent me a picture and asked if I could recreate the dress so she could pose as her younger self. The original picture was taken in Hungary at Aquincum ruins of Budapest and she was about to return there with her parents for a family trip.

Recreating childhood pictures is a really great trend that emerged recently. I really love the idea and was fully behind it!

My friend, Susan Debreceni, is heavily into nostalgia. I know her through the Toronto Improv Community. She even runs a nostalgic show called Blast from the Past: “Comedians take the stage and bring their cherished childhood items to life through improv and otherwise. Nostalgia at its comedic best.” It’s a great way to bring out the fun in nostalgia. I also have seen some adorable baby pictures of improvisors!

When Susan sent me the picture, I knew immediately what to do: Colette Moneta bodice and a gathered skirt. I didn’t use the Moneta skirt, because the sides are curved and I wanted to make sure the dress had matching side seams for the stripes.

Finding the fabric was surprisingly not difficult! We were sure that would be the most difficult part. I quickly searched in my usual places and found a striped cotton lycra and a solid yellow cotton lycra (unfortunately no longer available) at L’Oiseau Fabrics. The fabrics were definitely brighter than the original dress, but brighter didn’t matter. It was an almost perfect match! When they arrived, I was really impressed with the quality. Definitely worth the price.

They sewed up beautifully on my serger. I added sleeve bands in yellow to the sleeves and omitted the pockets since they were not sitting correctly. I serged the hem, since that is my preference. I asked first if that was cool with Susan and she was on board. For the butterfly, Susan sent me a picture, which I printed out and used as a template. I used misty fuse to stabilize the cut out and then used a satin stitch on my sewing machine. It worked really well and then needed to be ironed like crazy to sit flat perfectly. It looked awesome.

 

Here is the final garment! Hopefully it fits my friend well. 😊😊 #sewing #sewcialists

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I’m super happy to have helped make Susan’s nostalgic dreams come true!

Want to check this dress out in person? It might appear at Blast from the Past!

Check them out on facebook or twitter.

Decades Everyday ESP Dress (Tribute Sewing)

For Sewcialist tribute month, Gillian asked me to contribute to the blog. I knew immediately who I was going to make a tribute to: Tanya from Mrs. Hughes.

I’ve been following Tanya since 2012. She is one of the reasons I got back into sewing in 2013 along with the other editors at the Curvy Sewing Collective. My adventures in sewing had been all over the place before. I was convinced that sewing patterns were incompatible with curvy women. I didn’t know about FBAs or other pattern adjustments. I still use Idle Fancy’s tutorials on that.  I also mostly saw bland clothing out there for plus sizes. Nothing colourful or interesting and certainly nothing with reasonable prices and shipping for a Canadian gal. I ordered some dresses from modcloth and eshakti, but I had to wait for sales. I knew I wanted to sew all my clothes since I bought a sewing machine in 2009, but I didn’t feel like the majority of sewing bloggers reflected my needs. When I started following Tanya, all that changed. Her style was exactly what I wanted to sew! Vintage, colourful, and lots and lots of dresses! 😀

Eventually after a million comments, Tanya and I became friends. She sent me the Decades Everyday ESP dress and Wonder Woman fabric and I knew my tribute to her would include both.

Decades Everyday ESP Dress

If you don’t know, Tanya is the queen of the ESP Dress. She has several versions in all different kinds of fabric, including her very own Wonder Woman ESP Dress.

I love this dress!

Decades Everyday ESP Dress

The ESP dress only goes to a 46 bust, though, which meant I had some pattern alterations to do for it. I did a 2.5 inch FBA on the largest size to give me 5 extra inches for my 51 inch bust. With the ease in the pattern, it worked out perfectly for me. I also did a large bicep adjustment on the sleeves. The sleeves weren’t tight, but I wanted a bit more ease of movement. For the future however, I will need to increase the armsyce just slightly since it is a bit tight and high.  The FBA added space to the waist. However, I could have made the waist darts a big bigger since the dress doesn’t quite come in enough at the waist without the belt. I also lowered the neckline since I knew that would be too high for me. After a muslin, I did a slight hollow chest adjustment at the neckline. I will also be taking a wedge out of the back neckline too next time.

