How to Resize a Pattern

By Jennie Chancey

No matter how well designed a pattern may be, it cannot fit each individual perfectly. Each human body has its own quirks, and each person has different fitting needs. You may find that you need to enlarge a pattern beyond the sizes available on the sheet, or you might need to shrink it. Perhaps you would like to reduce a woman’s pattern to fit a little girl. Or maybe you found an out-of-print pattern you’d love to make … but the sizes are too small for you. Anything is possible once you know the basics of resizing patterns! And it isn’t hard at all — it just takes a bit of time and work. I’m here to show you how it is done so that you will never be limited by pre-printed pattern pieces again!
The method for shrinking or enlarging the pattern pieces is similar for each piece. Throughout this section, I will assume you are starting from a size 12 and will show you how to size down one size (to a 10) and up one size (to a 14). From there, you will be able to do all the rest of the sizes!


The Tools of the Trade

Before you begin, I recommend that you have the following tools at hand:

  • Cardboard cutting surface with one-inch grid (available at any fabric store)
  • French curve(s) — plastic curves to help you trace your armholes, necklines and other curves (you can get these from Sew True)
  • Swedish interfacing (available at Birch Street Clothing) or heavy-duty pattern paper (like vellum)
  • Tracing paper (available by the roll from architectural supply stores)
  • Sharpie markers for tracing
  • Pins
  • Scissors

Getting Started: The Bodice

First, let’s start with a bodice front. If you want to enlarge the bodice, first trace the bodice piece onto Swedish interfacing or sturdy tracing paper, so you have a piece you can slash for resizing. To size up to the 14, slash the bodice front like this:


Notice that you are splitting down the center of the underarm, the center of the shoulder and the center of the neckline/bust. You will split the back bodice piece in exactly the same manner. Now, the difference between size 12 and size 14 in the bust area is two inches (12 is 34″; 14 is 36″). You want to add evenly to the front and back bodice pieces, which means adding a total of one inch to each piece. Now half that again, since you are adding to only one half of the bodice, and that means you have a total of 1/2″ to add to the bodice front and back pieces. Here is what the pattern piece will look like when you spread it apart:


In your typical Simplicity pattern, the computer splits up the half inch and adds 1/3 of it at each place where the pattern has been split. I do not recommend this! This method often creates a very bad fit, particularly in the shoulder area. The biggest complaint I hear from women over a size 22 is that shoulders on most modern patterns are way too wide for their size. Just because someone’s bustline is larger does not mean she has linebacker shoulders! So my suggestion is that you size the shoulders up only slightly and only for size 18 or 20 (then just keep that new width for the rest of the big sizes unless you do happen to be particularly broad in the shoulders). Same with sizing down — just make them smaller for sizes 10 and under — and only slightly smaller. I’d recommend that you add nothing to the shoulder split to go from size 12 to size 14 (or 16). Instead, add 1/4″ to the bust split and 1/4″ to the underarm split. For size 18, add 1/8″ to the shoulder split, then 1/8″ to the underarm split and 1/4″ to the bust split. Most women find they need more room in the bust — not in the shoulder area.
To draw the newly sized pattern piece, first roll out your tracing paper (not interfacing) on your grid board. Pin the starter pattern piece (in your starting size) to the tracing paper, using your grid lines to help you keep things straight, like this:


Now trace around it so you have your first piece “set in stone.”


Now split your first pattern piece and spread it as I explained above to go up to your next size:


Here’s a close-up so you can see the 1/4″ spread:


Now trace all the way around the spread piece, omitting the shoulder for now, and you end up with this:


Here’s a close-up of how the shoulder and neckline will look:


Now, most patterns add about an eighth of an inch to a quarter of an inch to the top of the shoulder and the neckline, since you assume that larger sizes need more room in the bustline and will need more length in the bodice front. Even this small amount at the shoulder adds a helpful amount to the overall fit of the bodice. Now, you add to the neckline because you added to the shoulder — if you didn’t add to the neckline, it would be lower, and you don’t want to do that.
So, adding to the shoulder looks like this:


Adding to the neckline looks like this:

