Learning to lengthen any pants pattern is a basic skill all sewers should know.
We come in all body shapes and sizes, the variations are numerous. For some additional thought, please check out the linked article.
So we need to learn how to fit patterns to our body
It is often said by people who try out patterns “it is not a good pattern” or the pattern is not well done. The question we should be asking is, Why is the pattern not right? Patterns are based on certain measurements and designs, so it is crazy to think that every pattern is going to fit us just perfectly.
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There are two possible reasons that the pattern might not seem right: one, the pattern is not right for your shape and two, you do not have the mannequin standard measurement for the size you are using. I would like to explore this issue further in a separate article because there are a couple of myths I would like to debunk.
For now, let say I am going to concentrate on showing you how to lengthen any pants pattern so you can adapt it to your specific body requirements.
In this demonstration, I'm using the palazzo pants pattern, so please download that pattern because it is the perfect one to practice with. I have drafted this pattern a little shorter so it is a good example to use in this tutorial.
How to know if you need to change the length
Step One: The pattern I am using has a slanted pocket so I will have to pin the back of the pocket to the front of the pants to make the pants appear as one piece.
Step Two: Pin the front and back of the pattern and drape it on your leg. Remember that at this point the pattern has no waistband so place it on top of your hip bone to allow for the waistband. Here is where you have to decide whether the pants are too short or too long for you.
How to lengthen any pants pattern
Adding length to any pants pattern is done in about 20 minutes or less. Place the front and back of the pattern on the table and trace a horizontal line midway through the femur and another horizontal line midway through the tibia. Cut the pattern using the lines you just traced marked in red above.
Place a piece of paper on the table large enough that can accommodate the width of the pattern and double the length you need to alter the pattern by.
Pin the pattern making sure the grainline is straight and extends the pattern according to your needs plus the hem allowance. Let's say you need to add 5″ + hem = 6″ to the pants, divide the amount by two (2) because we're going to cut and extend the pattern in two places –one high up and one lower down on the pattern.
Go ahead and extend each cut by 3″. This technique will not change the shape of the pants. Redraw the grainline to keep the pattern straight.
Retrace the sides of the pants both in the front and sides, shown below in red.
At this point, you can either retrace the whole pattern on a new sheet of paper or leave it like that by securing it with more sticky tape and proceed to cut your fabric.
As you can see, it takes very little time to lengthen any pattern pants and the result is tailored to your needs.