Adapting a Pattern
I am going to show you how I altered and adapted a pattern to create the American Girl Snow Suit Pattern. I have not been formally trained or even attended any classes on pattern drafting so my methods may not be your methods, but thats ok. There is not right or wrong way to create.
What I used
~ Free coat pattern from agplaythings download called Addy's Pretty Clothes
~ Regular printer paper
~ Measuring tape
~ It helps to have the 18" doll with you, but measurements will do.
The first thing I do is sketch out what I want the garment to look like. This is just a quick sketch to get all the stuff floating around in my head out so I can start focusing on technical stuff like how to get things to fit together. This also lets me see what I should start with. The pants where simple, I just needed a baggy pair of pants. Pajama pants are perfect for that type of fit.
I am not very good at arm holes and sleeve curves, so I went looking for something with a relaxed fit that I could alter the main body of the coat. I do love a free pattern! Pinterest is awesome to find something I can work with.
I start with a pattern that has similar qualities that I need. This is the free coat pattern I started with, it is from Agplaythings from Addy's Pretty Clothes download. I mainly wanted the arm holes, neck line, and sleeve curve. It also gives me a jumping off point for fit and length. This pattern is more like a dress coat with a bell shape and wide sleeves.
This coat back has two pieces that make up the back. Since I wanted the full arm hole curve I lined up the stitch marks so I could trace it.
Like so! I used a normal piece of printer paper and traced the arm hole, shoulder and neck line. With the elements taken from the pattern that I wanted to use. With those traced now I can subtract the volume from the pattern.
I simply made straight lines from the neck line to the bottom hem and from the armpit to the hem. This gets rid of the bell shape of the original dress coat pattern.
The shoulder seam on the original pattern dropped to the back. I wanted a more traditional even shoulder seam. You can see the lighter line was the traced pattern and the end outer line is the one I added. Its important to note that I didn't want to change the fit of the sleeve so I cut the amount off the front that I added to the back
I didn't want a seam down the back because I wanted this to look as close to a purchased snowsuit as possible. So I added the fold line in the center back
Again on a piece of paper, I traced the arm hole, shoulder seam (minus the amount I added to the back piece) and neck line. I made the straight line from the neck line to the bottom hem and from the arm pit to the bottom hem as well (adding a bit of an angle to make it slightly wider at the bottom).
I kept the little bit of button band to install the zipper a little later
I wanted to keep the same upper curve but taper the sleeve to the wrist. I took a measurement from the doll and made a guess.
This is my first pattern draft! Now to make a test coat.
I like using fleece because it doesn't fray, I am able to sew close to the edge, and its fairly forgiving. You should always know which way your main amount of stretch is though. It should typically go horizontally across clothing. Of course there are always exceptions to every rule.
This is the reason I do test pieces. I like to make little changes so things match up. This sleeve was a little to long on the one side. I make the adjustments to the paper pattern as I test.
Again matching the seam length. I added 1/2 inch to the front.
The back was way to wide but everything else fit. I am pinching the amount of extra fabric that I will take off the center back of the pattern.
When I am trying to make a pattern that needs to curve and move and paper wouldn't work (or be a pain in the ass), I use broad cloth. Its super cheap and thin which is helpful if you need to pull out stitches. A little slide note: when sewing this up I would use a large stitch. Its easier to pull out when I need to take it apart.
To create the shape I mimicked the shape of the upcycle jacket hood. It had 2 side panels and a center strip.
I wish I had taken a picture of the first test. Instead you get this spectacular sketch! The first test the front was to square and to long for the neck line. I took some measurements and took off 2 inches on each side. This worked better. Voila! a hood.
I hope you enjoyed this slightly erratic explanation.
If you want to share your project you can upload to the facebook page or instagram #fabracadabrafabric.