The Great Pattern Hack


It’s my turn to chatter on about the lovely collaboration with Melissa of A Happy Stitch and Michael Miller Fabrics (via Kait of Making it Fun): The Great Pattern Hack! My pattern hacking skills are still pretty basic, so I didn’t get all fancy or wild on you, but I had lots and lots of fun modifying the Southport Dress into two garments.

First up, the strappy-backed tank:


I selected the Indigo Midnight Cotton Couture, which has a drapey hand and feels like an ever so slightly weightier lawn with subtle sheen. It’s beautiful, and of course, I have a weakness for anything indigo. To remain true to my leanings, I opted to go as simple as possible by converting the bodice to a long tank, and attempted to add wow factor with thin straps that ended up forming the letter M (for Melissa and Michael Miller — not really, that part was totally accidental, but now I’m liking the connection).

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I added 11 inches to the bodice, and eyeballed a curvy shape for the shoulders. I’m always very picky about making clothes that are bra-friendly, so I made sure that the back would sit high enough to cover any unsightly undergarments (I wore a strapless).


I cut four 1″ x 20″ pieces that I then folded and sewed into thin 1/4″ straps. First, I attached two straps each on the front side and proceeded to do a lot of body contortions to figure out how much to shorten and where to place the straps on the back. Alas, they’re slightly off, but I doubt anyone will notice.


I could have sewn this up in a jiffy, but I wanted to give it a nominally more “refined” look to it, so I hand-stitched the bias tape along the top edge of the front piece. The back is simply double-folded with elastic threaded through. Easy-peasy.


Conclusion: I love it!!


I suppose I could have stopped there, but I had also requested the fun Indigo Bias Weave, and I just couldn’t get rompers out of my mind. Rompers! I am quite possibly too old to be sashaying about town in a playsuit, but I wore it all day yesterday and not an eyebrow was lifted (or at least none that I noticed).


M, however, did say that I look like a “70s housewife” in a way that implied that 70s housewives aren’t too hot. We’ll ignore him because we all know that 70s housewives were totally smokin’ (in the literal and metaphorical sense).


The only real change I made was to switch out the skirt portion with a pair of slapdash shorts. I’m going to call this “intuitive” sewing since not a lot of measuring actually happened to create the shorts. I marked the width of the skirt waist directly onto the fabric, then grabbed a pair of decent-fitting shorts, and outlined them rather loosely.


I had more than enough of the fabric and was pretty confident that the sizing would be okay, but once I basted them together, I could tell that the rise of the shorts was woefully inadequate despite adding a few inches. Back to the drawing board, and I added an additional 5″(!) to the rise to accommodate my super long torso.


Not sure what’s happening here…I think the outfit inspired me to unconsciously strike a heads-shoulders-knees-n-toes pose. At any rate, the True Bias pattern instructions are great, and the top segment came together effortlessly. I had to tug and pull a bit, but the shorts worked, and overall, the fit is spot-on!

I adore it. I thought I would feel silly in rompers, but it’s really comfortable and the fabric is just the right weight and drape for this pattern. The drawstring detail is a necessary element to avoid the dreaded beer barrel look, and because the cinching happens a little higher than my natural waist, it gives the illusion of longer legs — an illusion that has rarely happened in my lifetime.


What do you think? 70s homemaker or sweet summer garb appropos for 2015? I think rompers are all the rage right now, right? At least that seems to be the case with the blog hop (I hadn’t looked at any of the other Great Pattern Hack posts until I finished sewing and was pleasantly surprised to see other rompers). In fact, you should go see all the pattern hacks pronto:

Monday 6/29- Kick-off with Jessica Abbott: Me Sew Crazy

Tuesday 6/30- Kait Witte: Making it Fun

Wednesday 7/1- Delia Randall: Delia Creates

Thursday 7/2- Jane Kohlenstein: Buzz Mills

Friday 7/3- Melissa Quaal: A Happy Stitch

Monday 7/6- Rachael Gander: Imagine Gnats

Tuesday 7/7- Tamara Serrao: Kaya Joy

Thursday 7/9- Laura Titchener: Craftstorming

Friday 7/10- Kristin Timm: Skirt as Top

Saturday 7/11- Jessica & Ericka: Violette Field Threads

Monday 7/13- Celina Bailey: Petit a Petit and Family

Wednesday 7/15– Erin Sundet: Sewbon

Thursday 7/16– wrap up! More giveaways!

Finally, I should point out that I did receive the fabrics and pattern for free as well as some compensation for creating the garments and writing about them — this is the first time I’ll be receiving actual payment for a blog post so I guess this counts as a sponsored post (I’m embarrassed to say that it hadn’t even occurred to me to call this a sponsored post – I was delighted to team up with Melissa and would have done it for gratis)! Needless to say, but I think I’m supposed to say it: all opinions are my own.

At any rate, I’m pleased with both hacks and really enjoyed sewing for myself again. It sounds like some amazing giveaways are happening and much fanfare abounds. Don’t miss out, and thank you so much for including me, Melissa and Kait!




36 thoughts on “The Great Pattern Hack

  1. Both are lovely!! Glad to see you are finding time to sew for yourself! And by the way, nobody’s to old sashaying about town in a playsuit!!

