I am a child of the 80’s. I had my Cabbage Patch Preemie, my Strawberry Shortcake decorated room and, of course, copious amounts of Barbies. I did make clothes for my dolls with the sewing knowledge I learned from candlewicking embroidery with my mom, but I think the thing that prepared me most for life as a boutique owner would have to be Fashion Plates. You could mix and match tops and bottoms and fun prints to make your very own creations! Who would have thought 30 years later that you can use the same(ish) techniques to mash up PDF patterns to come up with new combinations?
Today’s post is going to be a quick breakdown of the mash up. If you’re brand new to PDFspeak, a mash up is taking two patterns (or more!) and switching the pieces around to make a new look. You can swap a halter bodice for a peasant top or a romper bottom for a skirt. It’s a great way to stretch the PDFs you have and also breathe life into your sewing if you just can’t find that perfect look you’re going for. It’s also great for adding coverage to a garment for modesty or seasonal needs. The possibilities are only as limited as your imagination...or your Paypal funds and Dropbox storage!
I was given the opportunity to mash two great patterns. I have wanted to try the Happy Herringbone pattern from Jocole for some time and I was looking for just the right time to add it to my shop. While I love the design, I really wanted a bodice that would put this unique dress over the top. I went in search of a pattern with a bodice that mimicked the “V” shape of the skirt, and landed on the Allison Dress from FooFoo Threads Patterns. The best part about these two patterns is that they are from two designers with two totally different looks
The end result is this beautiful dress.
The lines on the bodice are simple and classic, but they literally direct your eyes to the magnificent piecework featured on the skirt.
I’m here today to give you a beginner’s guide to mashing up patterns. It’s really not hard, but it does take a little time and thought. In the end, it’s definitely worth it! These are general guidelines, meant for beginners, and not set in stone rules. I’m sure there are people that would do things differently than I would, but here are my tips for you if you are just getting your toes wet!
Keep things simple and swap piece for piece. If one of your patterns has longer bodice, look for another pattern with a long bodice. Same thing with short bodices. When you get a little more comfortable with it, you can do some math, but sticking with this in the beginning will keep you from having the skirt portion too short or too long.
Use patterns you are already comfortable with sewing. This will save you time and headache and allow for a pleasant mash up experience. This will also prevent you from ruing the day you let me talk you into doing this!
Just like anything else that has to do with sewing, once you start, you WILL get addicted. You will go to bed at night planning out your next mash and look for the next moment you have to squeeze it in. Again…just a heads up!
Most of all, have fun. These are definitely a challenge, but very doable for an enthusiastic beginner. If you really want to do one and can’t choose between patterns, have a sewing friend pick them out for you!
And just in case you wondered what the dress would look like if you totally swapped the pieces and sewed up the parts that didn't get invited to the party, here’s the bodice from Happy Herringbone and the skirt from the Allison Dress.