Here's a quick and easy method for shortening a pattern. I use this same method when shortening sleeves or pants as well.
It is simple and only involves a little bit of math. For this tutorial, I am using a Terra's Treasures pattern, but you can follow these steps to make this adjustment to any pattern.
Each pattern piece should have a line that says shorten or lengthen here, or something similar. Since I needed to remove 3 inches from the pattern piece, I divided 3 inches in half and got 1.5 inches. I placed my tape measure with the 1.5 inch mark directly on the shorten line. You will notice that my tape measure extends above the shorten line 1.5 inches and below the shorten line 1.5 inches. If you needed to remove 4 inches from the pattern, you would divide 4 by 2 and line up your tape measure at the 2 inch mark on the shorten line.
Now make a mark at the top of your tape measure and at the 3 inch mark. If you were removing a different amount from your pattern piece, you would place your marks at the appropriate mark for how many inches you are removing. Make these same marks in a couple of places across the shorten or lengthen line.
Here is my piece with the marks, but before I folded out the excess amount of the pattern piece. You will want to mark each pattern piece in the same way. My pattern piece had 4 bodice pieces--a front, back, and the front and back sides, so I had to make the same adjustment to each of those pieces.
Use some strips of tape to keep your folds in place. I like to tape on the front and the back of the pattern piece so that it doesn't interfere with cutting out my fabric. You will also want to remember to transfer any pattern markings or notches.
The last thing left to do is to even out the edges of your pattern piece. When you folded out the excess, it probably left some ragged edges that won't look very attractive. I just used a pen to re-draw the curve of the new line. Use scissors to trim the edges to match your new line. Don't forget to adjust all of your pattern pieces before cutting out your fabric.
So how did it go? I'd love to hear any tips and tricks you have for lengthening or shortening a pattern!
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