Sometimes you’ve made a pattern too many times and want to change things up a bit. Or maybe you’re looking for something really specific that you couldn’t quite figure out by yourself, and the pattern you found is just barely not it.
Altering existing patterns is an easy way to refresh your experience and learn the basics of designing your own work.
Lets start of with the basic customs and politeness surrounding this:
When you alter a pattern, but only slightly, it is still expected you credit the original pattern maker. Just adding a small detail or changing one row does not make it a completely new pattern. Try to be respectful around this, especially when you want to crochet things to sell. When posting and item on socials or listing it in a shop, list that its an altered version of [insert designer names] pattern. There is a point of alteration where your work can be considered a new pattern, but this is a strong gray area and it never hurts to credit someone for inspiration!
Now for examples of how to alter:
In the The Basic Bean post I explained how you can make a basic body shape and some suggestions on how to change it. This still has the difficulty of having to think of how to add other features yourself. If you are not quite ready for this step yet, you can take a pattern you already know and love and make some changes.
The easiest thing to do to make a pattern you’re using more unique is to add embroidery or colour changes where they are not listed in the pattern.
Here you see Caprisun the Fruitbat, this plush is based on the Baby Bat pattern by SassarooDesign, the only additions to the pattern are the orange slice embroidery on the wings, and a stem and leaf attached to the head.
This is an older example of a time I altered the same pattern, creating Batrick, here some embroidery is used along with colour changes and some front/backloop only rows in the body to create a waistband for the pants. I hope this shows you just how different you can make the same pattern look with some colour choices and simple changes!
Now say you want to make my Small Ghost Friend pattern, but you want him to be less egg shaped. You could add more rows of single crochet in the body to make that work! You could copy the legs another two times to add as arms too! Or leave out the butt to make him a puppet or can cover maybe?
As I’ve said before, experimenting is key to learning and becoming comfortable in a craft, if your idea doesn’t turn out how you’d like you can always frog and try again!
And as reassurance:
Altering a pattern and learning a skill from a pattern are not the same thing. If you make a pattern and you learn from this pattern that you can use a bobble stitch to make legs, or you learn how to make frills from my Small Ghost Friend, you are not stealing ideas when you apply this knowledge to your own work. If you think about it too hard, everything already exists. If you think of something and figure out how to do it yourself, using your skills and knowledge from past projects, you have made a pattern.