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25 Creative Ways to Make the Most of Your Patterns

A giant list of pattern hacks, embellishments, and fabric tutorials to help you sew many versions of a single pattern.

Posted in: Tutorials & Techniques • November 16, 2022

Imagine this. You just finished sewing a pattern, and when you try it on in front of the mirror, your first thought is, “I want to sew this again and again.”

That’s what a tried and true pattern feels like to wear. It’s a pattern that exactly fits your style and body—and you want to sew it over and over again in every color. And you totally can sew it over and over in every color. But at the same time, you don't want to have a Flintstones wardrobe—where you’re always wearing the same thing every day.

This is where the real sewing magic happens.

With your new favorite sewing pattern in hand, the creative possibilities are totally endless. Below is a long list of ideas for pattern hacks, extra notions to add flair, and fun ways to transform your tried and true patterns into the dynamic wardrobe of your dreams. You know how to sew clothes. You can do any of the following—and don’t stop there. So what else can you do with this mighty little pattern?

25 Creative Ways to Make the Most of Your Patterns

There are three main ways to transform a sewing project. You can hack it, add embellishments, or play with the fabric. Each of these has hundreds of options, maybe more—is there ever a limit to your creativity? Below are our favorite ideas and tons of resources from the Seamwork archives to help you make the most of your sewing patterns.

Find a Pattern Hack

By employing a clever pattern hack, a single pattern can turn into dozens of variations. However, you don’t have to go big with your pattern hacks. Sometimes the simplest alterations can really change how a pattern looks.

Add Surface Design and Embellishment

A little bit of embellishment at the seams or hems of your garment can make a statement. For example, you can add a vintage touch with ricrac or lace. Or add color with pom poms or bias tape applied to an edge, instead of a facing. If you have more time, create pintucks, apply applique, or try decorative machine stitching.

Sew it in a Different Fabric

Sometimes you can’t recognize the same pattern if you sew it up in two totally different fabrics. You could go from having a very light and flowy garment to having something much more structured by changing the fabric. You could also use a more unexpected fabric, like leather or organza, something that you typically wouldn't see, and that's going to give it a totally different look. So think about how the fabric could become your garment's focal point. 

This round-up just scratches the surface of all the possible ways you can work with a single pattern. Isn’t that empowering? If you find a hack, embellishment, or fabric trick you love, share your project in the Seamwork Community.

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