Block Paper Scissors is a monthly column that teaches three pattern hacks. These hacks help you give your Seamwork patterns a custom spin—all you need is paper, a ruler, and a pencil!
This month we walk you through three different pattern hacks for the Kristin top. Learn how to create a square neckline, eliminate the bust darts to create a trapeze top, and create a yoke with a gathered body. All of these hacks are sewn at the side seams and exclude the wrap pieces.
Note: For best results, be sure to make any necessary fit adjustments before hacking your pattern.
- Clear ruler
- French curve
01 | On the front pattern piece, use your ruler to draw a line perpendicular to the center front bodice at the neckline. This line should be approximately 1-2” long.
02 | Using a ruler, draw a second line connecting the line drawn in the previous step to the shoulder.
03 | Cut along the lines to create a square neckline.
04 | Repeat steps 1-3 for the back neckline.
05 | To create a neckline facing, trace the neckline and shoulder of the front bodice. Draw a line parallel to and 1.5” down from the neckline.
06 | Repeat step 5 for the back neckline.
07 | Cut the facing pieces out and label them, “Front Facing - Cut 1 on fold” and “Back Facing - Cut 1 on fold.”
08 | After sewing the bust darts according to the pattern instructions, with right sides together, sew the shoulder seam of the top and facings. Press seam allowances open and finish separately. Finish the outer edge of the neckline facing.
09 | With right sides together, sew the top neckline to the facing. Clip, grade, and understitch the seam allowance. Press.
10 | With right sides together, sew the side seams of the top. Press seam allowances open and finish separately.
11 | To finish the garment, use a bias tape binding to finish the armhole and a double-fold hem to finish the hem.
01 | To create a trapeze top, we will use a slash and spread method to eliminate the dart and add a wider sweep to the hemline.
02 | Draw a line from the hem to the dart tip. Cut along this line.
03 | Cut along the lower bust dart leg, from the side seam toward the dart tip. Be careful to cut to, but not through, the dart tip.
04 | Close the dart and spread the pattern at the hem. To do this, bring the cut edge of the lower dart leg up to the top bust dart leg. Tape in place.
05 | Using a curved ruler, draw a new hemline.
06 | Trace off the new front piece and label “Cut 1 on fold.”
07 | With right sides together, sew the shoulder seams and side seams of the top. Press seam allowances open and finish separately.
08 | To finish the garment, use a bias binding to finish the neckline, armhole and hem.
Yoke and Gathered Body
01 | Follow all steps in the “Trapeze Top” hack section.
02 | Measure down along the side seam about 2”. Draw a slightly curved line from the side seam to the center front. Straighten the line as you approach the center front so it’s perpendicular to the center front line.
03 | Add a 5/8” seam allowance line below the line from step 2.
04 | Cut along the seam allowance line.
05 | To create the gathered body, draw a line on the bottom portion of the front, from the center of the hem to the center of the top cut line.
06 | Cut along this line.
07 | Spread the pattern pieces to be approximately 3” apart. Using a curved ruler, blend the top and bottom lines between the pieces.
08 | Draw a new pattern piece for the bottom portion of the front, adding 5/8” seam allowance to the upper edge. Label it, “Cut 1 on fold.”
09 | Repeat steps 2-8 for the back pattern piece, making sure the yoke seams match at the side seams.
10 | To sew, use basting stitches to gather the lower bodice pieces. Attach the lower bodice to the corresponding yoke pieces. Press seam allowances up and finish together.
11 | With right sides together, sew the shoulder seams and side seams of the top. Press seam allowances open and finish separately.
12 | To finish the garment, use a bias binding to finish the neckline and armhole and a double-fold hem to finish the hem.