Monday, 30 August 2010

How to adapt the Port Elizabeth pattern: Basic to Intermediate

I have finally got around to drawing some ideas out for adapting the very simple Port Elizabeth sewing pattern, available on BurdaStyle. I hope the diagrams are helpful; please contact me if you would like any help or want to know how to adapt the pattern another way.

☞ Please remember this pattern has no seam allowance. You must adapt your pattern and then add seam allowance afterwards on every edge a seam will be ie side seams, shoulders, armholes, neckline, hemline and centre front if you have a seam here.

One of the simplest ways of personalising this pattern is to alter the neck or hemline. You can change the neckline to a scoop, V or square shape; you could add a V-shape or shirt style hem. You could shape the neckline and finish the edge with visible bias binding or draft a facing (I can add a diagram if you are interested).

A simple addition is a Patch pocket or an Apron style pocket, as below. Use the front pattern piece to draw a pocket pattern, as the diagram.

When you start to feel confident about pattern adaptation, you could start to cut the pattern into more panels and add a yoke. You will need to cut the bottom half of the bodice off and extend the bottom section as much as you would like it gathered into the top section. It is important to remember that 'what goes up, must come down' ie side seams and shoulder seams etc must be equal. On the diagram a=b and c=d.

Something simple to achieve that changes the look entirely, is to add a button stand. The centre front (or centre back) line becomes the central position for your buttons and buttonholes. Therefore, you need to add 1/2 inch either side of this (your button stand). You must then add a 1 inch facing and then add your seam allowance on every edge. This is simple to make: once cut, press along the seam allowance and facing lines and neatly tuck under. Stitch just under 1 inch from the edge on the right side to secure the layers together. Mark on buttonhole placement and add buttonholes and then buttons. Finish neckline with bias-binding.


  1. I have been unable to download the pattern from Burda. Any idea why?

  2. Have you made sure you are registered and logged in?

  3. Thank you so much for this pattern! I have been looking for a simple drafted top that I can easily alter for my pre-teen daughter. She like her mother has developed quite early. You can imagine how hard it is to find clothes/patterns for a 9 year old going on 19.

    1. Aah, thanks for your lovely comment! I hope you enjoy making the top and find these adaptations useful. More importantly, I hope your daughter likes it!! :)