Loretta learned to sew on her grandma's treadle sewing machine. She began sewing her own clothes in 7th grade and still enjoys fabric work.
Learn to Copy a Favorite Top or Dress
You can duplicate a garment without taking it apart. You will need your garment, your new fabric, pins, scissors, and wax paper. The most important element is to choose a new fabric that is similar to the original.
If your original garment is a woven, choose a fabric of a similar weight. If your original garment is a knit, choose a similar weight with similar stretch. If it is not similar in stretch, your duplicate garment could end up too tight or too baggy.
Step 1: Make the Sleeve Pattern
Decide how you want to mark and cut your pattern. You can either mark and cut the pattern to the finished size, or mark and cut it with your expected seam allowance. I marked it to the finished size. This will give me options to cut my fabric with either a 5/8 inch seam allowance for a sewing machine or a 1/4 inch seam allowance for a serger.
- Lay the garment on a flat surface.
- Cover the sleeve area with wax paper.
- Mark along the sleeve outline with anything pointy, keeping in mind your decision for the seam allowance or finished size.
- Cut your pattern from the wax paper.
I used my little metal ruler to mark the wax paper. A regular pencil works, and so will your fingernail.
Please see both thumbnails.
Step 2: Make the Front and Back Patterns
- Fold your garment down the front center.
- Lay on a flat surface with the wax paper on top.
- Trace around the garment keeping in mind your seam allowance.
- Cut this pattern.
Repeat with the back.
Step 3: Cut Your Fabric
Using your three pattern pieces, cut your fabric. Be aware of the pattern pieces that should be cut along the fold of your fabric. Cut two sleeves.
Step 4: Sew Sleeves to the Front
- Lay out the front, right side up.
- Lay a sleeve against the front sleeve seam, right side down, seams meeting.
- Lay the other sleeve right side down, sleeve seams meeting.
- Sew the two sleeves to the bodice front.
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Step 5: Sew Sleeves to Back
- Lay the back on a flat surface, right side up.
- Lay the remaining sleeve edges agains the back sleeve seams, right sides together.
- It may help to pin the excess fabric of the front together to keep it stable.
- Sew the sleeve seams to the back piece.
Step 6: Sew Side Seams
Place your front and back right sides together, including the sleeves. Sew or serge the side seams and the under-sleeve seams.
Step 7: Finish As You Like
You now have the basics of an existing garment. You can finish the neck with decorative stitching, a fabric facing, or a rib knit. You can hem the bottom and sleeves or place a cuff on the sleeves and a band around the bottom. Keep it close to the original look or make changes that may enhance the look—it's up to you.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 The Sampsons
The Sampsons (author) from The Ozarks, Missouri on January 16, 2021:
I just now saw your comment. Thank you. I hope you have success if you try it.
bhattuc on August 15, 2020:
Very useful article.
The Sampsons (author) from The Ozarks, Missouri on April 21, 2020:
Thank you, Michelle.
Michelle on March 30, 2020: