May 22, 2011

Tall or Short

Now that we've cut out our patterns with the correct size and everything, we've one more adjustment to make. We'll you might need to make it and you might not. We need to decide if this pattern needs to be lengthened or shortened. There is one more section on the back of the pattern that I need to direct your attention. It's the "Finished Garment" section located at the bottom of the pattern back and gives the finished garment measurements. This is an important little tidbit of information that really helps us sewers see how much ease is in a garment and how long or short it is too. Colette Patterns was so good as to give us the finished length measurement which tells us how long the skirt should be when its finished. Have a look through these measurements and find the ones that correspond with your size(s).

So, now what you need to determine is exactly how long this skirt is going to be on you and whether or not this length is a good length for you. Get your string, ribbon or elastic tied around your waist again, and grab a trustworthy someone to measure from your natural waist down to the measurement of the finished length right at your center front or center back. For example: I'm a size 8 and the finished length for size 8 is 22". This hits just above the knee for me. I've decided that this will be OK for one of the skirts I'm going to whip up, but for the second skirt, I want it to hit just below the knee.

You get to decide where you want the skirt to hit and how much needs to be chopped off or added on. Let's take a look at how to make this adjustment. Have a look at skirt pieces A & B and towards the bottom of the pattern pieces is a double line with the words lengthen or shorten here. Yup, that's where you'll do the adjustment - up to 2 inches. If you need to lengthen or shorten more than that, do it do the bottom of the skirt pieces.

Cut at the double line. To lengthen add up to 2 inches of tissue in between the cut pieces, making sure to line up the center front/center back perfectly. To shorten, overlap the pieces together up to 2 inches. By adding or subtracting inches from the pattern pieces, you are going to end up throwing the side seam off a bit. So now you need to true up your side seam. Take your ruler and draw a straight line that lines up then hem to about the top 1/3 of your skirt (before it curves up into the waist). Now cut the new line.

If you need to do additional lengthening or shortening, add or subtract it from the bottom of the pattern. To lengthen tape a portion of tissue to the bottom of A & B and extend the straight A-line with a ruler or yardstick. You don't need to tape anything to the bottom of the skirt for additional shortening. Along the bottom add or subtract the additional amount by measuring every few inches and placing a mark/dot. Then play connect the dots and cut.

Make sure you adjust both pattern pieces A & B. Helpful tip: for additional tissue, use the leftover tissue cut from when you cut the pattern out.  Before you go any further make sure that you redraw the grainlines (the double pointed arrows). Now we're ready to cut our muslins! Meet me here tomorrow? Good.

Need to play a little catch up? You can catch all the Ginger Sewalong posts here.




  1. Thanks for much for these posts on picking a size and adjusting a flat pattern! So helpful, and sometimes overlooked.

  2. Linda (crazygrad at pr)May 22, 2011 at 7:18 AM

    Totally random question- has there been a sencha sew along? I'm doing the ginger, but I think I need a sencha or three in the closet. And one for my mother. I think a sew along would help me adjust the neckline. Looks too high for my taste.

  3. I haven't seen one, but I too love that blouse. I still need to purchase the pattern too.

  4. Is it normal to iron the pattern before cutting it out? I've not worked with patterns before and mine seems much too wrinkly to do any accurate cutting.

  5. Totally normal. Iron with a dry iron and then layout on the fabric.

  6. Linda (crazygrad at pr)May 23, 2011 at 10:25 AM

    I have an insane Colette stash, though I have yet to make a Colette pattern. If we're being honest, I have insane stash-- fabrics and patterns.

    So I have the Sencha. I have several fabrics for it, even. Now, if we could just convince you or Patty the Snug Bug to run a sew along...

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