My Sew Sew Life-Pattern Hacker

I’m a pattern hacker from way back. No, I’m not an Internet pirate that steals code. I change and rearrange a sewing pattern to get what I want or need. Almost every sewing blog that I follow talks about the style changes they made with their working pattern. Creative people are, well, creative.

The two fashions I’m wearing for today’s post were changed, each for a different reason, one planned and one a matter of necessity.

The Planned Pattern Hack

In Dallas, accessorizing my top with long leggings, lizard textured wedges, my MCK Pendent, my main “go to” black bag and a crown by AnnMann Designs.

I wanted a dramatic high/low top for a trip that my daughters and I took to Dallas at the end of May.  I settled on New Look 6439. There were things that 6439 had that I wanted; a wide V-Neck, 3/4 sleeves and a fit and flair styling.

The Sewing Nitty Gritty

To get the look I wanted, I added 5″ of length onto the front and 16″ onto the back of View D. After that, I adjusted the side seams to create a smooth transition from the front to the back.

My next step–I think really important–was to make a muslin from a cheaper polyester knit to check the sizing and make any adjustments that appeared necessary. Fortunately, the pattern itself was a good fit. The muslin step is important if you want worry free sewing .

This is an “Easy Just for Knits” pattern, a good one for beginners. The only part that needs extra attention is putting the band around the V-Neck. Basting it on before machine sewing eliminates any hardship with getting an even width.

I used my walking foot to ease the fabric through because this seems to help if you are sewing knits with a regular machine.

I like this pattern. Hmm….I can see eventually adding maybe 10” on the front and turning it into a dress…maybe with a knit that has a print.

The sizing is pretty accurate. For me, I did my usual cutting the bust part a larger size and the rest of the pattern in a smaller size.


The Fabric

The fabric I chose was  Ken-Dor’s T7880 – Tencel™ Organic Cotton Jersey. which is 70% Lyocell (Tencel™), 30% Organic Cotton.  I love Ken-Dor fabric because, “Ken-Dor takes great pride in specializing in environmentally & socially responsible knit and woven textiles and strives to ensure that partner mills adhere to multiple global standards of environmental and social compliance.”

Ken-Dor does not sell directly to consumers. I use the The Sourcing District because there is a five yard minimum on fabric orders. Although, I’m not quite a designer, The Sourcing District is perfect for smaller independent designers who don’t need hundreds of yards of a single fabric.

This fabric is silky smooth and a pleasure to work with. It will be easy to make other garments with what I have left. I think it is the perfect T-Shirt fabric.

How I wore my high/low to a Kansas City fashion show. The shoes are the same but I added two more pieces: MKC jewelry and a vintage Rodo clutch. I also tried cropped leggings for this look. That’s my friend Paige (and our Edward Jones financial advisor).

Where Can You Buy Tencel Fabric Online?

I did a little looking around and found a large selection of Tencel at Fashion Fabric ClubI may try them out when I decide to make my dress from this pattern using a print.

And one more variation. Back to short leggings with a pair of Martha Davis sandals, vintage sword necklace by 74th Harley Street. Someone dubbed me “Hippy Chic” that night. I’ll take that.

The Unplanned Pattern Hack

Earlier I wrote that making a muslin of your pattern is an important step. Well…sometimes I don’t always practice what I preach.

The pattern that I used is Style Arc’s Jacinta Knit Dress. It came along with the fabric in a kit that was on clearance at Craftsy about two years ago. I had been wanting a maxi dress and really liked the fabric print.

This is a comfortable dress without much shaping around the waist. I’ve seen photos of others who have made it and put a belt with it–also a nice look. 

For some reason, last summer, I just decided to cut out the dress without even worrying if it would fit. What I did worry about was matching the print stripes at the side seams. After cutting it out, it just sat there until this spring. Finally I decided to hand-baste the dress together and try it on. Oh my, this thing was so low in the front, I could never wear it out!

Okay, time to creatively correct my mistake with a pattern hack. I added an inverted triangle in black jersey knit. Wearing a black camisole underneath would also have worked, but I thought that might leave me feeling too warm.


