Shortening a Pattern

Shortening, or lengthening , a pattern which doesn’t come with ‘shorten here’ lines.

First, obviously, you have to decide where you and the measurements the pattern maker used part company.

This is easy when they helpfully provide a full measurement chart.  DP Studio has a chart which gives you a real chance to compare your individual shape with the standard their pattern maker is using. Not many compnies seem to do this. A crucial bit of information is often missing, Centre Back Nape to Waist.

The Burda magazine I used for my cocoon coat only indicates height, a bit taller than me. I’m doing a rerun of this pattern, making a few changes. I’ve dropped down a size, and want to shorten the bodice a little. I’m happy with the armhole depth, so all the changes are going to be made below that line.

I’ve drawn parallel lines 1 cm apart at right angles to the grain lines at the same level on each piece where it stitches together to form the top part of the garment. (The pattern seams were ‘walked’ against each other to get the position right on each subsequent piece.)

It’s not a big alteration, but added to the height reduction by size I think it’ll be ok.

The balance mark top right is on the lower part of the armhole. I’m retaining the fit of the sleeves.

The plan for this version of the Cocoon Coat is to make it reversible, in two colours of silk duppion, a burnt orange and black. Things are going rather slowly, sewing time being limited by dog nursing. Our Springer leapt over a wall onto some glass, which cut his leg badly, severing a ligament and artery. He doesn’t think he needs to rest anymore, but the vet says give it a month – a recipe for chaos. They are not a breed that understands keeping still.





About jay

I design and draft patterns
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7 Responses to Shortening a Pattern

  1. Oh no! It must be so difficult with dogs where you can’t explain to them what’s going on.

    I’m surprised there is no back waist measurement with the Burda. I could swear they used to have a size chart in the mag which included that because I recall completely failing to understand why adding the right amount to the back and then using the difference based on complete height to decide what to add to the skirt didn’t work well for me with their dresses 🙂


  2. jay says:

    I couldn’t find it in my mag. There’s height, as in total height.


  3. Kim says:

    Poor dog! Good luck trying to keep a Springer quiet 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  4. erniek3 says:

    At 5’2″, I just do some stuff automatically without checking. Then I crack out the tape measure. And if I am very smart, I trace a copy so I don’t totally botch the original.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. mrsmole says:

    I owned Springers too and one of them sat under my apricot tree waiting for ripe fruit to drop and the other sat under the avocado tree waiting for a treat to drop before they both spit out the pits on the patio. One Springer went deaf and used to run down our lane and ran into cars and went flying off into the ditch. The poor frantic driver knocked on my door to apologize for hitting my dog with her Cadillac but I said he does this all the time and it never seems to bother him.As a result of fruit eating both my dogs weighed 70 pounds instead of the normal 35…padding but with such glossy coats! These days we all have to be wizards altering patterns. Thank you for the measuring charts!


    • jay says:

      Funny you should say that. Prior to his accident ours became a dab hand at leaping up to grab plums off the tree. At first we thought he just wanted to play with them, but, no, he ate his way through a dozen or so with no obvious effects. They are a crazy breed, irrepressible.


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