Wide turtle necked cropped sweatshirt and thoughts on copying patterns

 I made my own version of a cropped wide necked turtleneck sweatshirt hacked from a basic raglan sweatshirt pattern I already had. McCall’s 6992.

 I made it with grey sweatshirt fleece I bought last weekend in Los Angles for a dollar a yard. I bought the whole bolt which had five yard for five dollars so expect to see a few more projects with this super soft fleece.

Total cost of this project: Two dollars!IMG_6355IMG_6354IMG_6356

I also considered buying the Toaster pattern since it’s very similar to a Madewell sweater I liked and wanted to copy. madewellsweaterI’ve been seeing so many cute versions of the Toaster pattern online this month. It’s funny how a pattern will sweep through the sewing community and everyone seems to make it. This is a cute one, so I totally get it. I’m not going to lie and say I didn’t knock off this design because although I saw the Madewell sweater first, I liked the details of The Toaster more. The higher cuffs and the longer waistband and the more fitted shape. I was curious to see if I could make something similar… TOASTER_1_TAN_7136a70a-602a-4cb8-ac4d-78d247c11757

I would have bought the pattern had I not already had a decent fitting raglan sleeved sweatshirt pattern, McCall’s 6992, and it was a pretty simple hack.M6992_a

Construction notes.

I would need to shorten the body and make it in a smaller size to give it that close fitting and semi cropped look. I shortened it five inches, a little too much, I think. I cut a size 8.

 I would also have to create a wide turtleneck collar because I somehow lost the neck band piece. I always seem to lose at least one pattern piece! I made the piece a little shorter than the neck length and drafted it ten inches wide to fold over to about 5 inches.

I  widened the cuff bands by two inches

Now about that collar. Is it a funnel neck or a turtleneck? What it basically is is a wide turtleneck that starts at a lowered neckline instead of the higher neckline of closer fitting turtlenecks and mock turtlenecks.

I know some of you might think it’s a questionable practice to copy other people’s pattern designs.

Personally, I sew to save money, and if I can copy a design I like myself, I figure, why not? I’m not selling it to anyone else and it’s for my own personal use, so I don’t see a problem.  I don’t have an interest in promoting the sales of patterns, like affiliate ads or sponsored posts, so if I can hack a look I want with something I already have, it’s a good thing!

How about you? Do you think it’s wrong to copy the pattern designs of others of for your own use? And what makes it different from copying something you see in a shop?


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  1. Rebecca Goldfarb says

    I’ve copied/hacked drafted patterns for years for a few of reasons. 1) $$$ patterns are expensive & I’m currently not wealthy
    2) quick: I have a short attention span if I don’t do it while I’m thinking about it…
    3) I may not have the exact pattern I want but I can fiddle with what I do have to get it.

    • justine says

      I have a short attention span too! hencer all the unused patterns bought in the past. I don’t want to buy any new ones this year as I bought several pricey indies last year I have yet to use,

  2. Frenchfancy says

    I don’t see it as being any different from taking inspiration from RTW who in turn take inspiration from couture houses. That is what fashion does.

    Nice sweatshirt.

  3. says

    +1 to copying. I took up sewing to save money compared to buying RTW, and often can’t justify the added cost of patterns.

    There’s also another aspect to copying for me, which is to learn new drafting skills faster. Having to figure out how to recreate and fit a look from scratch is obviously a much bigger challenge than taking something pre-made out of an envelope, and that’s what really gets me excited about sewing.

    This post came at such a perfect time, as I have been considering posting one of my recent projects, a Heather dress clone, but I was quite concerned what people’s reaction might be. I’ve seen too many nasty comment threads elsewhere on the internet and not sure I want to deal with that.

    • justine says

      I love fiddling with a pattern to get just the right look, too. I still have work to do on this one! I almost never end up using the pattern as is and once I get a fit I like I don’t want to start all over with an unfamiliar and new pattern when I can just make a few changes to one that I like the fit of. . An exception would be the Ginger jeans I made last week which fit me perfectly except for the length. But that is rare!

  4. Laura Sequeira says

    In the end, much like movie plots, there are really only so many variations on a theme. If you look at the different pattern books (Simplicity, McCalls, etc) they are all similar to one another. So I don’t see a problems with it. I do have a problem with people who purchase a pattern (I knit, so it is more common there) and then make copies for friends.

    • says

      We were taught that in design school. There are no real original designs, and if they occasionally are they will be copied, especially if they are good!

  5. Ruth L says

    One of the reasons I LOVE your blog is that YOU are unconventional! I love to sew and buy fabric and patterns, but I love to get a great deal and really only buy patterns when they are on sale at JoAnns. Paying $12-$18 for an indie pattern doesn’t make sense to me unless it’s something I really love and know I would make over and over again. I can usually find something similar in my stash and alter the design lines to create something amazing. Isn’t that why most of us sew?!?!? I love to create unique things, in fabric I love, to fit my shape. Keep inspiring us to create!
    Warm regards,
    Ruth L

  6. karen says

    Justine, that is not copying, it is a hack, like slimming down the garment, or lengthening the cuffs. I don’t like to criticize pattern makers too much, but there is not too much new under the sun. When I see a design I like, I go through my 30 year (plus thrifting) pattern stash. I can generally find something similar. This is not to say it is in the right size, or has other features I may not want. But if you have slopers, you can probably cobble together something approaching the design you are after. Where I do buy, it is usually vintage, or I need to see the instructions.
    The sweatshirt looks great,by the way.

  7. Sandy Osborne says

    Most of these comments contain my exact thoughts. Good for you for having the skills for using a pattern as a jumping off point to make it what you want. And good for you for using other peoples patterns/ideas/makes for your inspiration to make those changes. I see advertisements all the time for sewing/pattern-making classes that teach how to copy RTW clothes. If you sew, you want to make garments that fit well and are comfortable. Taking inspiration from others’ designs should be applauded. And that other designer based his/her pattern on inspiration from others. Like someone else said, clothes are all variations from one theme. And as a parting note, man(!) that sweatshirt looks comfortable. I have that pattern and now you’ve inspired me (!) to dig that pattern out and do something creative with it. Keep on truckin’, sister!

  8. Carol Gardiner says

    $2! Gotta love that price Justine. Really cute and comfortable looking shirt, you will probably get lots of use out of it. Fitting a pattern is the hardest part. I agree with you, if you have a pattern you’ve gotten to fit well, change it up, that’s the fun part. I also have that pattern, and can’t wait to play. Of course, I doubt I will be able to make it for $2.