One of the first things I learned when I learned to sew was how to make a pattern from a garment I already owned and reproduce that garment.
It’s still one of my very favourite skills, and something I use all the time.
There are so many reasons why being able to pattern-up and reproduce a garment you already own is awesome.
First, you know it will fit perfectly. You may spend a little extra time making a pattern rather than using a commercial pattern, but you’ll gain that time back in not having to worry about fit.
Next, you know the item will suit you. For all that I know my body, what I wear, and what looks good on me, I’m still occasionally seduced by a pretty pattern cover, and invest time and money in making something that isn’t going to get a lot of wear. When I reproduce a garment, that never happens.
Not only will a reproduced item suit you, but you know it’s going to work in your wardrobe. I sometimes make items that I love, and which fit beautifully, but which I just don’t find myself wearing a lot. That has never happened with an item I’ve reproduced, because I already know I wear the original all.the.time!
Finally I love reproducing garments because I am a romantic and a conservator. I adore my grandma’s blue dress, and wish I could wear it every day, but I know that every time I wear it I am damaging it. I turned the dress into a pattern, made it up in black wool crepe, and can wear the new version every day with the same warm, happy connection to my grandmother, and with the knowledge that it looks great and the original is being preserved for another generation to study and enjoy.
Even if you aren’t quite so romantic, everyone has a favourite dress or pair of jeans that they wear until they fall almost to shreds, and when you learn to take a pattern from them you can keep wearing that garment forever (maybe even in a better fabric!).
Here are a few of my favourite reproductions:
Re-made in golden yellow silk velvet as the ‘Capelet of Yay’:
Grandma’s very fragile blue dress:
And re-created in black wool crepe:
And finally, and most recently, I turned re-created this purple jacket in white:
So, do you know how to take a pattern from a garment you already own and re-create it? What’s your favourite thing you’ve made with this technique?
If you don’t know how to take a pattern from a garment you own and recreate it, and you are in Wellington, my ‘Replicate a Garment’ class is on at Made on Marion Fridays 20 & 27th July. See you there I hope!