Sewists can feel like collectors some times. We collect fabric, patterns, books, tools and haberdashery like they’re going out of fashion. It’s not a cheap hobby and it takes up a fair bit of space. But as well as collecting all this hardware, we collect skills, achievement and joy and that keeps me going.
For a while now I have felt conflicted by how much I feel the need to buy every new pattern or pattern book that hits my insta feed, and how much I need to watch the pennies and just actually make the patterns I do have. And then there’s the whole business of hacking. Can I be bothered to hack and draft my own pieces? Is it wrong to copy someone else’s design?
The thing is, there are so many patterns out there and because all these designers are keeping their eyes on the catwalk and high streets there are so many similarities. And while I really want to support independent businesses, and I have my favourites, I need to support my purse too! So, recently I decided to practice and develop some of the skills I’ve been collecting by hacking and mashing patterns.
A few months back, I fell in love with a gorgeous blouse by Style Arc, the Harmony top. It has beautiful floaty sleeves and a lovely simple boxy shape. I really wanted to buy it but I held back. That litte niggling voice saying ” you have similar boxy blouse patterns already. You could hack those sleeves” grew louder each time I wanted to hit purchase.
Eventually, the right fabric came into my hands and an idea was born.
The River blouse and dress by Megan Nielsen is a really simple make. I had made the dress last year, also with hacked sleeves, that time elasticated cuff. The pattern is for knits or wovens. It has a raglan bodice which I’m really loving at the moment. The River is also reversible in that the front and back pattern pieces are identical but one is crew neck and the other is v- neck. You can choose to wear it whichever way you like.
Everything about this make is easy. The instructions are clear and the fit is casual and comfy. I made the medium size with no fit adjustments.
For the sleeve, I added two flounces to the original sleeve using a flounce from another pattern I had. I needed to widen the flounce to fit this sleeve width and I cut one flounce to be a little less deep that the other. I stitched the more narrow flounce over the wider one and attached them to each sleeve before sewing in the sleeves according to the River pattern instructions. ( notice the thread I didn’t trim- oops)
I really love this blouse, it feels and looks great on. I’m so pleased with the way this hack worked out, it’s exactly the look I was going for and didn’t cost me any extra. I will definitely be returning to this pattern.
The nice thing about working with patterns you’ve already made before, is that you know that you like the style and fit on you. Also you already have all the paper pieces traced and cut. If you’re anything like me, I find that to be the most tedious part of the making process.
I don’t know what your thoughts are about hacking or about tweaking your existing patterns to look like another pattern. The way I see it, in the making world we are all borrowing ideas from each other.
The River pattern is a great one to make as is but it also serves as a great block to make hacks from. I have more ideas for it whirring in my head. But if you liked this blouse but don’t have the pattern or can’t be bothered to hack it, then the Harmony blouse from Style Arc looks worth getting 😊