Decades Everyday ESP Dress

For the skirt, I was restricted with the width due to fabric constraints. I think the fullness works, though.

Decades Everyday ESP Dress

I already have another version planned using nerdy Hello Kitty fabric.

While this dress isn’t going to worn to work that often, it will get a lot of wear at cons or on the weekends. Basically any excuse for Wonder Woman!

Decades Everyday ESP Dress

Decades Everyday ESP Dress

Decades Everyday ESP Dress

Decades Everyday ESP Dress

Decades Everyday ESP Dress

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Decades Everyday ESP Dress
  • Pros: Really well drafted dress with raglan sleeves and square neckline. Easy pattern for making alterations.
  • Cons: A good size range, but I do subtract meanly for it only going up to a 46 inch bust. Otherwise a 5 star pattern. (edit: Decades Everyday is going up to a 52 inch bust soon!)
  • Make again?: Already have my next one planned out.
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdhalf-star-black-md4.5/5 stars

Pattern Hacking for Cosplay

This was first published on the Curvy Sewing Collective.

When I first started sewing, my main objective was costumes, costumes, costumes! I bought my first sewing machine because I was participating in a burlesque show and wasn’t able to find a costume in my size. I ran out and bought a little pink sewing machine for $100 and fabric and got started. The first thing I made was a costume that I called Little Red Riding Wolf. The idea was that at first glance, I’d be Little Red Riding Hood, but I’d take off costume pieces to reveal she was the wolf all along. It was made completely without a pattern. I had no experience with patterns so I just winged the whole thing.

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This was almost 10 years ago!

I started working with patterns around Christmas of that same year. I was annoyed to find out that most patterns didn’t go up to my size and costume patterns really didn’t go up to my size. I felt like I was back to square one with my dilemma. That Christmas/January, I made my second costume piece by just using a woven wrap dress pattern. I choreographed an Alice in Wonderland routine. I made a blue wrap dress using an out-of-print Butterick pattern and then found an apron to wear with it.

Pattern Hacking for Cosplay

Over the years after that, I mainly made costumes from RTW clothes. I’d use them as a pattern and then hack them into new things.

Pattern Hacking for Cosplay

This Harley Quinn costume was made using three RTW pieces: a t-shirt, a hoodie, and leggings. I hacked the front and back of the shirt into 4 pieces (2 for the front and 2 for the back) and I added the diamond to one side of the top. You can’t see the top in the pictures I have, unfortunately. The hoodie had the back hacked into 2 pieces. The arms were spit into two pieces as well in order to incorporate cuffs at the end that went on my thumbs. The leggings were split into 4 pieces. All pieces were made using cotton lycra in red and black.

I moved from burlesque to improv comedy and made costumes for our Star Trek improv show Holodeck Follies.

Pattern Hacking for Cosplay

Both of these were made with a polyester ponte. I hacked my husband’s trek shirt using a long sleeve top. I split both so there was a panel going down the centre with an asymmetrical V at the bottom. My husband’s top got a v on the shoulders.

For each of these RTW hacks, I made a pattern first using the clothing and then did the hacking using the flat pattern.

After a few years of doing this, I found it was easier to start with a pattern and just hack that up rather than starting with a RTW garment, making a pattern, and then hacking the pattern. Using an existing pattern also meant that I had more accurate drafting that wasn’t muddied by worn out RTW clothing. In both of the above ponte costumes, I hadn’t accounted for the lack of stretch in the material and needed to add panels on the side.

Pattern Hacking for Cosplay

For the three additional Trek-inspired costumes, I used two different patterns. For the male tops, I used the Tahoe Tee pattern from Peekaboo Patterns and for the female version I used a Burda knit top pattern. For the Wesley Crusher inspired shirt on the left, all I added was horizontal stripes across the chest. That character in our show was called Weasley Pincher so we didn’t want the top to be an exact copy. 😉 It is an improvised parody show after all!

For the other two shirts, I cut off a yoke for the black and then cut the asymmetrical V-shaped panel for the bottom. You can read more about this and see more pictures in this entry.

Some things to remember when pattern hacking is to add seam allowance back into the flat pattern. You can do most hacking to cut panels and colour blocking details, but make sure you add seam allowance or the pattern will be too small.

