The thoughts, sewing projects, and fabric oglings of a dedicated sewist.

Multiplication by Duplication

One of my favorite requests from clients is to replicate an existing garment.  I enjoy doing this because I know the new garment will be a favorite because the client has already road-tested the style and fit, AND because there usually aren't any tricky fitting issues that come up in the process.  I use the method described in Steffani Lincecum's book Patternmaking for a Perfect Fit (I was pleased to note that Sunni of A Fashionable Stitch also recommends this book).  I'm also in the process of taking Kenneth King's Jean-ius Craftsy Course, so I'll have another method in my arsenal soon.

And can I just say how excited I am to copy my favorite jeans????!!  I bought my favs for $10 from Burlington Coat Factory.  The quality of the denim isn't great, so they only made it about a year, but I LOVE them.  Can't wait to have another pair in good quality denim (or 3 . . . and maybe one in stretch wool instead of denim . . .).

You can check out some of the other garments I've replicated here and here.  My latest request was to copy two favorite knit tops.  The first was a simple peplum top from Old Navy:

The only real change my client Susan wanted to make was to have the sleeves swapped to elbow-length.  

The biggest challenge in copying an existing garment is accuracy, which is fun for me because I get to unleash that meticulous, picky side of my personality (instead of inflicting it on my family, friends, or home).

Pinning side seam and waist seams

Pinning through onto paper (I iron the filler paper from shipped packages),
and I find it helps to wiggle the pin a bit to make the hole in the paper a bit bigger.

Connecting dots and adding seam allowance

Susan chose a jersey fabric that we found on for the peplum top, from Michael Miller's Heaven and Helsinki stretch jersey line.

I have the top paired with a jersey skirt I made for another client.

The second top was a black swing top with asymmetrical side seam inserts.  The original top suffered a bleach accident.  Susan wanted the sides changed so that they became symmetrical.  She chose a black bamboo/rayon jersey from Vogue Fabrics and a funky print jersey from Mood.  I didn't get a picture of the original, but here are the copies:

I have to say that this process still feels like making magic to me.  I'm always anxious that it won't work or won't fit well and (so far) it always does.  One of these days I'm going to get around to replicating my own fabric top, a poplin blouse I bought from Anthropologie about 10 years ago . . .
6 comments on "Multiplication by Duplication"
  1. That's awesome. I have a wrap top I'd love to copy one of these days. It is like magic!

    1. I'm sure that would be an easy one to do! But you have to say, "Ta da!", when you try it on!

  2. Pretty looks so hard to do!

    1. It's not hard on simple designs - just takes patience. The hard ones to do are those that have gathers or doing sleeves - things you can't lay flat on the fold. Steffani's instructions are great and the book is quite inexpensive. And it saves the work of having to do fitting changes!

  3. Now I'm upset. I want that forest print from Mood and it is sold out! Bummer! Like I need more fabric ;)

    1. Sorry, Rhonda! I was surprised they had any left when I checked the other day!