Mashing Patterns To Suit Your Body And Style

People sometimes comment in Facebook sewing groups that they can’t find a pattern that they like, or they want a certain style for the top, but a different look for the bottom.  Do you have patterns with certain elements that you absolutely love, and wish that you could mix and match them with elements from a different pattern?  Have you ever tried mashing those patterns together to give you a new look?  I find myself mashing and hacking patterns all the time.  It’s generally a good idea to make the pattern as designed at least once, to judge how it fits and looks on you.  Once you know how it fits, it’s easier to start playing with your patterns.

A pattern mash can be something as simple as using the contour waistband you love from your favorite workout pants on a different pants or shorts pattern.  I use a modified version of the Patterns for Pirates Peg Legs contoured waistband on P4P SOS Pants and it works great, blogged here.  Mixing and mashing sports bras with workout tanks can really personalize your gym wardrobe.  Like using the GreenStyle Power Sports Bra and mashing it with the body of the GS Lille or Jillian Tank to make a workout top.  It’s always fun to turn a top into a dress, like using the Stitch Upon A Time Aushui Tank and mashing it with the skirt of the Calista Bra, Top, Tunic & Dress.

Sometimes your mash will require a little bit of adjustment in order to work.  Like tracing the armscye from a pattern onto another pattern to ensure that the sleeves you want to use will fit the jacket, top, or dress.  Sometimes it’s a matter of making your best guess as to what will work, then trying it on and adjusting from there.

That was my  experience with last week’s pattern mash.  I wanted another new dress, and loved the flared skirt from the Sinclair Yasmin Dress.  Temperatures are still in the 90’s here, so a strappy dress seemed in order.  The Stitch Upon A Time Water Faery Twist & Swim Top (blogged here) fits well, so I figured that mashing the plain front version with the Yasmin skirt would make a super cute dress.  And I think it does.  But it took a little bit of basting and trying on to perfect my fit.  I knew that the V-shaped waistband from the Yasmin wasn’t going to line up with the bodice of the Water Faery, so I cut out the crop length Water Faery body to use as a waistband.  Since it’s technically designed as a swim top, the body is quite fitted, so that it won’t float or ride up when you go in the water.  Since I don’t plan to swim in my dress, I want the waistband fitted, but not too form-fitted.  Since I’ve been known to bake (and thoroughly enjoy indulging in) apple crisp this time of year, I decided to size up one on the “waistband”. 😉

Knowing how a pattern fits, and taking note of any changes you make to the pattern really helps the next time you make it.  When I made the Water Faery into a workout top, I narrowed and lengthened the straps and liked it, so this time I knew that cutting out strips 3″ wide & 14″ long would give me the perfect finished size.  Sewing up the bodice (which is an inner and outer layer of Phee Fabrics Tricot, with a layer of powernet sandwiched between) and straps was pretty quick and easy, and the fit was spot on.  Since I hate seam ripping, I just basted the “waistband” pieces together, and tried it on.  It was too loose under the bust.  So I graded the front waistband piece from my measured size at the top, and somewhat straight down, rather than angling in which gave me more of a rectangular rather than tapered shape.  With the width figured out, I stitched the side seams together and basted the outer waistband to the bodice, right sides together.  Then I pinned the inner waistband to the inside, effectively making an enclosed waistband.  It’s easier for me to keep all of the layers perfectly lined up by basting one layer on before pinning on the other layer and stitching everything together.  Before folding the waistband pieces down into place, I zigzagged 1″ wide elastic to the seam allowance, using the length recommended for my size in the Water Faery pattern.  This ensures that the waistband and skirt will stay down under the bust.

Then it was time to determine how long the waistband needed to be.  I wanted the flared skirt to start right at the natural waist.  Starting the flare at the narrowest part of the body gives the illusion of an hourglass shape.  My natural waist is quite high, pretty much right at the bottom of my ribs, well above my belly button.  It was surprisingly easy to find the perfect spot.  Since the waistband also had powernet sandwiched between the layers, it was definitely going to find the narrowest point for me!  Literally just bending side to side, forward and back, caused the waistband to roll up to the height of my natural waist.  I used my hem gauge to take note of the fact that the waist seam needed to be 1″ up from the bottom of the waistband in the back and on the sides, tapering to 1-3/4″ up in the center front.  Since I prefer using 3/8″ seam allowances, I trimmed 5/8″ off the back waistband pattern piece.  I used a ruler to taper from 5/8″ at the sides to 1-3/8″ at center front on the front waistband pattern piece.  Then I very carefully matched up the side seams of my bodice,  lined up the bottom edges, pinned the bodice together so that the center front and center back were on the two outside edges, and used my rotary cutter to trim off the excess fabric.

Adding the skirt was super simple, sew up the two side seams, match center points and side seams, pin all around, and stitch.  The most time consuming part was pinning up the hem.  I finished the hem with a simple zigzag stitch.  And Ta Dah!  I have a brand new fun and flowy dress!  Because I used powernet in the bodice, waistband, and straps, and elastic under the bust, I didn’t need to add swim cups or wear a bra with this dress.  And I’ve already had two random strangers ask me where I found such a cute dress.

