Are you wondering how to get the perfect fit for your sewing patterns when the person you are sewing for is not a standard size? Well, see below for instructions on basic fitting and how to lengthen a pattern or shorten a pattern.
How to Lengthen a Pattern (or Shorten)
The images and sizing chart below are from an A-line dress pattern but you could easily use this method to alter sizing for most dress patterns. There is no right or wrong length for a dress. It will not only depend on your actual height but your personal preference. Show off your best assets and have confidence no matter what you do. Being able to sew and alter patterns means you will always have your best foot forward with an individual style that flatters.
Step 1 - Take Measurements
Refer to the pattern's size chart with chest, waist, and hip measurements and cut out the paper pattern piece of the size that most closely corresponds. It is much easier to alter the length of a pattern than it is to alter the width. This rule holds whether you are sewing a dress or a leotard.
Step 2 - Comparisons
If possible, grab a favorite dress from the cupboard that is the perfect length.
Everyone has a different idea of perfect! You might want it shorter to wear with leggings or you might want it longer to cover your knees.
Compare the length of the dress to the pattern piece.
You will want the pattern piece to be around 1 to 1.5 inches (2.5-4 cm) longer than the actual dress. This takes into account the seam allowance at the shoulder and the hem.
Work out how much you want to adjust the pattern.
Step 3 - Slash the Pattern
Cut across your front and back pattern piece about halfway down and below the waist.
Step 4 - Alterations
How to Lengthen a Pattern - Put a piece of paper underneath spreading the pattern by the amount necessary. Sticky tape it together. Blend the edges.
How to Shorten a Pattern - Overlap the pieces removing the amount required. Sticky tape it in place and blend the edges.
How to Lengthen a Pattern - In Conclusion
And that is how to lengthen a pattern or shorten it. Perfect fit!