How to adjust a pattern to fit your height

How to adjust a pattern to fit your height

Vikisews releases sewing patterns in four height groups. This feature is very convenient as one size can fit different heights differently. For example, two girls that wear size 38 and are 158 cm (5’2”) and 174 cm (5’8”) tall will need the waistline and bust darts on different levels and different sleeve and garment lengths. Having an opportunity to choose height as well as size is great as it saves you a lot of time and effort when achieving a good fit. However, if you purchased a pattern that doesn’t fit your height, you still can easily adjust it.

In this article, we’re going to look into ways of adjusting the top (blouses, dresses, coats) and bottom (skirts, trousers, shorts) garments.

Why make a pattern fit your height?

For instance, if your height is 158 cm (5’2”), chances are the waistline of the dress will be too low, almost at the hip level. And if you’re 178 cm (5’8”) tall, the waistline can jump up towards armpits.

If a garment is designed for a bigger height, it might form a bubble at the back or sag at the front. The garment won’t look like it was designed. The sleeves will be too long, and there will be folds at the sleeve cap.

If you’re too tall for a garment, the sleeves will be too short, the armscye will be too tight, the bust darts will be too high, etc.

So what can you do?

To adjust the garment, mark the following slash lines:

  • at the hip level – first line
  • at the waist level – second line
  • at the shoulder blades – third line

To find a place where to mark the third line, measure 15–16 cm (5 7/8–6 1/8”) down from the highest shoulder point near the base of the neck and mark a horizontal line through this point. This line should be parallel to the waistline, mark it on both the front and back pieces.

At the same distance from the highest sleeve cap point (15–16 cm [5 7/8–6 1/8”]), mark a horizontal line on the sleeve pieces. Then mark another line at the elbow level. To do this, divide the sleeve length by 2 and add 3 cm (1 1/8”). Usually, the result is 32–33 cm (12 5/8–13”).

One more line needed for adjustment is the hemline (on trousers). The hemline needs to be moved downwards by the needed amount.

For your convenience, we made a chart with approximate adjustment amounts needed for height alterations. Find the amount closest to what you need and make all the necessary alterations. They need to be made for all the pieces of the top or bottom garment: front, back, side, front facing, top sleeve, bottom sleeve, front trouser leg, back trouser leg, etc.

Adjustment amount for height alterations, in centimeters

Adjustment amount for height alterations, in inches

If you see a plus before the number in the chart, you will need to cut the pattern along the needed line and glue paper to the cut edge. Next, measure the amount given in the chart from the cut edge, draw a parallel line through this point, and glue the other cut piece along the marked line. This will lengthen the piece.

If you see a minus before the number in the chart, divide it by 2 and then measure the resulting amount towards both sides of the line. Draw horizontal lines through the points, cut along these lines, and join the pieces along the cut edges. This will shorten the piece.

If the seam lines break, even them out using a pencil and ruler.

Note that if you make changes to trousers at the hips, the pocket opening might get longer or shorter, too. Therefore, if you increase the length of the piece, measure the amount you will be using for this upwards from the top pocket opening edge. If you’re going to shorten the leg pieces, measure the needed amount downwards from the top pocket opening edge. After that, redraw the side edge.

And please note that Vikisews patterns get drafted for standard body measurements, therefore make the adjustments for your individual measurements and after making a toile with calico.

Height alteration diagrams

Adjustment lines for top garments

Lengthening a top garment

Shortening a top garment

Adjustment lines for bottom garments

Lengthening a bottom garment

Shortening a bottom garment

See other useful articles on pattern adjustments in the Vikisews blog:

Cup size in Vikisews patterns and pattern adjustment for large bust and narrow back

How to adjust a pattern for someone with a bigger waist

Narrow shoulder adjustment