Pattern Manipulation and Thinking Outside of the Box

You know what I love, love, love about patterns?  They are marvelously versatile.  You just have to look at them with a keen eye.

Take, for example, this Simplicity pattern:

Would you believe it could be used to create the child-sized alb picture above?*  I kid not.  That's versatility, my friends.  I was able to take a girl's pattern for a coat and turn it into a boy's priest costume in a snap!  All it took was a wee bit of pattern manipulation.

I am not a master pattern manipulator.  In fact, I think I forgot everything I learned about it in fashion design school.  However, I am usually successful at simple pattern changes and that was all it took to repurpose this pattern.  The key was to look at the structure instead of the style.

I used Coat pattern A pictured above.  It had (almost) everything I needed - front closure, raglan sleeves, high neck, boxy-structure, back pleat, and proper sizing for a child (plus a bit of extra room because it was originally sized as a coat).  Most of the manipulation that took place was achieved by subtraction.  I ditched the fru-fru's (trims, pockets, buttons, and elastic), inserted a zipper, lengthened the coat, added a couple of loops for a belt, and attached a simple mandarin collar.  It was, I confess, a much simpler process than it sounds.

I do so encourage you to attempt it, should you need a priest costume for a little boy in your life.  (Tip:  Use a 14" zipper and something that doesn't wrinkle as much as the 100% cotton sheet I used.)


  1. You are just downright awesome :) I'm so happy I have brilliant friends... you all can make ME smart now too!

    1. Well gosh, Ames, you're making me blush. Now, if only you could make some of your social ease rub off on me!


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