pattern mash

Willow meets Sybil – Tips for a Successful Pattern Mash

Mar 5, 2021 | How To, Willow Wrap Dress | 2 comments

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If you know me, you know my love for dress-making exceeds any other love affair I have with garment sewing. So as soon at I found out the Willow Wrap is today’s Featured Friday $5 pattern, I jumped on the opportunity to talk about it. The Willow Dress is one of my favorite Love Notions patterns, not only because of its flattering silhouette but also because it provides a great base for mashing with other patterns.

My goal with this blog it to make you comfortable and confident in taking your Willow to the next level by mashing it with other patterns.

Before we get started, I wanted to remind you that the Willow Wrap Dress pattern got an update last year. It nows features a wider size range and new details. Back in September, I did a video review for the Love Notions Channel in which I talk all about this gorgeous pattern. You can see the video, here.

Willow Wrap Mashed with Sybil Skirt

Now that you have your Willow Wrap Dress in your pattern gallery, let’s add more options to it by mashing it with the ever so popular Sybil Illusion Skirt. The pattern includes, 7 (YES! SEVEN!) different skirt styles from pencil, A-line, swing and yoke swing, to gored, asymmetrical faux wrap and pleated.

I will start with the simplest mash possible…using the bodice of the Willow Dress and any one of the Sybil Skirts. No fuss, no stress, just sew the bodice, sew the skirt and attach them together. Can’t get easier than that. While the skirt might have been a smidge wider than the bodice opening, the fact that they are made of knit fabric, meant that no alterations needed to happen. I personally like a little higher waistline for my figure so I did not add the waistband included in the Sybil skirt.

In my example above, I have used the short sleeves, low neckline, no flounce Willow bodice. The Sybil pleated option is my favorite of the bunch because it’s not only flattering but ohhh so comfortable too.

The other mash I did recently features the higher neckline of the Willow bodice and flutter sleeves with the gored Sybil skirt This style is beautiful for showcasing two fabrics. You can see in my pictures that the skirt hits above the knees. My personal preference for a little bit longer skirt. That’s an easy fix for my next Willow/Sybil mash. I will be adding the waistband that is included with the Sybil so it accentuates my waist and makes the dress look a little longer.

Tips for successfully mashing patterns

How to Mash SLEEVES

When mashing a pattern that does not have sleeves with one that does…or vice versa, you will need to adjust the armscye. Let’s take the Willow for example. If you would like to make the Willow as a tank top, all you would need is the Summer Basics Tank used as a guide. A tank armscye goes in towards the neck more than a sleeved one. Place the Summer basics pattern on top of the Willow one and trace the Summer basics armscye and shoulder seam on the Willow pattern as shown below. Remember to trace both the front AND back bodice pieces.

Remember to cut TWO mirror images if you are not using the pleated front Willow dress.

Match the underarm corners

Trace the back bodice the same way as the front.

Skip cutting the sleeves. Instead, add the arm binding using the Summer Basics pattern. You will sew the Willow as in the tutorial, except the sleeves section. There you have it, a tank style faux wrap dress that only took a couple of extra steps.

Subsequently, if you’d like to add sleeves to the Summer Basics pattern, you can trace the willow shoulder and armscye on the Summer Basics one.

TIP: If the bodices of the patterns you are mashing have a bust line marking on them, overlap that line and then make any trace lines you need.

How to Mash WAIST WIDTH

As you saw with my simple mash above, mixing patterns that have a bodice and a skirt with similar waist circumferences is pretty easy. But what do we do when the waistline of the bodice differs significantly to the one of the skirt? You can’t rely on just the fabric stretch, it will not yield a great looking garment if you just stretch one to fit the other. The solution is not very difficult but it involves some drafting.

If the bodice is wider, the “safest” hacking is the bring in bodice towards the waist to match the skirt. If the bodice is narrower than the skirt it usually means that you are dealing with a gathered or pleated skirt. In this scenario, you would simply gather the skirt more so it matches the bodice.

How to Mash BODICE LENGTH

Verify if the bodice pattern you are using “hits” at the natural waist, above or below. Next you need to see if the skirt pattern is a low, medium or high rise one. Ideally if you would need to have the bodice and the skirt hit at the same spot. You don’t want to add a low rise skirt to an empire waist top. That mash will not only look off, but the skirt would be shorter than intended.

Either one of the bodices above can be mashed with the Sybil Illusion skirt, however. The final dress would have 3 different length and looks.

How to Mash FABRIC

Last tip I have for you today is to be consistent with your fabric weight. Avoid mashing patterns with considerably different fabric requirements. I hope it goes without saying that if the pattern requires knit fabric, you cannot use woven for the mash up. If you are using a light weight cotton spandex for your Willow bodice, I encourage you to use a similar weight fabric for the Sybil skirt.

Avoid mashing patterns with considerably different fabric requirements.

I hope you will find these tips for successful pattern mashing helpful. I can’t wait to see what Love Notions pattern mashes you will be showing off in the Facebook group!

Alex


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2 Comments

  1. Mrs. P

    What a great post! So many useful tips! The only thing I would add is a woven skirt is okay ONLY when using a gathered skirt on a knit bodice. The gathers should allow for enough stretch to make it work.

    Reply
    • Keira Wood

      That’s a great point! So happy you found the post useful! Happy Sewing! ~K

      Reply

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