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Tutorial // Swing back briar tee

How to make a swing back Briar sweater or tee // Megan Nielsen Patterns

For the longest time i’ve wanted to alter the Briar to have a sweeping swing back – and this winter i finally did it! I’m so happy with how this turned out. This is a pretty good example of my winter uniform this year, i’ve been sick a lot and having comfortable pieces in my wardrobe that still look stylish was a real must for me. It’s dramatic but also really comfortable – hows that for winning!

How to make a swing back Briar sweater or tee // Megan Nielsen Patterns
How to make a swing back Briar sweater or tee // Megan Nielsen Patterns
How to make a swing back Briar sweater or tee // Megan Nielsen Patterns

I honestly wish it was possible to show you how amazing this fabric is in real life. It’s a silk cotton knit – if you can believe that! I’ve never seen anything like it before. I must admit i’m a bit precious about it and handwash because it feels so special. I found it at my favourite knit store KnitWit.

Anyway, if you’d like to see how easy it is to alter the Briar sewing pattern to create a dramatic swing back, heres how!

How to make a swing back Briar tee / Megan Nielsen Design Diary

We will only be altering the back pattern piece (yay for very few alterations!). Trace that sucker so that you preserve the original pattern piece and only alter on a new tracing.

Draw some slash lines – i recommend slashing horizontally from the armhole notch to the centre fold line. The reason for this is that you don’t want to alter the fit across the shoulders as you will introduce some fit issues later. This way we keep the entire shoulder region intact and that way the tee will still be nicely fitted across the shoulders, and not too oversized. Then draw about three more slash downs vertically down from that line towards the hemline. These should be equally spaced.

When you cut, start from the centre fold line and cut horizontally until the armhole notch. Leave a small amount of paper so that you can use it as a hinge. Then cut along your vertical slash lines from the hemline up towards your first horizontal slash line. Do not cut through the horizontal slash line, make sure you leave a small amount of fabric to act as a hinge.

Now spread! I’ve shown two options above for how you could spread the pattern piece. The “tame” version which will result in a nice swing back but not too much extension of length. Here you simply pivot out the side seam as far as you like, keeping the armsyce unaltered. Then make sure you pivot the other slashed pieces so that they are equally spaced. The pattern piece along the centre fold should never change it angle, thought it will have to extend downwards to make sure that the pieces remain attached. The “extreme” version is where i break all the rules i just told you hehehe. Here you separate out all the pieces to add extra length.

Lastly, add extra pattern paper to fill in the gaps – then blend and true all the seams.

Sew the rest of the tee or sweater using the instructions from the Briar sewing pattern.

That’s it! Easy peasy! I hope you like this one!

How to make a swing back Briar sweater or tee // Megan Nielsen Patterns
How to make a swing back Briar sweater or tee // Megan Nielsen Patterns

Meg xoxo

[Make this look]

Top: Megan Nielsen // Briar tee + swing back alteration 
Jeans: Country Road
Boots: Beaucoops via Zomp
Necklace: Merl Kinzie // Clydes Rebirth

About Author

Meg is the Founder and Creative Director of Megan Nielsen Patterns, and is constantly dreaming up ideas for new sewing patterns and ways to make your sewing journey more enjoyable! She gets really excited about design details and is always trying to add way too many variations to our patterns.

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Lisa Poblenz (patternandbranch)

The armhole looks pretty different after the alterations. Does it all just work out despite that because it’s a knit? Thank you for sharing this! I’ve been showing off my first Briar and all my friends think it’s the coolest. I love it too.

Stacie
Stacie
6 years ago

Oh what a fabulous and easy to wear idea, love it! Pinning it!
Stacie

Fadanista
6 years ago

This is a stunning top. I have a piece of that same fabric in a rust colour and have been wondering what to do with it. I may emulate your make…

Mrs T
Mrs T
6 years ago

I love this, it looks comfortable and stylish.

Kieran
Kieran
6 years ago

That is beautiful! How much more fabric do you think you would need for this alteration?

Tammy
Tammy
6 years ago

Lovely shirt! I’ve made five Briars with variations. It looks like this will be my 6th. I enjoy your tutorials which show your Briar modifications. Thanks for sharing.

Kaydee
Kaydee
6 years ago

Hmmmm…If you were to slash below the armhole on the front and back of the shirt pattern and then slash and spread like the extreme version of your swing top…this would make a very cute dress, no?

Sometimes ideas sound good in my brain and then don’t come out so well in real life. Lol!

Lodi Srygley
Lodi Srygley
6 years ago

I just purchased the Briar pattern. (Happy Happy!) How do I make the long sleeves I see with this variation?