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Beginner’s Guide to Sewing (Ep 19): Lengthen and Shorten Patterns

Welcome back to the Beginner’s Guide to Sewing! In episode 19, we continue learning simple ways to adjust our flat patterns. In the last episode, we learned how to fix waist and hip fitting issues. This week we learn how to lengthen and shorten along the lengthen and shorten lines.

You’ll learn how to take basic length measurements and how to apply them to your patterns for an improved fit. Most of us have to lengthen or shorten our patterns. The easiest way to do this is along the designated lengthen and shorten lines. However, you can shorten/lengthen anywhere, as long as it doesn’t significantly alter the design. It’s best to stay away from areas with significant curves, darts, or pleats. Aim for an areas with little activity, because it’ll have the least amount of impact.

But why not just hem? You certainly can just turn under a hem. However, you want to be aware of how a significant hem will alter the pattern silhouette. For instance, say you want to alter some flare bottom pants. If you hem the bottom 4 inches, you don’t really have that much of a flare left. It would be more of a straight leg. These are just things to think about as you continue your sewing journey.

Pattern adjustments are crucial for anyone wanting to make their own clothing. It can be intimidating, but with a little help, you’ll be a pro. Don’t let poor fit ruin your sewing experience!

Perfect fit and tailoring takes years to master, but these little adjustments will make sure your projects fit better than anything you would buy in the store. Challenge yourself and you’ll love the rewards!

9 Comments

  1. Is there a printed book of your sewing instructions, it’s very difficult for me to read or see what is being shown. I’m 78 years old.

    1. Hi Ms. Jennie! I’m so sorry the content is difficult to see. Unfortunately, we do not have a print out of the lessons. Do you have the video on “full screen” setting? If you look to the bottom right of the video, there will be a small rectangle box. If you click that, it will increase the size of the video. I hope that helps. If not, please feel free to email me at sarah@sewingpartsonline.com and I’d be happy to help answer any sewing questions you have.

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