When I design patterns I nearly always find ways of altering them and adapting them in some way. I guess I just don’t like to play by the rules, or be told what to do – even if it’s by myself.
So with the Julia Top, although I love her hip-length, as she was originally created, I have found myself preferring her a bit longer.
Most patterns will have lengthen or shorten lines on them and Julia is no exception. These marks let you know the best place to add in extra fabric, or to reduce the amount of fabric, in the best places so as not to alter the lines of the pattern too much.
With the Julia, and her integrated pockets, proportion is key. So while I could just slap a bit of extra paper on the bottom of the pattern it’s going to leave the pockets rather high in proportion to the new length of the garment.
This is why I cut across the Front of the Julia pattern ABOVE the pockets. This way I could insert another 15cm of fabric to lengthen the top and keep the pockets in the correct place. The back was easier, here I could just slap on another 15cm to the hem of the top. And by “slap on” I do, of course, mean carefully measure and ensure the added on paper is parallel to the existing hem.
Now I have to confess I am a Prittstick fan. I know it’s easier to use tape sometimes, but when I go back to use my patterns again, (and being the slightly obsessive person I am about patterns I need to press them to sit flat after being folded away), I find it tricky to avoid the tape with the iron. And you really don’t want melted sticky tape on the base of your iron – trust me!
This is why I prefer glue. Once glued on you can sweep the iron over added-on paper or other pattern alterations without having to worry about becoming stuck – literally!
With the Julia’s I have in a heavier weight sweatshirting I prefer to have a slightly higher neckline too. To do this I draw on the shoulder seam allowance on both the front and back pattern pieces.
Stick a bit of extra paper under each of the pattern pieces, but make sure to keep them as individual pieces otherwise you won’t be able to separate them afterwards.
Then overlap the shoulders, making sure that the seam lines are on top of each other.
Now mark on your new neckline. I didn’t really want mine higher, just not quite so wide. Remember to factor in the width of the neckband as this will reduce the size of the neck opening too.
Now is a good time to measure out and calculate the length of the neckband. I explain how to do this over on the Woven Peaseblossom tutorial.
Once you have the pattern altered it will make up in exactly the same way as the original pattern. You should be able to overlock this together really quickly, in fact the only bit of actual ‘sewing’ is the seam across the front to create the pockets. But if you’re pretty nifty on an overlocker you could even do that seam on one as well.One tip I will share is that you can use a twin needle to finish off the neck band. It just ensures the seam lays flat and sits neatly. Just to prove contrary I haven’t actually done it on this new yellow one because I quite liked it just as it was.
But I have on one of my older ones.
Although, I have acquired a new coverstitch machine and this will do the job as well. (I just have to get mine out of the box and find some time to play with it.)
To finish off this pattern hack I decided to add a cuff at the hem. Remember when calculating how deep to make the cuff you will need to double that measurement as the finished cuff is a double layer of fabric.
If you are using a proper rib it will usually come as a narrower tube of fabric. So for this Julia I chose to make a cuff 8cm deep. So I cut two strips of 18cm – 2 lots of 8 + 2 lots of 1cm seam allowance.
Open up the tubes so they are two long pieces, one for the front and one for the back. These pieces will be loo long to fit onto either the front or the back so they need to be trimmed down.
I made this one 14cm narrower than the body so it will bring in the hem slightly to create more of a ‘sweater dress’ kind of look.
Join the two ribbing pieces into a loop and then fold in half with the right sides on the outside. The bottom cuff then attaches to the hem in the same way as the sleeve cuff. Use the side seams on the cuff to match up to the side seams on the top. Then you can match up the centre fronts and centre backs of both the cuff and top.
This is my latest Julia Hack. I hope you have a go at hacking one too.
You can always join us for a Julia Workshop if you would like some support and expert tuition to help you get yours hacked.