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Lengthen or Shorten Pattern

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Shortening Commercial Pattern

Shortening Commercial PatternLengthening or shortening a commercial pattern is actually quite easy to do and necessary if you tend to find that patterns are generally too short or too long for you.  As a petite person myself, I tend to find everything too long for me, especially pants.  Going shopping for clothes is just a constant reminder that yes, I am short.  Luckily though, when I sew, I can live out my delusion that I'm perfect and everyone else is just too tall.  The other nice thing about my stature is that I need less fabric, which saves me money.  That's the nice thing about sewing your own clothes.  Everything is customized to you so that it fits you perfectly and you don't have to worry about rolling up your pantlegs all the time.

The pattern companies know that not everyone is the same and have, therefore, conveniently placed lines on patterns indicating where it will be the easiest to shorten or the lengthen and still  be able to maintain the integrity of the pattern.  By using these lines you can length or shorten before you cut out your fabric, thereby saving yourself a lot of trouble later in your project.  Not only does this apply to pant legs but also to commercial tops where you can sometimes lengthen or shorten the torso area.  If there are no marked lines for shortening or lengthening, just shorten or lengthen your pattern piece at the bottom of the pattern.  Be sure to maintain the integrity of the pattern shape.

After you get the hang of sewing, you'll learn what works best for you and feel comfortable altering your own patterns so that everything fits you perfectly.

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15 thoughts on “Lengthen or Shorten Pattern

  1. ProfessorPincushion

    we don’t have a tutorial on this. Do you also feel the armhole is too big as well? Because you can fold the pattern (from armhole to center front/center back) to shorten it just like it’s shown in the this tutorial. You just want to do it towards the top of the armhole where the armhole curve is more on the straight side. The problem is that it would decrease the armcycle as well.

  2. Want2Sew

    What if you need to shorten the portion above the armhole because it is too long from shoulder to underarm? Would that not require redrawing the armhole? I need help with that. Do you have a video on that?

  3. craftigyrl

    Hello, is this method used to make a swayback adjustment by maintaining the same grainline on the pattern?

  4. ProfessorPincushion

    not in this tutorial. I actually cut or fold the pattern depending on what I need to do.

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