Indie sweater (and tee) patterns are everywhere. But actually, how many patterns do you own? You can do a lot with just ONE pattern, if you hack away at it. Don’t have a TNT (Tried’N’True) sweater yet? Or do you have an idea of what you’d like, but not sure what or how to choose? Read on and you’ll see my list of ideas. For today I want to tell you how I hacked the Just Patterns Tyra tee … it’s become 2 sweaters + 2 tops, so the pattern has become a workhorse for me.
Do you like to hack? Does anything hold you back?
Often I don’t hack patterns first time round, mostly because I want to see what the pattern maker had in mind. And there are so many patterns out there, there are very few things that my imagination sees for which there isn’t a pattern. But simple changes to a pattern can be straightforward. Extending a sleeve, a small change to a neckline, put a zip instead of buttons and so on.
Just Patterns Tyra tee hack inspiration
My inspiration for this make was Lorraine @the.sewcialite, with her delightful black sweater in merino wool. I almost bought the same pattern she used! But, my sewing peeps convinced me that I didn’t need to … because I could just modify an existing pattern and not worry about having to fit another one. Here’s Lorraine’s picture (posted with permission)
Features of the sweater
So first I examined what it is I like about the jumper:
- Boat neck
- Drop shoulder
- Elastic cuffed long sleeves
- Loose without being extremely oversized.
Indie sweater pattern ideas
If this list is what you were looking for in this blog post, here it is. These are some ideas of basic patterns that you can play with – I’m sure there are many more patterns out there!
They all look like they have a decent amount of ease (i.e. room in the body) and no funky stuff going on (i.e. no neckline flaps, hoods, pieced sleeves etc.). Which makes them a good base to try hacking different styles. I don’t think there’s any need to buy ALL the basic patterns – just start with 1 (maybe choose a brand you already like), tweak it, and you’ll get your TNT.
Oversized, drop shoulder:
- Just Patterns Tyra (the one I’m using- I’ve hacked it into a sweater before, see here)
- Paper Theory LB Pullover
- Sew House 7 Toaster Sweater (also a raglan option)
- Sew DIY Ali sweatshirt
- Megan Nielsen Jarrah Sweater
- I Am Patterns Apollon
- Papercut Patterns Array (which is what Lorraine has)
- Tilly and the Buttons Nora
- Helens Closet Elliot
Set in sleeve
These options have puff built-in at the shoulders, and look more semi-fitted than oversized.
- Fibre Mood Daniella* (it’s a dress but slice it off for a jumper)
- Tilly and the Buttons Billie
- Hey June Sheridan sweater
Raglan sleeve / semi fitted
- Fibre Mood Mika*
- Fibre Mood Erin*
- Grainline Linden
- Sew House 7 Toaster Sweater (also a raglan option)
How to choose one?
In a sweater, I like a really decent amount of ease. With bust size 83cm, I’ve learned that my own preference is a finished bust measurement of around 105-110cm (i.e. ease of at least 23cm).
A useful thing to do is to measure a jumper you already like and compare that to the finished measurement chart on a pattern. Then you can size up or down accordingly.
Pattern hacking details
I’ve hacked a sweater version of Tyra before. And I have two Tyra tees in cotton jersey. All 3 are based on the same pattern which had a finished bust measurement of c120cm. These were beta tests and more oversized than the final version, see them all here. 120cm+ for a tee verges on going for a swim in my clothes, but if it’s a sweatshirt I think I got away with it anyway. For reference this is the first Tyra sweatshirt I made. It’s a lot looser than the all black one.
Pattern details and modifications
OK, now going back to the all black version …
- Size: 34, which has a finished bust measurement of c110cm. My other versions of the Just Patterns Tyra tee were equivalent to the final size 38.
- Sleeve length: On the sleeve pattern piece, I lengthened it so the distance from the shoulder notch of the sleeve to the hem is 45cm. This includes a 2cm seam allowance to accommodate an elastic width of c8mm. The 45cm was a guesstimate – I was actually going for full-length sleeves and I fell a bit short, whoops. I have bracelet length sleeves instead.
- Width of the bottom of the sleeve: I measured the Fibre Mood Carole dress pattern which has an elastic cuff (see the one I made here). The bottom of the sleeve measured at 56cm and the recommended elastic length was 20cm with a 3cm overlap. So I just widened the bottom of the sleeve pattern piece to 56cm.
- Neckline: to make the boat neck kind of shape, I measured 2.5cm on the pattern piece from the top of the shoulder seam. Then raised the CF by 2.5cm. Redrew curve. Done. Repeat for the back.
This is a very interesting loose wool knit on one side, and cotton jersey on the other side. It’s two layers joined together, kind of like a double gauze but with different substrates on the two sides. I bought 1.5m of it 6? years ago when I had the idea to make a turtleneck dress. My style has shifted significantly since then. I was really into novelty prints and fitted clothing. Now I’m back to solid colours, and I intensely dislike wearing anything with a fitted silhouette! Unfortunately, the wool knit side of the fabric is pilling like crazy, and I’m less fond of that. Can you tell? And I only prewashed it!
I love this jumper with the vintage gold necklace stack which I got from my fave London based vintage store Retold Vintage. It makes me feel elegant! In these stay at home times, I find myself wanting to wear all the nice things + jewellery so I don’t feel like a slob. This version of the jumper has an interesting enough texture to look a bit fancy (i.e. not sweatshirt fleece) and black is easy to style.
Just Patterns Tyra tee tops
Then I liked my black sweaters so much I decided I wanted to have tops as well. Both of these are in woven fabrics instead of knits. A mustard seersucker, and a double gauze one with the gold dots (Atelier Brunette fabric, but you knew that already right?!). Both 100% cotton, with an elastic cuff. Here are the results!
I’m really pleased that the 4 hacked versions of the pattern all have quite a different vibe to them, and I’m not sure which is my favourite. The double gauze one gives me a little ironing problem at the cuff but it just requires an extra couple of minutes to sort out when I iron. I must say I’m not * quite * done with this pattern yet.
Are you feeling inspired to hack away at your patterns? If so, I’d love to hear what you have planned or have done!
Till next time
What a great post and important reminder to make more with what we already have. I tend to be carried away by every new and shiny pattern, but I love hacks, too! Maybe I should try a new take on my LB pullover, or the Toaster or Elliott? I have them all:) I love your different tops and sweaters, Kate, and the ones in wovens are so pretty.
I can’t believe I totally missed your comment before Ingunn… thank you! And yes I’d say hack away! You can do so much with basic patterns 🙂 I look forward to seeing what you come up with