How to Duplicate or Copy a Favorite Garment

Updated on March 22, 2020
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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.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
The black one is the original. The light one is the new top.I liked it so much I made another one!  I put cuffs on this one and a facing at the neck.
The black one is the original. The light one is the new top.
The black one is the original. The light one is the new top.
I liked it so much I made another one!  I put cuffs on this one and a facing at the neck.
I liked it so much I made another one! I put cuffs on this one and a facing at the neck.

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.


Click thumbnail to view full-size
Wax paper covering sleeve.After being marked and cut. I cut mine slightly larger because my new fabric isn't as stretchy as the original garment.
Wax paper covering sleeve.
Wax paper covering sleeve.
After being marked and cut. I cut mine slightly larger because my new fabric isn't as stretchy as the original garment.
After being marked and cut. I cut mine slightly larger because my new fabric isn't as stretchy as the original garment.

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.


Fold down the center.  Lay on flat surface. Mark the FOLD.
Fold down the center. Lay on flat surface. Mark the FOLD.
You now have three pattern pieces: sleeve, front, and back.
You now have three pattern pieces: sleeve, front, and 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

Both sleeves against front.
Both sleeves against front.

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

Lay the entire unit against the back piece. The front and sleeve is shown serged.
Lay the entire unit against the back piece. The front and sleeve is shown serged.

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.

Enjoy!

The black one is the original. The light one is the new top.
The black one is the original. The light one is the new top.

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.

Questions & Answers

    © 2020 The Sampsons

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      • profile image

        Michelle 

        26 hours ago

        Nicely done.

      working

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