Increase Waist Pattern Alteration

Increase Waist Pattern AlterationLet's face it.  There are probably not many of us out there that fit in the neat little box that are pattern measurements.  If we're lucky, we're going to get close, maybe being off by a few inches.  If we're unlucky, then chances are it might be worse than that.  Well, we're here to help the lucky and unlucky alike with our tutorial showing you how to make your own alterations to commercial patterns.  For instance, in this tutorial we demonstrate how to increase the waist measurement so you can create a garment that looks like it was custom fitted using the pivot and slide method.  We show you how to do a waist increase alteration on a bodice pattern, on a bottom pattern (like a skirt) and, last but not least, for the waistband.  Now you'll no longer have to waffle between which size to choose.    And when you see how quick and painless using the pivot and slide method is for altering the waist on a commercial pattern, you'll save yourself time in alterations later on the the completed garment.


As with all alterations, I always recommend creating a muslin after making alterations to your patterns.  That way you can test your adjustments before using your more expensive fabric.  You don't need to fully create the completed garment but just baste the necessary pieces together so you can try it on.  Then you can see if you need to make any other alterations.

Categories:  Basic Video   |   intro to patterns   |   Professor Pincushion Posts   |   Videos

39 thoughts on “Increase Waist Pattern Alteration

  1. Fran

    I read how to do extensions however I will need to increase my bust 6.5″. I know that comes to 1″ pivot per a seam and 5/8 extension per seam. My sleeve width is fine. Do I still need to an extension to sleeve since I have an extension for bust and if so how much per a seam? I know sleeve has 2 seams.

  2. ProfessorPincushion

    There is a limit of 4″ total for the bust increase for the pivot method because you’ll start distorting the armhole and will need to increase the width of the sleeve. We address what to do in this situation in this tutorial: The second part of this video, I go over the bustline alteration. To answer your question, I would do the bust alteration first and then do the waist alteration. Definitely make a muslin though to test your fit as you may still have to make some tweaks to it. good luck!

  3. Fran

    What if you need to do a bust increase and waste increase because they are both modifying the side bodice. If we use your example, you added to each side for bust 3/4″ and you added 1/2″ to each side for waist. Would I increase side for bust first then increase side for waist or do I only increase side for bust because it is larger then waist increase. Second question, can you increase side for 4 1/2 which is 1.125 for each side. I didn’t know if there is a limit to how much you can add to each side using the pivot method.

  4. ProfessorPincushion

    when it’s a one piece, it’s definitely a little trickier. You can draw an outline of your side front and side back pattern, then at the waistline, make a new mark on your paper where you want the waistline to extend to. Then you need to blend a line from the bustline to the new waistline point and then blend it back to the hipline. There’s no pivoting, you’re just drawing a line. I would definitely do a muslin so you can test the fit and make any changes that you need.

  5. Donna76

    Hi how do you increase the waist/hip or both of a dress pattern that does not have separate skirt and top pieces for example McCalls 7014 where they have princess seams running the lenght of the dress. Thanks in advance

  6. jime

    Hello ,I’m making a wrap skirt Mcalls 5430 my waist is 37 hips 40 you said before to follow the hip measurement and increase the waist or should i use pattern size 20 = 34 waist and don’t touch the hips , this is for a A skirt. Thanks

  7. ProfessorPincushion

    We do not have a tutorial on this. I recommend just basting a stitch to increase the size of the dart on your muslin, until you get something that fits well for you. That way, you’ll know what to do when you make your real garment. If there’s a lot of fabric in the dart, you can cut off the excess fabric and press the remaining dart fabric open instead of to the side.

  8. Mary

    Do you have a tutorial for increasing a back dart for a more fitted look? I definitely cut my dress too big, and i think that if I could increase the back dart, it would give me the fitted look I need. Any suggestions?

Leave a Reply