    Except when they have a center back zipper which breaks (aaah RTW…) in the middle of Canada exposing everything you have back there and forcing you to run to a mall to buy jeans + tshirt… Hmm.. Ask how I know…

    1. Ah, the old broken zipper incident — I know it well! 😉 The ripping of the jeans inseam is also a classic, no?

      Thanks for the encouragement, Delphine. 🙂 I quickly got over my self-consciousness because I really do love the rompers (romper?)!

  2. Both of these outfits are totally wonderful and very flattering. I am really impressed with your “let’s just change this pattern!” You make it seem so easy.

    1. It was very much fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants, Greta! I guesstimated and it turned out pretty decently, but I would change a few things (less elastic on the back and a slightly less concave curve on the front for the top; the pockets to be positioned just a little higher for the rompers). Thank you!

  3. Oh, I love the romper! Totally inspired and just goes to show what potential a pattern has! Brilliant!

    1. The Southport Dress is a great pattern on its own, Marilla! In fact, I want to make the dress version and am eyeing a few different linens…Thanks!

  4. Both are so lovely! Thanks so much for participating Sanae. You are rocking that romper and seriously tempting me to try it out. I’m convinced I can’t pull it off but they are looking so good on everyone! Also…the M! Oh my goodness, I nearly fell over!

    1. Thank you SO MUCH for including me, Melissa! I really had a blast and love the fabrics. I say go for the romper — you can totally pull it off! The “M” was a happy coincidence! 🙂

  5. A 70s one piece would have to be brown or beige or both in a crazy semi floral or upholstery inspired print, sleeveless and more fitted on top and have full leg flared (bell bottomed) pants. My mom had one such garment that I think she made herself and I think it looked very, very not frumpy. Though I cannot imagine that look or style in any other context and my mum worked in the IT industry, so maybe that is not how the 70s housewife looked. Still, the fact that you seem to have no polyester in your romper makes it not 70s wear in the least. I don’t think I even heard of cotton until about 1985, or so…

    I like what you have done to the patterns very much! Rompers are very much in style. Although I like the dress pattern as is, but that was not part of your assignment.

    1. Wow, your mom worked in IT in the 70s? She sounds like such a progressive, cool mother, Max! Not sure where the husband got the 1970s reference from, but I guess he was trying to say it looks retro and maybe not so hip ;-). I’ve long stopped listening to his opinions about clothes though since I know what I like!

  6. Those are both beautiful and sophisticated. And by the way look great on you. Rompers are everywhere and on everyone (young to not so young). They are comfortable and work with every figure type. The only problem I find is when one of the granddaughters are in a hurry to go potty and we can’t get them down fast enough.

    1. I had a feeling that rompers are going through a moment right now. I’ve always admired them on little girls, and the thought of “why can’t adults wear them too?” had often crossed my mind. Ah yes, the bathroom factor…I did wish that I had lengthened the placket and added an extra button to make that process a little easier. 😉 Thank you, Karen!

  7. Great job, Sanae, on both of these! That romper is so cute on you! I love that fabric you used – I’ll have to go back and see if I can find what it is. Enjoy romping through this hot summer! 😉

    1. Let me know if the link to the romper fabric doesn’t work, Melissa! I tried to connect it to the actual product, but I’ve been known to flub those sorts of things. The romper definitely kept me cool in the heat! I want to make a version in linen — wouldn’t that be lovely?

    1. Thanks so much, Kait, and you were so on the ball with the fabric and pattern. Awesome! I think we should have a big romper party, don’t you?

  8. Fellow indigo fan RIGHT HERE. Also, I think it’s really cool that you got paid (in cash!) for sewing and blogging, because it’s real work! I wish that was more the norm (along with a disclosure) for promotional tours.

    1. Indigo rules! And yes, it was a nice perk to get the payment offer, though to be honest, I had so much fun it doesn’t feel like work. I hope I made the disclosure properly! I always feel weird to type “all opinions are mine” because I would never ever post anything I didn’t truly believe in and it seems more dubious to have to actually announce that, you know? Thanks, Morgan!

    1. Oh, thanks Jenny! It’s always been one of my favorite colors and lately I’ve noticed that I sew more blues than greys. Light greys tend to wash people out, I think, even though I love love love the color.

    1. Thanks so much, Traveller. The fabric is fabulous – it’s great apparel cotton with a nice drape and also irons up crisply.

    1. I bet you’d look great in blue too, Grace! I’ve also been going through a pink phase lately and have been hankering to sew more pink clothes for some reason. Maybe the summer season makes me want to explore more colors :-). Thank you!

  9. W-O-W

    I love both hacks but the romper is just glorious! I get the “70s housewife” vibe and I think it may be due to the fabric print, but I think it is perfect. And it fits you great!

    I have been trying to decide whether to buy the Southport dress, and your hack may have just convinced me!

    And also, so good to see you sewing for yourself again 🙂

    1. I want to make the Southport dress as a maxi for sure! I cut the size 8 and the fit is perfect for me, which doesn’t happen very often. I recommend the pattern, Laura!

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