How to shorten or lengthen a top pattern (jacket, dress and blouse)

For more information on methods A and B, please refer to the article entitled "Basic techniques for shortening or lengthening a pattern. »

In the case of a lengthening of the pattern, it is important to check that the modified model remains wide enough at the hips.


Basic equipment to perform a transformation

To transform a pattern, it is advisable to have :

  • Adhesive tape

  • A parrot rule

  • A square

  • A graduated ruler

  • A support sheet

  • A pair of paper scissors

  • A fine point criterion/pencil


Method A Cut the pattern pieces in 2 and add or subtract the desired value between these 2 parts.

  • Draw a line perpendicular to the straight thread and the front and back middles. Place it anywhere between the hemline and the underarm stitch. However, avoid placing it at the waistline, if the waistline is marked. Also avoid drawing on darts or assembly marks.

Mark this line preferably at the same height on the front and back.

  • Cut on the line, then spread the pieces to lengthen the pattern or stack the pieces to shorten the pattern.

Case of a simple bodice.
Example on the Bloom scalloped top.

Case of a more complex bodice with a cut-out.
Example on the trench coat Tsar.


Method B Modify the bottom of the pieces in the continuity of the existing layout.


  • Transfer the value to be added/subtracted below/above the hemline of the front and back. 

  • Smoothly trace the new hemline from this marker and keep it parallel to the old line.

  • Retrace the sides in line with the existing layout.

Case of a simple bodice that you want to lengthen.
The Bloom scalloped top.


Case of a more complex bodice with a cutout that you want to shorten.
Lhe trench coat Tsar.


Definition of the transformation value


The basic stature used at Maison Fauve is 1.65m.

For a stature of 1m70, it will be necessary to lengthen a blouse of +2 cm and a dress of +3 cm.

Above 1m70, you will have to lengthen a blouse by +3 cm and a dress by +4 cm.

If you are under 1m70, you will have to shorten a blouse by -1 cm and a dress by -2 cm.


Hello Chantal,

The side line should be identical between the front and back, so the lengthening should be the same. If your front seems shorter, it's because your bust absorbs part of the front bust height. I can only recommend that you make a canvas to adjust your bust according to your needs. Have a nice day!

Maison Fauve June 05, 2023

Thank you for your pertinent explanations.
But what about when you want to reduce the height of the back and keep the height of the front?
I'm trying to make a dress from a standard pattern, but the back of the pattern is really 6 cm too long for my body, the front is perfect, I don't need to touch it.
Can you help me?
Thanks in advance

Chantal June 05, 2023

Write a comment

All comments are moderated before they are published.