Make a Pattern Out of Anything

Ever find something in a thrift store that was cut perfectly, it hung well, fit well, but was made out of some nasty orange polyester? I know I have, and it can be really frustrating. The best thing to do in this situation is to remake the item out of some fabric that you like. It's not hard to do, and this is a great way to learn about garment construction.

Once you have your project picked out, the first thing you have to do is pick out your fabric. You want something that will have a similar stretch and weight to the original garment to make things simple. You might be able to get around this, however, if you just have your heart set on making a velvet version depending on how the garment hangs on you. Try it on and pay special attention to whether the fabric has to stretch at all when you move in it, if not you may have more possibilities for reconstruction.

Now, either sketch (a rough sketch will be fine, this is just for your benefit) or take a snapshot of the original piece from all sides. This is just to help you remember what it supposed to look like when finished so don't worry about a lack of artistic ability, as long as YOU can tell what it looks like.

After you know what you will be ultimately putting together, take the original apart. Use a seam ripper or Carefully cut the threads of the seams with a razor blade. Label each piece you cut off (neck facing, right sleeve front, left lapel, etc.) so you know what it is later. This is your "pattern". Be sure to also remove any

In order to figure out how much fabric you will need to lay all the pieces out flat on the floor. Most fabric is 45 inches wide so arrange them in a column no more than 45 wide. Measure how long the column is, that is how much fabric you will need. If you know the fabric you want is wider or narrower, adjust accordingly. Remember to lay all the pieces with the right sides up, and that if you are using a fabric with a Now, buy your fabric. Lay the 'pattern' out on it and pin the pieces to the fabric cut carefully and sew back together. Hopefully your new wardrobe addition will fit as well as the original. I have used these trick many times myself. Actually, it's one of the ways I learned to sew!