Pattern alterations for tall and petite

Pattern alterations for tall and petite

Everybody comes in different shapes and sizes! This is why retailers offer tall and petite clothing ranges with inseams, sleeve and torso lengths adjusted accordingly. These ranges are all about the lengths, not about the girths, and are meant to preserve the garment proportion on taller or shorter people. In the world of sewing, adjustment lines are providing the solution. Let's see how we can use them.

First, determine what height the pattern is adjusted for. Just like sizes, this might change from one brand to another, so be sure to find the standard for each company.

The tall and petite adjustments do not change the style of the garment. If you want to transform a mini skirt into a knee-length, the way to proceed will be different!

Should you choose to lengthen or shorten the pattern, bare in mind that each body section doesn’t grow by the same amount. For instance, the upper part of the bust will not grow as much as your legs. Whatever measurement you want to add or remove to a pattern, use the measurements listed below as a guide to distribute appropriately, or use these measurements as is.

Upper bust: 6mm (0.25in)
Sleeve head: 6mm (0.25in)
Torso: 12mm (0.5in)
Biceps: 12mm (0.5in)
Pelvis: 12mm (0.5in)
Forearms: 12mm (0.5in)
Thighs: 25mm (1in)
Shins: 25mm (1in)

Before you adjust your pattern, check the finished measurement of the garment. Do you like it? Even if your height corresponds to the pattern company standard, you might want to change the length anyway. Everybody has different taste!

1- Locate the ‘adjustment lines’ on your pattern by checking the pattern symbol list. Then, slit through the pattern along these lines.



2-To lengthen, you’ll need to spread the pieces and fill in the gap with scraps of paper taped below the pattern.


To shorten
, overlap the pieces and tape them together.



3-Put a ruler against the grain line of each piece and check that it’s straight. If not, remove the tapes and rearrange the pieces until the grain line is straight again. Finally, redraw the pattern outline along the affected line. You might need extra pieces of paper to fill in the gaps in armholes or very curved edges. 



  • This is really helpful information!

    Vanessa on

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