A Little Bit About the Pattern and Sewing Nitty Gritty

Due to the minimal accompanying instructions, I would suggest this pattern is for intermediate sewers. Also, the line drawings make the dress look shaped but it is really a straight fit. But don’t be too intimidated, it is still a great summer maxi and easy to wear. I wore it on the plane when the girls and I flew to Dallas. For me, this is probably one of those one and done patterns. But I would still try a Style Arc pattern again because, in general, I like their designs.


Important Link For This Post


Ken-Dor Textile

Style Arc Patterns

New Look Patterns

The Sourcing District

It’s time to button up my latest adventure with pattern hacking. I’ve changed patterns around for as long as I’ve been sewing and that is going back to the 60s. However, I’ve only come across the term “pattern hacking” a couple of years ago on social media. I guess now we have to have a name for everything.

I’ll be back when August’s 1st Friday rolls around with another Slow Fashion Walk. Until then, stay creative.

July’s Slow Fashion Walk

The Slow Fashion Walk is open until July 31st.



To link up, Just click the blue button below and it will take you to a new page. Copy your URL, crop your photo and that is just about it.

Visit some of the other bloggers and above all else have some fun.

I link up with some great blogs every week. To see who they are go HERE.

Michael and Rachelle get credit for most of the photos of me and editing.

Again, thanks for stopping by. Take care……..



Follow my blog with Bloglovin








25 thoughts on “My Sew Sew Life-Pattern Hacker

  1. I love your creations, your hacking to get what you really wanted, and especially the ways you’ve styled the black dip dress.. You are so clever and creative, Terri. Each time I read of your latest work want to start sewing again, but then I forget to! I thought you were going my route with second dress, I had a emerald green wrap cocktail dress cut out with the pattern pinned to it for years, then when I moved house I eventually threw it out. What a waste!
    Hugs, lovely lady, x.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I tell you, it came pretty close to being one of those NFPs. Don’t know why, but I just couldn’t get into it when I cut it out, probably the reason of lack of interest whether it even fit. Michelle told me this morning (we stayed the night in Joplin) that that maxi dress has been one of her favorite things that I’ve made lately and her favorite thing is the black insert-so go figure! Glad I finally pulled out the extra effort and got it done.
      I find that the more I sew, the more I want to sew. I don’t worry about when I get something done, it’s more the journey than the finished product. Take care, love


    1. I’ve always thought your Mom and I would have fun together. I spent fifteen years not sewing and finding my way back has been interesting. I will never tackle the type of projects I did all those years ago but have fun just doing easier things, relearning skills and just having a good time with the experience.



    1. Thanks, Patti-sometimes I probably don’t get it to work so successfully, but these two times it did. I think sewing is one part of me expressing my style and I find I need to include it in my style blogging journey. Thanks for having a wonderful link up for all of us to show case our personal style.



    1. Thanks, I guess I am grateful,now, that Mom made me sew. It was sort of that or no new clothes. The sewing machines today makes it more fun, I think. Like I mentioned, I’m going to turn that hi/low top into a dress-as soon as I learn how to work my serger-I’m trying to teach the old dog some new tricks, as we say around here.

      As far as buying a high/low top like the one I wanted-there just weren’t any out there-I guess I have weird tastes? Well, anyway, I hope all of you don’t mind me throwing in a sewing post once in a while-this is getting back to being fairly important in my creative life.


    1. Thanks, I guess I am grateful,now, that Mom made me sew. It was sort of that or no new clothes. I did take about 15 years off, but right before I retired, I bought a pretty substantial machine. I was hoping that I would finally find some time to get back into sewing. Honestly, I cut back on my blogging to make more time for the sewing, dying and making yarn and just basically more artistic things. I even picked up a new watercolor 5 x 5 sketch book but that I havn’t gotten around to yet.

      I think I mentioned to you, how hard the writing is from me but if you think you have something to offer, write one must. Now, I always wrote lesson plans and art instructions-but that is a whole other bag of wool.

      I enjoy your writing so thank you for do it and I know you are also creative in other ways too.


