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Sewing Tips - Can I Mix And Match Sewing Pattern Pieces

By Marian Lewis When you sew, many times you want to change the design and have a different collar or sleeve on your garment. Most often, you will look for another sewing pattern that has all the features you are looking for and start the fitting, trial and error process all over again. You don't have to do that. You can mix and match sewing pattern pieces to create your own designs. When you know how to sew, you can have whatever you want on any garment. You are the designer. You can create "original designs" just like other designers do. You just have to know a few rules and use a little common sense with your sewing projects. For instance, you can't use a set-in sleeve in a dropped shoulder design.
Fit the bodice once! Fit the body of your bodice or blouse once and use it over and over again. After you have your basic bodice or blouse fit your figure the way you want it, try changing the styles of the sleeves, collars, etc. to give you more variety instead of getting another pattern and altering it to fit you again. This will save you a lot of time and frustration. Make several copies of this "master" fitted bodice and change the design features on each one to have a whole wardrobe of tops that fit you perfectly. Make sure you label them so you know what each one is when you go to use it. There are only so many collar and sleeve designs. You can interchange them on your garment sewing pattern. Go through your sewing pattern box and select the ones you like that are most flattering for your figure. The rule is that if you choose a sleeve or a collar from another pattern, you should also copy the armhole or the neckline curves from the bodice of that pattern onto your personal basic bodice master pattern that already fits you. Then, you can sew the new collar or sleeve onto your personal basic bodice/blouse without any problems because they are going into the same curves as they were originally intended.
You have changed the design, but not affected the fit because you used the body of the master sewing pattern that you know already fits you. Remember to copy the facing that matches the collar you use so that it fits the garment also. Place the new sleeve or collar together with one of your "master" bodices with the appropriate matching armhole or neckline curves. Mark it so you know what it is and you are all set to sew it anytime you want.
Change necklines and other details from another sewing pattern To change to a totally different neckline like changing a jewel neckline to a V-neckline, lay the pattern with the desired detail or neckline on the top of the pattern that you know fits you. Match up the shoulder lines , center front and center back. Now draw your new neckline. The collar and facings of the new neckline with fit because it is the same neckline they were originally designed for. Handle sleeve changes similarly.
Add a seam anywhere You can add a seam anywhere you like on a pattern. For instance, if you want a yoke, draw a line on one of your "master" bodices where you would like the yoke to be. Cut the pattern apart on that line. Add a 5/8" seam allowance to both cut edges. When you sew this back together, you have a yoke and you haven't changed the fit of the garment. Create your own original designs. Have fun being a designer. It just makes sense!
©2009 Marian Lewis - All Rights Reserved 1st Step To Sewing Success Marian Lewis is a sewing instructor and the creator of an amazing new fitting method for hard-to-fit sewing folks. In her ebook, "Common Sense Fitting Method For Hard-To-Fit Sewing Folks Who Want ..., find out step-by-step WHAT you really need and HOW to apply that to a commercial sewing pattern. It just makes sense! Finally, you can sew great fitting pants and end your fitting frustration. Marian is also the author of other eBooks related to sewing including, "Sew A Tee Pee And Accessories For Your Tribe Of Kids" and "Classy Designer Straight Skirt" where she teaches basic and advanced sewing techniques. Discover If you enjoy sewing, visit this site. It just makes sense!

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Comment by Cynthia Stockdon on June 14, 2011 at 2:06pm
Great tips!
Comment by Judith Komenda on June 7, 2011 at 2:57pm
This is great information.  I love it!  Marion makes so much sense in her design comments.  I am going to do as she suggest.
Comment by Sara on June 7, 2011 at 12:08pm
Great advice!  Thanks.
Comment by Gloria Allender on June 7, 2011 at 8:45am
Great information.
Comment by Natasar on June 14, 2009 at 12:39pm
Comment by Jill Dewar on June 12, 2009 at 7:59pm
thank you for the great information - I appreciate the time you must put into this site - it is well worth it to us readers!
Comment by Mrs.Carol Mattice on June 12, 2009 at 1:15pm
So good to be a part of this world of sewing and ever learning in this hobbie and trade..
Comment by Alanapr on June 12, 2009 at 12:09pm
Thank you so much for this. I always wanted to do it, but I didn't know how to make sure everything fit together. I can't wait to follow this wonderful advice.
Comment by Connie on June 12, 2009 at 11:35am
This is so informative and encouraging. It is info that we all would get around to figuring out you just make it easy, and confirm our thinking, giving us more confidence and making us realize how exciting it is to be the designer!!Thanks Sweetpoppy, Lake Wales, FL

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