After these costumes, I got into more complicated hacking using a single woven pattern of a costume jacket for my husband. M7216 is where I started. I did tissue fittings on this to ensure that the pattern fit at various stages of hacking it. That is the bonus of working on a costume for someone else. A dress form is also good for pattern hacking and saving time by doing a tissue fit instead of a muslin. I do not have a dress form, sadly. We wanted a duplicate of Captain Picard’s dress uniform from Star Trek: Insurrection.

In order to get this look using McCall’s 7216, I had to add panels to the front and make sure there was seam allowance to add in the zipper. For the stitching on the V panels on the shoulders and the shoulder yokes, I just did machine stitching and added gold lame bias tape. If I were to make it again, I would have lined the entire jacket and added quilt batting to that area before stitching. It would have also meant that I didn’t need to use shoulder pads to get the structure. It would have made my husband a bit hot, though. I’d use it for my version of the jacket, though, since I am always cold. 😉 The only other pattern hack I did was to add cuffs to the sleeves and a collar stand to the jacket.

Pattern Hacking for Cosplay

You can read more about this project on in this entry.

The final two projects to share are, yes, more Star Trek, two more jackets. One for me and one for my husband. My jacket mimics the dress uniforms of Star Trek TNG and my husband’s jacket is a nod to Admiral Kirk’s uniform. For my jacket, I used McCall’s 6887 and I used the same jacket pattern, M7216, for my husband’s jacket.

Pattern Hacking for Cosplay

Pattern hacking for my jacket involved adding a V panel to the shoulders and the sleeve pieces and adding a yoke to the bodice on the front and back. I doubled up the centre panels in order to have the jacket overlap at the centre. The jacket closes using snaps, which don’t sit perfectly, unfortunately. They are just sew-on snaps and I keep meaning to replace it with velcro for a flatter look. For my husband’s jacket, there was more complicated pattern hacking required. I needed to make two panels for overlap for the front. This involved extending the front pattern piece. I also made panels for the inside of the jacket as well and added facing for the neckline. The turtleneck is just a dickie and I added sleeve tabs and made pins and a belt buckle with polymer clay. You can read more about these two costumes in this blog post.

I have plans for several more costumes for the future. Some are surprisingly not Star Trek. 😉

The key with pattern hacking for cosplay is to look through your patterns and envision what needs to be done for each to make it into a costume.

  1. Start with basic patterns or a sloper.
  2. Make your fit adjustments first before hacking the pattern.
  3. Trace your pattern! You’re going to want to use it to hack other costumes.
  4. Hack the pattern and don’t forget to add seam allowances to any new panels.
  5. Make a muslin or tissue fit to make sure the hack worked like you wanted.
  6. Make your costume.
  7. Add embellishments, tabs, bias tape, quilting and other details to make your costume even better.

You can often do a lot with just making new panels and adding embellishments to a regular pattern. There are also a lot of characters that you can cosplay by using a simple dress or skirt or top/pants combo in a specific colour or with a patch on it or some applique.

Want to be Mabel Pines from Gravity Falls? Take a sweater pattern, add a turtle neck, add some rainbow patches or applique to the chest, make a skirt, put on a matching headband, white socks, black shoes, grab a stuffed pig and you can even buy fake braces for your teeth! Go solve those mysteries.

Want to be a dalek? Take the Upton dress, lengthen the panels, cut some plastic ping pongs in half, spray paint them and stick them on the skirt panels, use bias tape to get the lines on the bodice, wear a miner’s hat with a light, carry a plunger and you’re exterminating the whole Comic Con.

Want to be Sailor Moon? Take a circle skirt and make pleats in it. Take a t-shirt pattern and add some stuffed rolls for the V on the hem of the top and the sleeves. Add bows, white gloves, a tiara, a wig, and some jewelry. Grab your moon stick and, in the name of the moon, punish!

With basic patterns, there are almost limitless possibilities for cosplay. Don’t feel confined to just using costume patterns and getting frustrated by the lack of selection. Use any pattern, hack it, and make it your own.

Want more suggestions? Let me know what costumes have you always wanted to make and I will give you tips on how to do it. Leave a comment and I will get back to you or feel free to fill out my contact form on my blog and I will email you. 🙂