In this video, Haley shows you how to lengthen and shorten pattern pieces. This fundamental fitting technique can help you achieve a better fit and can be used anywhere on a pattern that doesn’t interrupt any major design features, like darts.
- Clear ruler
- Pattern Paper
Hi, I’m Haley! I’m the pattern designer here at Seamwork. You can find us at Seamwork.com. We’re a community of sewists that are all about designing and sewing our own wardrobes, so make sure you check us out. Lengthening and shortening is a really easy skill to master, and today I’m going to show you how to use this technique.
There are two ways you can determine the finished length of a garment. The first way is by checking out the measurement chart. You can simply compare your body measurements to the length measurements included in the chart and determine whether or not you want to shorten or lengthen. The second way that you can deduce the length of a garment is by simply cutting it out and holding it up against your body. When you do this though, just make sure you’re keeping in mind things like hem and seam allowance.
Many commercial patterns are going to include lengthen and shortened lines on the pattern pieces themselves. Lengthen and shorten lines are placed by the pattern maker in what they think is the most optimal spot for you to lengthen and shorten without distorting the silhouette in any way. But if your pattern doesn’t include lengthen and shorten lines, don’t worry! You can add your own. All you need to do is take a ruler and a pencil and draw a line perpendicular to the grainline. Just make sure that this line doesn’t intersect with anything like darts or vital markings. Let’s start with shortening a pattern. To shorten, you’re just going to need a clear ruler and a pencil. You’re going to draw a line above, and parallel to, your lengthen and shorten line. The distance between these two lines should be the amount you want to shorten your pattern by. Next, you’re going to crease your lengthen and shorten line and then take that creased line and bring it up to your new line, taping everything in place. Once you’re done with that, you can take your ruler and your pencil and just straighten out your side seam, so you create a nice line. Make sure that you’re making all of these same adjustments to your back pattern piece or any other corresponding pattern pieces.
Let’s move on to lengthening our patterns. When you’re lengthening your patterns, the first thing you’re going to want to do is take your scissors and cut along your lengthen and shorten line. Then on a separate piece of pattern paper, you’re gonna take your pencil and your clear ruler and draw a set of parallel lines. The distance between these two lines should be the amount you want to lengthen your pattern by. Once you’ve drawn these parallel lines, you’re going to draw a third line perpendicular to those. This is basically gonna act as an extension of your grainline and help you line everything up perfectly straight. Once you’ve finished drawing your guidelines, you’re going to take your cut pattern pieces and you’re going to line it up with your guidelines and your grainline, taping everything into place. Once everything is taped into place, you
can use a ruler and a pencil to straighten out the side seam and the center front, Make sure that you’re repeating all of these same steps to the back or any other corresponding pattern pieces. And that’s it how to lengthen and shorten!
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