Paper and digital home sewing patterns for mature figures.

Adding or Removing Length Two-minute Tutorial

Want to lengthen or shorten a pants pattern? Tempted to just add or remove length at the hem? There's a better way!

This two-minute tutorial shows you how to adjust length where you need it, while preserving the overall shape of the pants or other garment. 

A pants sewing pattern showing seven steps to add length.


  • Diane

    Hi Joan! You can shorten the Make a Point Dress either at the hem or along the bodice. It sounds like you want to shorten along the bodice. I can take you through that process. It’s similar to shortening pants.

    Because there are some complex seams in the pocket and back shoulder areas, don’t shorten there. Instead, shorten 1.5 inches both above and below the pocket area, to remove 3 inches altogether.

    Here’s how:
    1. Extend the grainline on the front, back and side panel to run the length of the pattern piece.
    2. Start with the fronts. Draw lines perpendicular to the grainline above and below the pocket, running the width of the pattern piece.
    3. For above the pocket, draw the line about halfway between the match point for the angled princess seam and the top match point for the pocket. This will give you space without interfering with either the pocket or the back shoulder panel seam.
    4. For below the pocket, draw the line 3.5 inches below the bottom match point for the pocket. This will give the pocket bags enough room to hang without peeking under the hem.
    5. Remove the desired length by cutting away or overlapping the paper.
    6. True up the side seams by drawing a line from above the removed section to the hem. You may need to add a bit of paper to the side seam in some places and trim off paper in other places.
    7. Make these same changes in the exact same places on the side panels.
    8. For the back, use the notches with the side panel as a guide. Measure where you removed length from the side panel in relation to the notches. Remove length in the same place on the back. True up the side seams if needed.

    Please let me know how this works for you.

  • Joan

    I have the Make A Point Dress pattern and want to make the blouse. I am only 5’ 1.5" tall. The pattern is for someone 5’ 4" tall and at the length the pattern is drawn it is too long for me. Where do I shorten the blouse to make the pocket fit properly? The tutorial for the pants wasn’t much help. I’ve been sewing for many years and know how to shorten patterns, but this one is a little more complicated.

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