Thursday, September 17, 2009

My patterns are too long

After you sew with Lutterloh for a while you get the idea of how your body differs from the patterns. Make notes to remind you, a recipe card is great, but if you write it on the pattern and then put it away you won't remember everything for next time.

Every pattern is too long for me. This can be too short for someone else, the patterns do not know the ups and downs of your body. Here is how I adjusted my sleep ware pattern.

1) On a Lutterloh sales video it said to take the hole you make in the pattern and use that as your length adjustment spot. Some times that works as in the sleeve below. This time it was close enough that it might have changed the front line angle so I moved 4 inches below the hole.

2) On the pattern I measure my length measurement. I had a body scan years ago and so I go to the waist to neck edge measurement which is 19". Please note that for the Pj I use the dotted line, the hem bottom is the length for a robe.

3) This is only the length to my waist, I do a quick check of my old Pj's and see that I like my tops about 5" below my waist. This is the location I put my line.

Some important things to consider: if when you measured your shoulder to waist you pulled that tape too tight you will leave your top too short. If you are large busted you need MORE length. You can take that tape measure and wind it up and over your bust to make sure there is plenty of length.

4) Make a line all the way across the pattern and cut it out

5) At this point you can make it longer by adding paper.Pull the bottom the needed distance from the top piece and tape in place or like me you may need this shorter. In this case I lay the bottom piece over the top and tape it so that the dotted hem matches the top cut edge. I left the longer robe length on as it made it easier to line up the dotted hem with the cut edge but it could just as easily been cut off at the beginning.

6) Now my top is the correct length but I must true up the side seam before I can consider it done.

To true something is to make it harmonious as one piece. You may get a larger difference from the two pieces being added than I did but the correction is the same. At the under arm make a line that goes smoothly to the hem. If this is a curved side seam you must curve the new one also. Mine is not.

7) Redraw in the pocket and the pattern is ready to cut out of fashion fabric.

Check your whole pattern for length issues.

I also found that the sleeve that should go just below my elbow was really going to hit my wrist.

I checked to see that the shoulder will drop 2" off my shoulder and then I measured the sleeve to see how much extra there would be.

My shoulder to elbow measurement was 14 1/2 inches. So I removed any that was beyond that.

This time the pin hole was a perfect place to make my cutting line.

I followed the same steps as above and before long I had a corrected sleeve pattern.

Here is the sleeve if you wish to click on it and print it. You can take out any amount just to go through the steps to Remove or Add some if you'd like!


  1. I did read in one of my sewing books that on patterns with no markings for length adjustments that the lines should be drawn where the sides of the pattern piece are most parallel to each other. A picture really is worth a thousand words. Thanks Fonnell!

  2. Hi Ladies, I wonder if you could help me. I am working on NN2 blouse from 1992 demo leaflet. I have made a short waist adjustment, which is great, however I also need to take off 10 -12 cms from the length. Do I take it from the bottom or do I make a new line under the waist adjustment and do it that way? Hope this makes sense. Thanks Dawn.

  3. Dawn, without a picture of this blouse I will give you general guidelines. If the top has any kind of flare at the bottom don't shorten at the bottom. you really will see it in the paper fitting. If the flare is too much you might find shortening at the bottom will help. Making a new line is fine only be sure you are careful about not doing it at your widest part of your hip. Remember to redo placement of pockets, buttons, and anything that would have changed with all the shortening. Great success to you!

    1. Thank you Fonnell, that was a fast response. Glad I checked, I was so temper to take it from the bottom.

  4. Hello Dawn, I concur with Fonnell but will add my two cents. Typically lengthen and shorten points are made where the edges of the pattern are the most parallel to each other. If you do make a new shorten line just be sure that it runs perpendicular to the grainline so this is not thrown off. Good for you for working through the pattern on your road to fitting!

  5. Thank you Ann, I want to gain as much information as possible, so I get it right. Will try and do the changes later. I am only 5 foot and a little. If I left it as it was it would be a dress on me lol.