      Liked by 1 person

  2. You are ‘sew’ creative Terri! You look fabulous in your creations! Reminds me of my sewing days! I started young, making outfits for my Barbie dolls and then sewing my own dress at age 10. My mom enrolled me in a summer sewing course because she saw the talent and interest I had, and she bought me my first sewing machine (Husqvarna). I even made a suit for my brother when I was 16 (link below). I made so many shirts for my then boyfriend (now husband). I even sold to some of my creations to a boutique in downtown Toronto. I also hacked patterns. Those days are gone. Now I only repair and alternate. Dancing took over my life.



    1. Well, we have something in common-my Mom made me make a house coat when I was 10. I can’t say I particularly enjoyed it because I didn’t come around to sewing again for another four years. I stopped sewing for a long while because sheep took over my life and it was all things wool for about fifteen years. About eight years ago, I decided it was time to balance things out more and I brought sewing and woven cloth back into my life.
      I still have a few sheep but they are all retirement age. I did the Barbie doll sewing too, but for my sister’s Barbies.
      Creativity is creativity no matter where it is. And I will add that I am a season ticket holder to the Kansas City Ballet because, I just love ballet. The first performance is The Wizard of Oz this fall and I can’t wait!

      Creatively yours,

      Liked by 1 person

  3. You are so creative and clever, Terri. Once upon a time I used to make my clothes and the children’s (could even do button-holes) but not now. It’s the creativity I admire and that black dress is just amazing and looks wonderful dressed up and down! I also love that patterned dress. Respect, Terri, and thanks so much for hosting the ‘slow fashion’ get-together. See you in August 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Penny, there was a time when we could save money by making your own clothes. We are pretty much the same age, so I know you remember those days. When Michael and I first married and he was in grad school, I made all his shirts because I could probably make a shirt in those days for about $5.

      For a while, I worked in a fabric store and got really good deals on my material and if I did a store model (which I eventually got to take home) it was free.

      Those days are gone and now it is just about expressing a unique style in a garment. And I also have my favorite Vogue designers that I want to sew. But I take forever to make anything now. Unlike when I was young, it is the journey for me now and not how much end product I can make. If I want a haul, I’ll go the the charity shops.


    1. Yes, Reni
      I know you understand and yes sewing a good skill to learn. I don’t know if you get this said to you, but so many times I hear, “you are so talented because you can sew, I could never do that.” I don’t think sewing, by itself is innately creative but you have to want to learn and work at it.

      Learning that skill then leads to creativity, deciding on a fabric and trimmings etc. I get the feeling that the younger generation in their 20’sand 30’s are coming back to this wonderful skill and it does my heart good.

      Also, I am so glad we connected through blogging because of this dual sewing and fashion interest we have.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, it’s always a pleasure to meet someone with the same interests. And as a former teacher for textile creations (Textilgestaltung in German) I taught generation of youngsters to use the sewing machine. I think everybody should be able to!
        Btw: Another interest between you and me is the history of costume and fashion. I love your IG posts of the historic gowns!
        XOXO Reni

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Pattern hacking – that’s a new term for me! See I learned something new today! Lol This is really the way to go when clothing becomes old or no longer fits or just boring. Love that you brought your black dress back to life and I am so glad it didn’t go to waste! You are very creative!

    Maureen |

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Maureen, I am not surprised because if you haven’t followed sewing bloggers during the last two years, you would not ever had heard of it. I asked my daughter, who also sews, when she first heard of “pattern hacking” and she thought maybe around two years ago-so it is a new term on the scene. We seem to want to give everything a catchy name now.

      That maxi threw me for a loop for a while but like the solution that I came up with. Thanks for dropping by!


  5. I’m so impressed this top is fabulous. You are very clever and I wish I could do similar. Thanks for sharing both your top and the dress. Jacqui Mummabstylish


  6. Finally catching up with some of my blog reading!
    Terri, I can’t believe how talented you are! I am both awed and envious when I see people who have such gifts when it comes to sewing. (I hem by using the iron on hemming product – that’s about my limit!) These are beautiful pieces! The looks you put together are fabulous! Such an artistic, creative flair!


    1. Hey, Ronnie-that iron on hemming tape is handy dandy stuff. At least you know about it and it work great.

      You know, I was raised with sewing and mom really wouldn’t buy me any new clothes but she would buy all the fabric that my little heart desired-so I’ve been at it for a lifetime-it’s just a skill, that’s all.
      xox, Terri


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.