I’m so excited to be here today to kick off our brand new series, called See It/Sew It/Share It! This series grew from a love of using some of my favorite pdf patterns to recreate ready-to-wear (RTW) styles. I know the term “knockoff” doesn't have a great connotation, but “inspiration” sure does. Here at Pattern Revolution, we’re all about using the resources we have available to us as sewers/sewists/seamstresses to help us create the looks and fit we're after. Inspiration takes many forms, and many pdf pattern designers readily embrace that.
When I mentioned to the PR team that this might be a fun series for us, lots of ladies jumped right in with ideas and reasons why we’d want to share some of our favorite ways to use and adapt patterns. Many home sewists like to recreate RTW styles for cost effectiveness, knowing that it will often cost less to sew a garment (even using designer or other high end fabrics) than the cost of a similar store bought boutique or designer item. That can certainly be true, but I still find myself frequently inspired by and re envisioning clothing I've seen at far more moderate retailers such as JCrew, Modcloth, Old Navy, and Anthropologie. Why spend the time? Well, the fit I can get from a handmade garment is truly custom - the ability to blend sizes, change fabric types, add embellishments, or otherwise personalize is a luxury I don't generally have with RTW.
Until recently, I’d only sewn baby and children’s clothing. My body is far more shapely and lumpy and bumpy than those of my kids, which means I can't just pick a size, sew it up, and call it good. The good folks here at PR have been gently encouraging/prodding/lighting a fire under us about this, and saying it’s time to stop with the excuses and sew ourselves some love. This was a nice chance for me to branch out a bit and get started.
I saw this dress on the Modcloth website, and there was something about it that I kept going back to. I’m not a big dress wearer, especially not of the chiffon variety ;), and those colors aren't great for me at all. But oh, those polka dots. And the keyhole with the little bow. And the sleeve cuffs. Swooooon.
The Mimi top and dress from Les Filles a Maman was a great pattern to use as a base for my version. My goal was to translate the parts of this dress that I loved into something that would make its way into my regular wardrobe rotation. Since most of my wardrobe these days is jeans and tees or casual tops, I decided to use the top version of the pattern and use cotton lycra knits for my fabrics. Of course I kept the keyhole, and just added binding to the keyhole and neckline (the pattern includes a facing rather than binding). The cuffs for the sleeves are built in, so I had to adapt a bit there to use my contrast fabric as my trim, but it was a pretty easy alteration. When I got dressed to take photos, the first comment my husband made was that I looked a bit like Peggy Olson (from Mad Men) I was thrilled that the general vibe of my inspiration dress was clear!
As with all Filles a Maman patterns, the Mimi pattern was easy to assemble (Adobe layers are enabled for printing only your size!) and the tutorial is digitally illustrated and clearly written. The fit was as expected, and the curved hem is truly a nice curve (the pattern includes a hem facing also, but I omitted that and did a small hem here). The Mimi is also available in girls’ sizes (12m14y), so I took advantage of that fact to sew up a louder, brighter version of my shirt for my daughter. I sewed a medium for me and a size 5 for her, for reference. I wasn't feeling quite bold enough to use a polka dot print for the main body of my shirt, but I knew she would!
Where do YOU find inspiration? What are your favorite and most used patterns for hacking? Join us over in the Pattern Revolution group on Facebook and show us what you've been working on, or link up your most recent creations below!