Length Adjustments (including above the Bust) - The Willa Wrap Coat Sew Along

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Lengthening and shortening is a pretty basic pattern adjustment you can use for any pattern. The steps are the same for adjusting the length of sleeves, pants, skirts and bodices. One of my testers for Willa noted wanted to know how to adjust the length above the bust in her feedback, which is why I decided to show you this adjustment on that particular part of the pattern. Though like I said above, the same concept is true for where ever you need length. 

How much should I adjust by? Above the Bust Adjustment

This is where your toile will come in handy. You shouldn't need (and I don't recommend!) dramatic adjusting of this area. You only have a small amount of room to move here (as you don't want to mess with the armscye) but if you need more than 1cm (3/8") of adjustment here, I would recommend going back and reassessing your size choice first.

If you're getting wrinkling above the bust, pinch this out and measure it. This is the amount you will need to remove. 

If it's feeling too tight above the bust (make sure you aren't mistaking this for a too-tight high bust circumference, as it's the length we are adjusting here), measuring from your underarm (high bust) to where your full bust sits and comparing this to your pattern piece will give you the best idea as to how much length you might need.

Only perform this adjustment between the high bust and full bust to prevent any distortion of the armscye. Otherwise your sleeve will not fit into your coat!

How much should I adjust by? Sleeve Length

As I've said throughout this Sew Along, this is where a coat you already have comes in handy! Measure the sleeve and compare it to the Finished Sleeve Measurement for Willa (included in your instructions). OR, measure the outside of your arm (along the elbow) with a gentle bend in it and compare from there.

How much should I adjust by? Coat Length

Don't you think Willa would look amazing as a dramatic, long trench-style coat? Or maybe you want it shorter and sportier? The choice is yours. As it stands, Willa is designed to sit just below your bum to keep it nice and warm on those chilly days...

You will need:

  • Willa Coat pieces that need adjusting (make sure you get both the lining and outer versions of which ever pattern you're adjusting).

  • Measuring tape

  • Tape, scissors and spare paper if making anything longer


Note: I am showing you how to adjust the length of your pattern using the 'Above the Bust' pieces. The Sleeve and lower portion of the coat already include Lengthen/Shorten lines, so you can skip the first two steps below.

1. For adjusting length above the bust, you will need pattern pieces A, B, C, D, F, G, H & I. The steps are the same for each pattern piece, but you will need to do this adjustment to all of them for consistency.

2. Draw Lengthen/shorten lines across your pattern pieces, at a 90degree angle to your grainline. To make sure you don't mess up the armscye, it's important that you draw your lengthen/shorten lines between the high bust and just above the full bust (the dart, in this case).

3. To lengthen, grab some scrap paper and draw a horizontal line on it. Match one of your pattern pieces to this line and tape in place.

4. Measure out the amount of length you're wanting to add onto your scrap paper (where the arrow is indicating below) and draw a second line matching this measurement.

5. Place the bottom section of your pattern on top of your scrap paper, lining up grainlines. Tape in place.

6. True up your outer pattern edges and remove excess paper from behind.

To shorten your pattern piece, do the same as the above except overlap your pattern pieces by the desired amount.

You can purchase your Willa Wrap Coat pattern here!



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