9 October 2019

10 Design Hack Ideas for Nora

10 Design Hack Ideas for the Nora Sewing Pattern

Are you nutty about Nora and want some ideas for creating more? It's Louise here, the Sales and Communications Manager at Tilly and the Buttons, and I am a serial Nora-maker! Ever since we launched the Nora sweater or top pattern, the team have racked up quite a lot of Nora makes between us. The more you make something or see it being made, the more it gets you thinking of what else you could add to make the next.

So I got my thinking cap on and came up with an idea for a super cute Nora dress with cuffs and tie-waist and it was just love-at-first-wear! I've also made a pom pom cuffed Nora that filled the position of sewing-inspired Christmas jumper, an edible parma violet Nora cardigan hack inspired by Tilly, and a polka dot ruffle hem t shirt that I need to replicate 100 times.

I've pulled together 10 design hack ideas for this gorgeous pattern that will help you get even more use out of it. Most of them would be fairly simple to do and you could combine a few of the ideas to create a super hack. So grab a notebook and pen and let the Nora hack planning commence!

10 Design Hack Ideas for the Nora Sewing Pattern
Clockwise L-R: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7

I have tried, tested, and worn this hack a lot so I can vouch for how brilliant it is. When Tilly came into the office wearing her Nora cardigan hack, I thought she'd developed a new pattern. My only question was, "When can I make one?"!

Tilly shared how to hack nora into a cardi so you can sew your own. Tilly made hers in a low stretch knit, I chose a snuggly sweatshirt fabric, and Kate, our Office Manager, made one in a lovely contrast back sweatshirting.

10 Design Hack Ideas for the Nora Sewing Pattern
Clockwise L-R: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5

Here's an easy-peasy one - you could alter Nora's wide sleeves by adding a cuff. You can buy lovely pre-made cuffs from haberdasheries, like these from Sew Me Sunshine, that you can stitch in and you're done!

I have done this on a couple of my Nora hacks and I love how the cuff makes it feel like a traditional sweatshirt. The other bonus is you won't get soggy sleeves when you do the washing up!

10 Design Hack Ideas for the Nora Sewing Pattern
Clockwise L-R: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7

Next on my personal Nora hack list is colour-blocking. There are so many ways you could easily colour block your Nora tee, using the sleeves, neckband and bodice pieces to mix and match different colours and prints. I think the adding patch pocket is such a cute way to highlight the contrasting fabrics.

If you're anything like me and have a bunch of jersey scraps with no purpose, this could be the hack for you! I think the best place to start when using contrast fabrics is to put pen to paper and sketch your idea out. If you use coloured pencils you can see how the garment will turn out.

If you are doing contrast panels on one pattern piece (such as the bodice) you will need to transfer this onto the pattern. I would trace off your pattern piece and draw in your panels and then add seam allowances to any new joining lines you add to the pattern.

Clockwise L-R: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7
One of my favourite pattern hack tricks is to add gathered skirt to turn a top into a dress. It would work really well in a sweater knit or french terry to hold the structure of the skirt. I really like the idea of doing a curved back detail like the first image.

Our lovely Jenny recreated the lilac dress in the middle using a dreamy french terry which holds the shape beautifully. Jenny sized down for the top as Nora is quite boxy and the skirt adds volume.

To create the skirt, you need to draft a rectangle to between 1.5 and 2 times your hip measurement wide by the desired length you would like it to hit, for example, 110cm x 1.5 = 165cm wide by 60cm long.

10 Design Hack Ideas for the Nora Sewing Pattern
Clockwise L-R: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6

One easy hack would be to lengthen your Nora top into a dress. It would look so modern and effortlessly cool as a maxi length and you could combine it with some of the other hack ideas, like adding a tie waist, deep side splits or colour-blocking. Lengthening Nora to just above the knee would make the perfect Saturday brunch dress. Just chuck it on and go!

To create the dress, measure from your shoulder to where you would like the hem to end and draw in a new hemline on the pattern (don't forget to add seam allowance to the hem). If you want a column shape you can keep the line running straight, or flare it out slightly if you want a subtle swing shape.

10 Design Hack Ideas for the Nora Sewing Pattern
Clockwise L-R: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6

There is nothing that makes my heart sing quite like a flouncy sleeve! What a pretty detail to add to a casual tee to make it the highlight of your outfit.

This should be pretty easy to do as you can add a long gathered strip to the short sleeve length hem - et voila, a statement sleeve. If you want to create a more flowy flounce, you could create a little more width at the hem and use a drapey viscose jersey.

10 Design Hack Ideas for the Nora Sewing Pattern
Clockwise L-R: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7

If you fancy giving your Nora a little waist definition, you could add a tie belt. I did this with my sweater dress and just love the result. You can go for a wide belt to make more of a feature, or go for slim belt that blends into the dress.

If you would like the option of wearing your Nora with or without a belt, you can tie it on whenever you fancy. But if, like me, you plan to wear the tie most of the time, you could also add belt loops to the side seams at the waist to secure it in place. I did this with my Nora dress and I love it!

Clockwise L-R: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8

I have also tried this idea and LOVE the result so will be making more! You could create a peplum style tee by adding a gathered rectangle at the hem of the t shirt. You can play around with the width and go for a bum-covering length that looks amazing with a pair of jeans, or a cute narrow panel like the bottom right. This one is next on my list.

I really like the asymmetric placement of the ruffle in the top right image and the exposed frill seam detail, just like our newest sewing pattern, the Indigo smock top and dress.

This hack is easy-peasy to do, I promise. When making mine I wanted a lot of gathered fabric to create the peplum shape, so used two rectangles about double the width of the t shirt hem. I added my ruffle at the first side split notch so it hits just below my natural waist. But I really like the drop waist effect two. I have a feeling you can't just stop at one with this hack!

10 Design Hack Ideas for the Nora Sewing Pattern
Clockwise L-R: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7

This idea might be one that ticks all the boxes for you... use other fabric types to create a mixed media garment. You could keep the body of Nora in knit fabric and use up some of your woven scraps to invent a totally unique me-made garment.

I love the idea of using denim offcuts to create a layered pocket detail like the top right image, or going for statement sleeves with sequins. If you've got woven scarps, you could add a cute frill detail to the shoulder or hem like the bottom left picture. Or what about making an open back and fastenings for your sweatshirt with woven strips or ribbons? So cute!

10 Design Hack Ideas for the Nora Sewing Pattern
Clockwise L-R: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7

The Nora sweater or top already has an optional split drop hem detail that I just looooove, so when I made my dress, I wanted to keep that swoonsome feature. You can make the split deeper if you are hacking the pattern into a dress, or even try a double front split styled with jeans - such a cool look!

So, there you have it. Ten design hack ideas that you can use to make a whole hoard of Nora garments! And hopefully, you might find one of the ideas help make use of your scraps in an inventive way.

We lurrrrve to see your makes and I will definitely be keeping my eyes peeled for Nora hacks on Instagram. If you do make something, you can share it with us by tagging @TillyButtons and using #SewingNora.

Haven't got the Nora sweater or top sewing pattern yet? Grab it here!