Getting pattern-hack happy

I absolutely love using independent designers’ PDF sewing patterns, but sometimes I like to mess around with them a little. Whether it’s making a slight change to one pattern or combining two patterns for an alternative look, pattern hacking can be lots of fun.

But to get a really good finished fit and look, you do need to use your sewing brain and a little bit of sewing maths with some hacking. I’m going to be using a pattern from one of my absolute favourite independent designers Made By Jack’s Mum; the Hot Chocolate. It’s a great, slightly loose fitting jumper with a few neck-line options, but sometimes on a cooler Spring/Summer day its nice to have an extra layer without all the warmth of a full jumper….so I’m hacking the hooded jumper to be sleeveless.

What you needTo re-create this hack you’ll need a few important things:
1. MBJM Hot Chocolate PDF pattern 
2. a selection of jersey fabric
3. usual cutting and sewing tools
4. overlocker or sewing machine

The only pattern piece that needs altering for this hack is the main body piece and, of course, you don’t need to print the sleeves!

Firstly you need to reduce the armscye/arm hole otherwise the edge of the top will hang over the shoulder too much. You can use the measurements in this Armscye reduction chart to see by how much you should reduce each size. I do this using a tape measure or ruler and measuring the correct distance from the original arm hole and marking it following the curved shape. Then trim the excess amount off the pattern piece. I’d recommend keeping this little piece then you don’t need to re-print when you make a regular jumper. Now just follow the pattern as normal to cut out both body pieces (don’t forget to cut the two different necklines from the front and back piece), the hood piece/s and the waistband, and then sew them together as usual.

When you have done everything except finish off the arm holes use this Cuff Measurements chart for the measurements to cut the cuffs to edge the arm holes. Sew the cuffs and add them to the body using the same method as the sleeve cuffs in the original pattern. I have included a few photos as a guide too.

How to add the cuffsAnd the hack is complete…happy sewing!

Note: Although I am confident in the maths behind my alteration measurements, please bare in mind that the measurement charts for reducing the armscye and the new finishing cuffs have not gone through the usual rigorous testing that the original pattern pieces have. If you find you are having to stretch the cuffs a lot of make them fit or not stretch them at all then increase/reduce the size accordingly.

UK/EU pattern link:
Rest of the World pattern link:

MBJM Flamingoes:

“Be a flamingo” Iron-on Vinyl:





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