Coco from Tilly and The Buttons
Sewing for Me

Accidental Coco hack

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Hello all,

while I was sewing my first Coco dress from Tilly and the Buttons, I had already decided that I definitely needed a sweater version of this pattern. I am so in love with the neckline, and I wanted to be able to match such a top with jeans. Plus, the pattern already offers a dedicated “sweater hemline” – so making a sweater is a quick job. Coco from Tilly and The Buttons - Neckline

At least in theory – I made it a lot more complicated for myself… But let’s start at the beginning: One rainy Sunday afternoon I took out the Coco pattern and some ponte di roma jersey that I had bought in Cracow over Christmas, and went to work. We had a dinner reservation with friends for that evening, and I wanted to wear a new me-made garment! I took a look at the pictures of the Coco sweater and started pondering whether the given hemline was really the right length for me. I am quite short, and most of my tops stop right above my hips – that’s the length I am most comfortable with.

Coco from Tilly and The Buttons - side view

So I decided to shorten the pattern – Tilly provides shortening/lengthening lines, and I felt like a pro when I measured and slashed and measured again. Happy with the measuring result, I cut straight into the fabric and made good time with sewing. I tried the top on to check the hemline one last time – and almost fainted. It was way, way, way too short!! Turns out, I had a) forgotten to include a seam allowance when measuring and b) simply copied the curved hem line onto the shorter length. But I had not thought about the fact that the pattern is a lot broader at the original hemline – by simply copying the form, the curve ended up being way too steep on the shortened top, resulting in side seams that ended at my waist rather than my hips. There was no way I was going to be able to hem the sweater – and even without a hem, it was nowhere near being wearable. I was soooo disappointed, and angry with myself for rushing it and making such rooky mistakes! Luckily enough, I had to stop working because we had to leave for dinner – so I could keep myself from making things worse with more quick hacks.

Coco from Tilly and The Buttons - Back view

During the next days, I kept thinking about ways to salvage my Coco – I liked the fabric so much, and I didn’t want to bin it. Browsing through Pinterest pictures of Cocos, I finally had an idea: The original sweater had slits at the side – so why not take that design element further and add actual “slitted hem bands”? This time, I made up a step-by-step plan to avoid further measuring mistakes: First of all, I cut away the curved hemline, in order to get a straight hem at the end of the side seams. I then measured the back and the front piece and cut two bands in the respective lengths (this time with seam allowances ;-)). I determined the width by measuring the “missing” fabric from the new straight line to my desired length, doubling that and adding seam allowances. Next, I closed the side seams on the bands right sides facing each other, turned and ironed them and then finally attached them to the hemline of the sweater. Luckily, my fabric’s pattern is quite busy, so I didn’t have to worry about pattern matching, and the seam is not that noticeable.

Coco from Tilly and The Buttons - my accidental pattern hack

Coco from Tilly and The Buttons - Sleeve Detail

Turns out: I really like my accidental hack! I think the “hem bands” (what’s the correct word??) work quite well with the neck and sleeve bands. It almost looks like the sweater was intended to look like that. I even drew this “new” finish onto my pattern pieces and will repeat the hack on my next Coco sweater! So, here’s my second Flying Needle summary (you can read up on the summary for the dress here):

Pattern: Coco from Tilly and The Buttons (available as PDF download or paper pattern)

Fabric: Ponte di Roma jersey, bought in Cracow

Changes made: I had originally only planned on shortening the sweater version; but ended up adding self-drafted „hem bands“

Summary: I just love the Coco neckline – and if you don’t make my measuring mistakes and all the changes that were made necessary through it, Coco is quite a quick and satisfying make; this sweater won’t be my last!

Have you made things difficult for yourself by blundering with measurements, as well? If so, leave a comment and tell me how you were able to save your make – I am always greatful for new ideas!

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Coco from Tilly and The Buttons - In front of the golf of Tain
We took the pictures of my Coco sweater while travelling through Scotland – this is the view from the great Golf View House in Tain!


  1. Your (accidental) hack is such a good idea! The overall garment is stunning.

    1. Melanie

      Thank you! I just saw your Delphine skirt, so I’m guessing we share the love for Tilly ;-)!

  2. Wow! I love everything about this top! The fun neckline, the shorter sleeves, the bottom hem line and the fabric! I am a crocheter learning to sew, but always looking for inspiration and pattern suggestions. Thanks! Found you at the Create Link Inspire link up.

    1. Melanie

      Thank you Alexandra! Funny, I am a sewer learning to crochet :-)!

  3. I just love your little accident too……gives the piece a nice addition that really works with the neckline. thanks for sharing on craft schooling Sunday, and allowing us to do a little armchair traveling as well!

  4. I made a similar mistake when hacking the Marigold dress into a blouse. I followed the designers tutorial, but the tutorial makes no mention of the fact that the front bodice rises from side seam to center front by about an inch (I have no idea why) I forgot to straighten out the front hemline when I cut, so guess what, I now have a slightly cropped blouse. Someday I’ll add a slight peplum so I’m not afraid to raise my arms when wearing it.
    I’m wearing it here:

    1. Melanie

      Hat Melissa, I like the idea of a peplum! But I think the blouse looks cute as it is, as well! Cheers, Melanie

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