The Great Pattern Hack!

We were so excited to be asked to join Michael Miller’s Great Pattern Hack. It is always fun to think about ways to edit and redesign patterns we have in our line. Some patterns lend themselves perfectly for a “hack” like The Gathered Back Top & Tunic, which was just released last month along with 30 “new arrivals” which debuted at Quilt Market!

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The Great Pattern Hack has given us the perfect opportunity to share our idea for making the Gathered Back a sleeveless top – using a technique already in the pattern, as well as Michael Miller’s Seedling by Thomas Paul.

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This simple, pull-over top, features a a flattering horizontal gathered seam in the back. The curved neckline is finished with a bias facing, which gives a beautiful, professional finish to your garment. It is this technique which we will use to create a sleeveless garment.

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The bias facing technique is so simple, but incredibly effective. You start with a strip of fabric, cut on the bias, the length of your opening, plus your seam allowance. When you have your strip, press it lengthwise WST. Then use a steam iron to steam the strip into a curve that matches the curve of your opening.

When the strip is steamed into shape, open the edges and place the short ends RST. Sew with a 1/2″ seam. Pin your loop to the opening, on the RS of the garment, starting in the back, matching the seams and raw edges. Pin along the opening. When you have the binding pinned to the garment, stitch around the opening with a 1/4″ seam allowance, then clip around the curve.

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Press the bias binding to the WS of the garment. Again, using a steam iron will help you shape the bias to the curve. Then, pin along the opening. When you are finished pinning, top-stitch along the opening with a 1/4″ seam allowance, then press.

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This bias facing technique can be used to create a professional finish to any garment. I love how the Gathered Back Top & Tunic looks sleeveless and this is an easy way to make a dramatic change.

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WINThis contest is over.


40 Responses to The Great Pattern Hack!

  1. Lynn says:

    LOL … there hasn’t been a pattern in years that I haven’t hacked! It’s just how I roll. I have a few projects ahead of this one, but looking forward to something for fall.

  2. chickie brewer says:

    I like the top one in yellow .. It is very pretty!

  3. Betsy says:

    I have to honestly say, have not done much hacking, except for embroidery on clothing, but would sure love to try.

  4. kathie L says:

    I love to add embroidery to a pattern .

  5. Pam says:

    I’ve never had the courage to hack a pattern, but I’ve often used multiple different fabrics in the same skirt or vest. Thanks for the chance to win!

  6. Margo says:

    I do not sew clothing, so this would be my first try! I can’t say that I have a sewing hack — but you can bet I’ve been reading the comments!

  7. Judith Martinez says:

    I like to add a tiered ruffle skirt to a peasant dress.

  8. Linda Gagliano says:

    I have amassed some clothes to play with hacking, but haven’t yet.

  9. Cyndy Lacey says:

    I like to use bias edging instead of facings. I also like serger or rolled hems on knits. Much easier and lighter!

  10. Georgie Cortisse says:

    I always seem to redo/change a pattern. I have taken sleeves from one pattern, bodice from another and made my own look. I personally like using self fabric for bias. I like the finished look.

  11. Lisa says:

    I just like to change the collars and/or sleeves to make them different.

  12. Cathy McClellan says:

    adding pockets!

  13. Lori Kay says:

    My favorite hack is using a bias binding around the neck rather than a facing. So much faster and I’ve gotten pretty good at it!

  14. debbie says:

    I am always changing the patterns. I remove sleeves often and add pockets too. Thanks for the giveaway. Love the top.

  15. Claire Sutherland says:

    As a newbie sewer I am sticking to the patterns as drafted and have not done any hacking yet!

  16. Ginger says:

    I like to add pockets to my skirts and pants.

  17. Kristy says:

    I typically follow most patterns as is, adding my own touches of pockets or trim. Absolutely LOVE this top and your hack version too! Thanks for the chance to win!

  18. mjb says:

    I have an aline skirt that I want to add a gathered panel to.

  19. janequiltsslowly says:

    I had a really nice top with a henley neckline and placket that I wore all the time. It had a pleat under the front placket and under the back yoke and a curved hemline. I loved that shirt and wore it until the elbows wore out and split.

  20. Linda Burrell says:

    Actually, I’m not much of a hacker, but I like to add embellishments, and sometimes multiple fabrics where the design is only for a single fabric. I like working with vintage patterns and I’m old enough to recall the 60″s as a young mother making and wearing bell bottoms and smocks.

  21. Kathy E. says:

    I haven’t hacked too many patterns, but one I’ve done a few times is adding a pocket into the seam of a top or dress. Easy enough and gives me somewhere to store my stuff! 🙂

  22. Joan says:

    Love the shirt thanks!

  23. Jane Newman says:

    I have actually used the bias binding hack on many patterns to create a sleeveless top. It’s a great technique and very versatile!

  24. Karen S says:

    For a little one, I love the dress with the pockets and an underskirt!

  25. Kathy Chapman says:

    Love it.

  26. Teresa Darr-Van Reet says:

    I love all your patterns! This gathered back is awesome, I’d love to try it, but need to add a zipper to make it easier to get on & off. I’m stuck in a wheelchair and cannot raise my arms, my DH hates dressing me because of this.

  27. Mary says:

    I would totally make a sleeveless version of the gathered back top! I love it!

  28. Annie Dee says:

    Such a cute top!

  29. Mindy ZW says:

    I like to adjust patterns by altering the neckline when possible. Love this pattern.

  30. kay rife says:

    I’d have to say this top. I love the gathered back which gives you more room for movement, and I like the length.

  31. Shelley says:

    Love sleeveless.

  32. Leigh K says:

    Being, what I consider still, a newbie garment sewer I’m always looking for patterns that are beginner friendly. This pattern I’ve been looking at for a while. Would like to try it in a rayon batik.

  33. My favorite hack to my favorite pattern is a cozy wrap. I have enlarged across the shoulders and made it a few inches longer and everyone loves the cozy wrap when their chilly!

  34. Aunt Marti says:

    Scrolling back through the “hacks” so far, I like the Marigold Dress “blouse” the best. Funny, because when I saw the dress pattern, I didn’t like it at all. I’m making summer tops to wear on my trip to Texas next month — both the Marigold blouse and the Gathered Back Top will be perfect for the hot weather in San Antonio!

  35. Debra Bopp says:

    Looks so comfortable!

  36. Jenny Brooks says:

    I do love this pattern, but was wondering about making it with shorter sleeves, so this idea really appeals to me! I will have to try it!

    Jenny in Florida

  37. Would enjoy this comfy top out of light weight flowing cotton

  38. Jo says:

    I’ve only recently started sewing and am new to hacking too- just added pockets to a tunic, very happy with the result

  39. Leesa Stokes says:

    I almost always change a pattern in some way mostly in the fit. But also with the idea of using what I have available to me, like using old linens and mix matched buttons.

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