 


WFY side

See how the seam where the skirt is attached runs perfectly parallel across the back?

WFY back

Laughing while modelling your makes is half the fun!

WFY hair

And of course I had to twirl!  Whenever you make a twirly skirt, you can’t help but twirl!

WFY wind

This pattern mash was a complete success, and something I’m bound to make again.  After sewing it, I realize it’s probably pretty close to the Water Faery Retro One Piece dress option, and that’s ok, because it looks like a great pattern.  Since I already own the Twist & Swim Top, and would never wear a one piece, I don’t feel like I have to buy the pattern just for the dress option.  (Although if you’re not yet comfortable with pattern mashing or hacking, it is a great option).

One of the best things about sewing is being able to personalize patterns, mixing and mashing, and hacking them to suit your body, and your style.  Are you ready to try a pattern mash?

 

This post may contain affiliate links.  This means that at no extra cost to you, I may receive a small commission if you purchase through my links.  As always, I only give my honest opinion.  After all, it is my blog, which represents me! 😉  Thank you for reading and sharing my love of sewing, patterns, fabric, and pattern mashing and hacking. ❤ 

 

GreenStyle Jillian Tank

Powernet “Colorblocking” And A Hidden Seam Pocket

I love sewing workout wear for several reasons.  First of all, I need something to wear to yoga class.  Secondly, I am far too frugal to spend $50 or more on a cute workout top.  And last but not least, I can customize my makes to suit my style and color preferences.

I have had the vision of a white workout top with powernet inserts floating around in my head for a while.  I just hadn’t gotten around to sewing one up.  Enter the GreenStyle Jillian Tank (on sale for 15% off as a May 2019 “Pattern of the Month”). 🙂   The pattern is loaded with options: a bandeau top; an inner tank, with or without a built in sports bra; and an outer tank that can be made with knit or woven fabric.  I chose to make the inner tank with a built in sports bra.

I used white Supplex and white Powernet from Phee Fabrics to make my Jillian Tank.  I like the simple design of the Jillian inner tank, because it gives the powernet inserts the opportunity to stand out.  Adding inserts is really easy, it’s basically a simple color blocking technique.  I cut two right angle triangles out of my powernet, being sure to cut them straight on the grain, with the greatest stretch going side to side.  The sides of the L part of the triangles were 7″ long.  I laid the triangles on the bottom corner of the tank front, and trimmed off the excess powernet to match the shape of the corners.

Jillian triangle

I marked the tank front 6.25″ up and 6.25″ over from the bottom corner and using my quilting ruler and rotary cutter, cut off the (smaller sized) triangles from the bottom corners of my tank front.  Then I laid the powernet triangles on the tank front right sides together and stitched them together.  I pressed the seam allowances toward the Supplex and top-stitched them in place so that you wouldn’t see them through the powernet.

Jillian power

I like to walk the beach whenever I get the chance.  Since I don’t want to have to carry my phone and keys, I need pockets.  I put pockets in all my workout tights and shorts, but occasionally, I’ll find myself wearing something without pockets.  So why not start adding pockets to my workout tops?  A hidden seam pocket gives cleaner lines than a patch pocket, not to mention how much easier it is to keep straight while sewing!

I cut a 4.5″ wide by 8″ tall rectangle out of powernet.  I made it that large to ensure that my phone would stay snugly in place, yet still be able to reach in and grab a key or lip balm from the bottom of the pocket.  I folded the top of the pocket down and stitched it in place.  Then I laid the pocket right sides together 3.75″ from the right edge of the tank back at the bottom corner.  I stitched along the right hand side of the pocket.

Jillian pock 1

Then I flipped the pocket over and basted it along the side seam, and zig-zagged it in place along the bottom of the pocket.  (Had I cut the pocket a bit longer, I would have lined it up with the bottom of the tank and just basted it in place.)  When the tank is hemmed, the bottom of the pocket is securely sewn in place.

Jillian pock 2

After these simple modifications, I just followed the pattern tutorial to complete my tank.  I made another small adjustment to the pattern out of necessity.  The pattern calls for double straps threaded through the top of the front shoulder strap.   Rather than cutting and sewing the straps, I used plush bra strap elastic to speed up my sewing time. Since my strapping was wider than the sewn straps would have been, I went with a single strap.

Jillian back

I love having a solid white workout top to mix and match with my Super G‘s.  The powernet inserts and pocket give the simple lines a little extra pizazz.

Jillian G frontJillian G side

I can style it with a skirt or shorts for a completely different look.

Jillian hand

I could see myself using this simple color-blocking technique to add in coordinating fabrics if I were trying to match workout tights with color-blocked side panels.  The hidden seam pocket can be customized to fit whatever you want to carry.  It’s so much more useful than the tiny little key pockets you find on ready to wear!

Go ahead and sew all the workout wear!  After all, it is #memademay.

 

*This post may contain affiliate links.  This means that at no extra cost to you, I may receive a small commission if you purchase through my links.  As always, I only give my honest opinion.  After all, it is my blog, which represents me!  Thank you for reading and sharing my love of sewing and pattern hacking. 😉