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Easy Alterations To Dress Patterns

From time to time we try to give you some “how to” information on altering commercial patterns or basic clothing construction techniques.  For those of us who have been sewing for years, some of our information seems like second nature, however we get notes from many of you thanking us for providing the hints and tips.  I, for one, am one of those who have been sewing for many many years, and just roll along like I have my head in the clouds while I’m sewing.  Then, while working on these posts, something almost smacks me with “why haven’t YOU been doing this”?  Well, for someone who thinks all this is “second nature”, it would be nice if my “second nature” would kick in so I could remember to do some of the things I’ve been writing about.

Enough of that!  Today I want to talk to you about altering store bought patterns if you are either long waisted or short waisted.  Sometimes it can get a little confusing exactly what to do about the problem.

If you are long waisted or short waisted the changes to the one piece dress must be made in the length of the top part of the dress.  To do this, draw a line halfway between the bottom of the armhole and the waist (A).  Cut the pattern pieces apart.  To shorten the length, overlap the pieces the correct amount (, or if you’d prefer, you could simply fold the pattern piece at the adjustment line and make the correct change.  To lengthen the top, separate the cut pattern pieces the necessary amount and tape, then draw in the side seam lines (C).

If you find yourself doing quite a few alterations to each of your patterns before you can begin the sewing process, you might want to jump out and try making your own patterns.  By making your own patterns, you’d be using your own measurements, then follow the easy step by step instructions and diagrams to make clothing garments that fit perfectly.  Check out the pattern making classes at Patterns That Fit and Big Beautiful – These classes all contain step by step instructions with diagrams and illustrations to go with each step.

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About The Author

Pattern Maker, Instructor & Author


3 Responses to “Easy Alterations To Dress Patterns”

  1. Jean says:

    Have you had any experience or know of anyone who’s used I would love to learn how to make my own patterns.


  2. Denise says:

    Hello Jean!  Actually is one of Sarah’s sites where she promotes her pattern making classes so I’m not at all impartial when I say that they’re super easy to follow and its a blast to learn to make your own patterns   I’d like to encourage others who’ve tried her classes to write and tell you what they think though too!

  3. Lisa says:

    Funny, there are so many tools and techniques one can learn to master the trade. Pattern making is not easy, but if I had an “EXCELLENT” INSTRUCTOR, who made it easy to master the main elements, such as dart manipulation, it would make a world of difference. Anyone’s thoughts on all computerized patterns?

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