I’ve always had a small fascination with hybrid clothes. Culottes are a particular obsession. I know, I know – they’re very fashion right now, but sometimes I just want to scream at them: are you a skirt? Are you a pant? DECLARE yourselves!
Other favourites are jeggings, which seem to have had their hilarious time in the sun; and skorts – they’re huge right now at our local primary school. I secretly dream of one day patenting my very own hybrid garment, the Ugg Suit (trademark). If the name doesn’t give it away, it’s a sheepskin jumpsuit/ugg boot all-in-one. I plan to climb into this garment in mid-Autumn, and stay in it until early Spring.
Until the prototype is perfected, this woollen top is a dabble in hybrid invention for the colder months. My idea started as a jacket, which morphed with a t-shirt. I had to alter a pattern as I hadn’t found one that matched my vision, so my first choice for a pattern hack was the Merchant and Mills Top no. 64. I’ve made the 64 many times and I’m a fan. M&M patterns are well explained, easy to follow and the packaging is so very pleasing.
The hack jacket (hacket?) in my mind had elbow length sleeves that were bell shaped. I also wanted the back to sway out with a slightly lower hem at the back. The 64 already has lovely raglan sleeves that I kept, but I deleted the pocket detail because my fabric is a coat wool with considerable bulk. It’s a vintage wool I bought a while ago from Crossley Job Lot. Crossley itself is a story worth telling, but for now it’s is about the damage done to a poor Top No. 64!
To make my sleeve and back flare I had to do some learning. A friend with qualified sewing credentials recommended Winifred Aldrich’s book, Metric Pattern Cutting for Women’s Wear. I bought a copy on eBay that has signs of use and love, and I think it’s really helpful. The diagrams are simple and I find it easy enough to understand the pattern speak to help nut out how to alter a pattern. As you can see from Winifred’s diagram (pictured) I cut the sleeve pattern piece as suggested, fanned out the pieces and redrafted a new sleeve. The back was created in a similar way. Fortunately it worked. I’ve done hacks in the past working on logic alone and failed miserably. What I love most about Winifred is that she’s concise and logical with her explanations.
On the downside I think my neckline needs a little work as it sits up a bit, but I’m not sure if the fabric weight causes that? I think I need to alter my pattern – one day when I’m skilled enough to solve that one. Still, I’m wearing this top quite a bit as it’s comfortable, warm and a nice change from my regular winter coat. It will do until the Ugg Suit’s ready.