Adjusting Pattern Piece Length

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Lengthening and shortening a bodice (and sleeves) is an easy flat pattern adjustment to make. I'm using the Bronte Top as an example, but this method is the same for any pattern you wish to alter.



1. Cut out your corresponding size from your Bronte Top pattern (you may also wish to trace your pattern first, especially if you have a paper pattern that cannot be printed out again).

On the front bodice piece, locate the 'Lengthen/Shorten' line (there is also one on your Long Sleeve pattern piece for Bronte if you wish to alter this piece too). Cut along this line, separating your pattern piece in half.

2. To lengthen your pattern piece, take your extra piece of paper and draw a straight line down one side of it.

3. Place your extra paper underneath the top of the separated pattern piece, lining up the straight line you drew in Step 2 with the 'Place on Fold' line of the pattern piece, and tape in place (it doesn't matter where on the extra paper you place your pattern, as long as you have at least the desired amount of length extra, plus a little bit)

5. From the bottom of the taped pattern piece, measure out and mark the extra length you're after, I'm adding 5cm in this example. Draw this line in.

6. Line up your bottom pattern piece with the line you just drew in and the 'Fold Line' of your pattern piece, tape in place.

7. True up any sections of the pattern that need it (for Bronte, you'll need to re-draw in a small section of the waist at the side). You can either use a ruler or free hand this.

8. Trim any excess scrap paper away. Repeat for the back bodice if you are lengthening the front bodice.

If you are wanting to adjust the length of your sleeve, you can do this in exactly the same way, however you'll want to draw in your grainline on your extra bit of paper (instead of the 'fold line') to ensure you are keeping your pattern pieces straight.

Alternatively, if you want to shorten your bodice or sleeves, instead of pulling your pattern apart by the desired amount, you just need to overlap them by that amount, tape them in place and true up any pattern sections that need it.

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