Mindful consumption: Getting the most from your sewing patterns
I AM Patterns shares their top tips for sewing more sustainably by making the most of the patterns you already have in your stash
As tempting as it can be to buy all the latest sewing pattern releases, it’s also important to value and make the most of the patterns we already own. There are so many benefits of reusing, remaking and hacking our patterns, such as:
- Pushing your creativity
- Developing new skills
- Reducing environmental impact of printing and shipping
- Saving time with fit adjustments
- And of course, saving some money!
Today we're going to take a look at how you can get started, and create your own unique garments!
FREE Clochette Top Pattern from I AM Patterns
Since 2015, I AM Patterns have inspired thousands of people around the world to cut, pin and sew beautiful clothes that truly represent them.
Where to start?
The idea of pattern hacking can seem quite daunting, and not just for newbie sewists. However, hacking a pattern is something everyone can do. We advise starting with minor tweaks; altering a sleeve length can completely transform a garment, and it’s something we can all manage without needing to know anything about pattern drafting! Start small and build up the changes you make to a design. As your confidence grows, you can gradually become more adventurous in your pattern hacks.
Here are just a few simple pattern hack ideas to begin with:
- Make a dress into a top (or vice versa!)
- Alter the sleeve length
- Add a ruffle to a hem or sleeve
- Change the length of trousers to culottes or shorts
A lot of sewing pattern companies also share add-ons which are often free to download. These can include whole new elements such as a different sleeve variation or a new skirt to create a totally different style. These are perfect for bringing a new lease of life to a pattern in your stash, and take away any need for redrafting. We have shared a free sleeve variation to I AM Lucienne, a button-up extension for I AM Cassiopee, a dress extension for I AM Gaia and many more, all of which create completely different silhouettes.
Ready for more adventurous pattern hacking?
This is where it gets really exciting. You’ve tested the water and tried some basic pattern hacks and seen how they transform the patterns you already own. Now you can let your imagination soar and create new and unique twists to your most loved sewing patterns. Your imagination is the limit here, so have fun, take your time, and always make a toile!
If you would like some ideas and guidance, including step-by-step tutorials for pattern hacks, we have a dedicated page on our website just for pattern hacking.
Looking for more inspiration?
It’s a great idea to look to new sources for inspiration. Whether you have a look into historical fashion, runways shows, lifestyle blogs, or enjoy a browse round your local high street, there is a wealth of inspiration out here, often in unlikely places.
And for an in-depth look at pattern hacks, check out our e-book in partnership with Valerie, a sewist known for her amazing pattern hacking abilities. Valerie (you may know her on Instagram @giscard.co) ceaselessly wows us with her creativity and ability to reimagine our designs. In the e-book, she shares more about her process and how to take a sewing pattern and completely transform it into something new and completely unique!
Valerie embodies the notion of getting the most from your sewing patterns. Taking a design and reimagining it for yourself, for your body, for your lifestyle, is not only the perfect outlet for creativity, it’s also empowering, exciting and innovative. We encourage you to look at the patterns you already have, get that creative hat on, and dream up something that’s new and all about YOU!