One of my TNT (tried ‘n’ true) patterns is the Papercut Coppelia wrap cardi. I’ve made it four times now, with plans for more on the horizon! For two of those versions, I extended the pattern – one time to create a hip-length wrap top for my sister-in-law, and the other time to create a below-knee-length dress for myself.
Extending the wrap-around version of the Coppelia is pretty easy to do, and you can make it however long you want. A Coppelia maxi dress, perhaps? Or simply a slightly longer wrap top to wear over jeans? It’s up to you! Here’s how I did it….
Of course, most of the changes are made when you’re cutting out your pattern. Are you ready? Here we go!
Cutting out the back
The Coppelia wrap top ends on the natural waist. So when lengthening it, you need to account for your waist-hip curve.
You’ll also need to account for natural movement in the garment. This is especially important for extending the Coppelia to dress length – when you walk/sit/run/play, the movement of your body (particularly your legs) will kick the skirt fabric out wider. If you don’t make your top/dress wider as it goes down your body, you may end up flashing a bit more leg than you expect to. ;-)
Aim for an a-line shape, flaring out gently from the waist (i.e. where the Coppelia pattern piece ends). Mark your extended cutting line (I used pins as tailors chalk and this fabric weren’t getting along).
Cutting out the front
Like the back piece, you’ll need to widen the front pattern piece as it goes down below your waist. Since the front is cut in one piece (rather than on the fold like the back piece is) you’ll need to widen it at both sides.
You want to widen it by the same amount on each side as you widened your back piece, to make sure those side-seams line up nicely.
Before you remove your front pattern piece, mark where the waist is at the side seams. (I.e. where the Coppelia top pattern piece ends.) You’ll need to know where this is later on when sewing up the side seams.
Cutting the ties/bindings
With the Coppelia, there are two sections of bindings that you need – for around the neckline, and for the hem. When you extend the pattern, you no longer need the hem binding as the top will no longer end at your waist.
The hem binding on the Coppelia also doubles as the waist ties, extending out from the body to wrap around. Since you won’t be adding the hem binding any more, the neck binding will be extended instead to become the wrap ties.
However, we are going to use the hem tie pattern piece to get our neck binding/waist tie piece the right length.
In the Coppelia, the pattern calls for you to cut out three lengths of the hem tie pattern. For a longer Coppelia, you’ll need to cut out only two. We’ll then be joining these onto the neck binding to create an all-in-one neck-binding-extending-into-waist-ties piece.
(If you like you can lay the neck binding and hem tie pattern pieces end-to-end to cut them out so you don’t have to sew them together – this creates a nice smooth binding piece. If you do it this way, make sure you mark where the neck binding ends and the hem tie begins as you’ll need to know this later on.)
Since I quite like long waist ties, I also extended my hem tie pattern pieces by 24cm (since they’re cut on the fold, I moved them out 12cm from the fold to get that 24cm extension). This is completely optional – like I said, I just like really long waist ties. ;-)
Sewing it up
Important note: I have the older version of the Coppelia, that only has the wrap-around variation. The instruction numbers below match the ones found in that version.)
Attach the sleeves as per instruction steps 1 and 2, and join the two halves of your neck binding at the centre back as per step 3. If you cut your neck binding and two hem tie pieces separately, now’s the time to join one hem tie piece to each end of your neck binding so that you have one nice, big, long tie.
Skip step 4 for now – you’ll come back to this soon.
Carry on with steps 5 and 6. With step 6, where it talks about leaving a 3cm gap 2cm up from the waist line – this is where you’ll be using that chalk mark you made when cutting out, so that you know where the waist line is. Your 3cm gap will be 2cm above that mark you made.
Skip step 7 – you’ve already joined your hem tie and neck binding, so nothing more to do here. ;-)
Now, before you go any further, there’s a bit of edge neatening that needs to be done. On the original wrap Coppelia, all the edges are nicely enclosed in the hem and neck bindings. Now that we’ve lengthened it, the sides below the waist and the bottom edge won’t be enclosed in binding, and need to be finished neatly. This needs to be done before you attach the neck binding, or else it’s going to be a heck of a lot harder to get a neat finish on those edges.
It’s up to you how you finish them – I used a coverstitch for mine, but a twin needle on your sewing machine would also work well. Another option is to neaten the edge (zig-zag or serge/overlock), fold under 1cm and stitch down. You’ll need to finish three edges – both sides below the waist (i.e. below where the neck starts heading off on an angle) and the hem.
Once those edges are neatened, it’s time to attach the neck binding/waist ties. You’re going to do this using a combination of steps 4 and 8 in the Coppelia instructions. Have a read of step 8 – you’ll see it talks of attaching one side of the binding first, rather than attaching it all in one piece like in step 4. Since our neck binding is going to extend into the waist ties, this is the way you’ll want to attach the neck binding now.
Like in step 4, line up the centre seam of the neck band with the centre back neckline of the cardi. If you cut your hem tie and neck binding as separate pieces, line the join of these up with the bottom corner of the neckline. If you cut your hem tie and neck binding as one piece, find the mark you made showing where one ends and the other begins and line this up with the bottom corner of the neckline. As with step 4, pin the remainder of the neck binding to the cardi easing it in slightly. Stitch it down. (Remember, you’re only attaching one side of the neck binding at this point – the other side needs to be left loose like in step 8.)
Now jump to step 9 and stitch that waist tie together!
Carry on to step 10, only apply it to the neck binding piece instead.
Then complete step 11 to attach the cuffs.
You’re all done!
Since the Coppelia is a cardigan, it’s designed to have enough ease to be able to wear it over other things. If you’re planning on turning it into a dress, I recommend cutting one size smaller than you usually would, as you’ll want a closer fit.