Pattern hacking is not a 1,2, 3 step process for me. Many times I don’t purchase or use a pattern thinking about the possibilities to hack or alter it. Those ideas usually come to me during the cutting and sewing phases. See, I have to work with a pattern and get to know it before I can change it. Sometimes it happens right away. I make something and just know that it has the ability to be more than it’s showing on the pattern envelope. Sometimes it takes months or even years before I come back to a pattern to hack or change it.
When talking about pattern hacking, my suggestion is for you to think outside the box. To creatively challenge yourself to see other opportunities or changes you can make to a pattern. The pattern hacks that are most admired are the ones that haven’t been thought of by another sewist, but when done you can clearly see why. Changes that aren’t common but need an insight or forethought to make work…
Sewing is no longer about the basics to me. I no longer care about perfecting techniques, or the perfect seam allowance. Not that those things aren’t important. However, what sets my creative heart beating, is the challenge to make some magic happen when pattern meets fabric…and I love a good pattern hack!
One of my suggestions is to open yourself up to the creative process. Read a few books that aren’t technique driven. I’ve listed a few of my faves below that really changed how I viewed things creatively.
Make it Your Own – Personalizing Patterns for Creative Design
Authors: Lori Bottom & Ronda Chaney
Embellishments – Adding Glamour to Garments
Author: Linda Fry Kenzle
Ordinary to Extraordinary – Terrific Treatments for Garment Sewing
Author: Lyla J. Messinger
Author: Sue Thompson
A few more words of encouragement: Look at your situation differently. What can a puddle of water inspire you to make? What inspiration can you find in a leaf’s vein? A skirt or dress that you see someone else wearing? What an actress in a TV show is wearing? The change of seasons? A piece of fabric? Those are the things that inspire me to look at my patterns differently and give them new life.
Finally, don’t be afraid to slice up your pattern. It’s only paper. Don’t be afraid to mess up your fabric, because as much as I hate to admit it, there is more! Also, because you learn from your failures as much as from your wins. Relax and listen to your inner creative voice and be willing to try something new realizing that the more you “mess” with a pattern, the better you get to know it, which gives you the freedom to change it.
I know this post isn’t a “do this and do that and you’ll end up with a great pattern hack” post. It’s just that sometimes I think we should understand the underlying processes. I hope that you will be inspired to develop your creative eye to look at patterns differently.
Here are a few of my favorite hacks: