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6 thoughts on changing it up


When I look at a project tutorial, whether it's my own or someone else's, I almost instantly start thinking about ways to adapt it, alternate methods, and more. Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I feel a twinge of insecurity (or maybe jealousy) when someone changes one of my own tutorials (especially when I think they improved on it!), but it doesn't last long. Why? Because ideas beget ideas, and changing it up and making something your own are good things.

Last week I showed the Dala Horse that I made from Stitched Blooms and mentioned a few changes I made. The changes weren't because Carina's project needed improvement...they were for a purpose...to make it work for me. But what might that look like for you?

Ahh, Autumn Trivets

Using my Ahh, Autumn Trivets pattern for an example, here are 6 thoughts on changing it up:

1. What is the purpose?

My trivets pattern contains instructions and templates for making hot pads. Maybe you like the look, but you don't need hot pads. What you need is a set of place mats or coasters! By changing the size, you can change the how the finished project will be used. Sometimes a simple shift or a small addition can give you exactly what you need.

2. How will changing the purpose affect what you're making?

If you've decided that you need to change how a project will function, it's important to consider what that will mean. For example, enlarging a DIY requires you to figure out how much more of the materials you'll need. If you make the same thing smaller, you might need to simplify some details or look for ways to reduce bulky materials. It takes a little bit of thought, but you'll end up with a newly purposed tutorial taylor made for you!

Ahh, Autumn Trivets

3. What supplies will you use?

I'm a total homebody, so if I can avoid a supply run (even to to the craft store!), I will. Plus, isn't it more fun to jump right in to a new project? That might mean using different supplies than the DIY calls for. In the case of trivets, you could use extra batting (this project calls for cotton!) instead of the Insul-bright I recommend. Or sometimes I like using felt in a project because of it's non-woven qualities. Changing the materials is a great way to solve a problem or infuse creativity.

4. How will changing the materials affect what you're making?

It's a cute hot pad emergency and you don't have insulated batting. No problem! You've got plenty of regular cotton batting! Can you use it? Of course...but you're gonna want to make sure that you use enough layers to really protect yourself from the heat. Do a test (carefully!) to make sure it's safe. You're gonna use felt for your trivets? Nice! But remember that felt makes seams a little more bulky and isn't as laundry-friendly. Trim those seam allowances after you've stitched (or make it without turning!) and plan to spot clean your finished work.

5. Is the embellishment a fit?

Everyone is different and we all have different preferences. I like pumpkins and acorns with faces, but maybe you don't. Easy fix: don't stitch the faces! I think fall is a perfect time for using hot pads, but you really want them for Christmas gifts. Find a large, simple design that is a more suitable seasonal motif! Embroidery designs or other embellishments are easy to change out in most cases, but they can make a big difference in the overall style of what you're making.

6. How will changing the design affect what you're making?

If the project you're making is adding an embroidery motif to a shirt, switching out the design is unlikely to make a difference. But what if the proportions of your chosen design vary greatly from the original, such as wanting to use a circular pattern on a bookmark that is long and thin? Changing the pattern on the trivets could require altering the outer shape, which you could do without much effort. However, the stitching isn't just embroidery, but quilting, so consider the level of detail in a new design and how that will look (or if you can even stitch it that way).

Bottom line: think it through, then don't be afraid to change it up!


  1. Love and pinned this post. :)

  2. Please be careful with the type of batting you use for pot holders. Worse case scenario, polyester will melt instead of burn and could cause serious deep damage to your hands quickly. Probably won't ever happen, but my good 'ol mom always told me to only use cotton batting for pot holders just in case.

    1. Thanks for the reminder! I almost exclusively use cotton batting, so I didn't even think to specify. I updated the text to reflect that.

  3. Good post. Most of the time I like to use people´s patterns and add my own twist to the project...so it combines a bit of both worlds-the pattern designers´ and mine.


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