Okay, let’s go ahead and size down before we talk about some other issues around the neckline and shoulder area.
Pin your split pattern down again, this time overlapping where you had spread the pattern last time, like this:


Here’s a close-up of that overlap:


Trace around this pattern, then “shrink” the shoulder and neckline, so your final pattern looks like this:


Okay, now you’re probably wondering about that shoulder area. The shoulder “moves” a bit with each size, as you can see. You end up with a jumble of lines running from the neckline to the shoulder as you go. If you’ve looked at my patterns (and practically any other pattern on the market), you know that I have one smooth line running from the neckline to the shoulder for all sizes together. That’s because doing things “by the numbers” (which is what a computer design program is going to do) always turns out patterns like that. What you want to learn to do is to smoothly blend the pattern pieces together so that you don’t have a neckline that is “all over the map.” The first way to learn to do this is to trace each new pattern size individually (not on top of the last one). When you have all the pattern sizes traced out, you can lay them down, one on top of the other (largest on the bottom, smallest on the top) and line up the neckline edges so they meet. Then you trace your master pattern off this conglomeration, and it will look something like this:


After you’ve been working on pattern sizing for a while, you’ll just get an eye for how sizing works, and you will not even need to split patterns any longer. You will be able to trace your master piece, then add to it at the appropriate places (armhole, shoulder, side seam, neckline). Splitting patterns and spreading will be your “training wheels” until you become confident enough to just draw out the new sizes using your measuring tape and french curves!


Special Help for Long- and Short-Waisted Ladies

If you are as short-waisted as I am (15″ from nape to waist), you already know that the waistline of just about every average pattern hits you on the hipline. To correct this, there is usually a “Miss Petite” line across the pattern to show you where you can shorten the bodice (or lengthen it if you’re long-waisted). You can do this on any pattern with or without the “Miss Petite” line. Just pick a spot about two inches above the waistline and draw a horizontal line across the pattern, like this:


If you are short-waisted, you can just fold the pattern down at this spot to match your waistline (plus 5/8″ for a seam allowance). If you are long-waisted, you just slash and spread like you’ve been doing above.

For bodices of unusual shapes, like the one in my 1940s “Swing” Dress pattern, you’ll need to tweak a few lines after folding down the bodice. I’ve illustrated this below:

This image shows the bodice as-is with the lengthen/shorten line across the center in red (you can click any of these images for a larger version):

In the next image, you see the bodice folded down to accommodate a short waist. I’ve circled the “problem” area this creates:

As you can see, the long line of the bodice front no longer matches. To fix this, simply use a straightedge to redraw the line so that it runs smoothly from above the shorten line to the lower point:

As you see, this shaves off that problem line that is sticking out, but you still have the continuous line of the bodice front from top to bottom. For the bodice back, you’ll do the same thing. First, here’s the bodice back with the fold line in red and the arrow pointing down to show that you’ll fold the bodice down the required amount for your nape-to-waist measurement:

The next image shows the bodice shortened, and I’ve again circled the “problem” area:

The size lines no longer match up at the side seam, so you’ll once again grab your ruler and simply smooth them back out:

That’s it! Always start at the top and work your way down to keep the sizing accurate, since the size just below the armohole hasn’t been altered in any way by shortening the bodice. By the time you reach the bottom of the bodice side seam, your new line matches up perfectly.


Further Tips for Making a Child’s Pattern

To shrink an adult pattern down to fit a child, you will slash and spread not only vertically, but horizontally, as shown here:

The armhole of an adult pattern is going to be far too large for a child, so you will need to shrink it by overlapping the pattern at the upper line (you can fold, but I think it is easier to slash and overlap). To determine the correct depth of the armhole, measure the child from the top of the shoulder down to her underarm “seam.” An easier way to do this is to find a garment that fits the child nicely (a tailored shirt or dress with a comfy armhole), then measure that from the shoulder seam down around to the underarm seam. Add 5/8″ to the shoulder and side seam for your seam allowance, and there is your front armscye (armhole) measurement. You can repeat this for the back, then just double-check to make sure the side seams of the bodice front and back match correctly. Use your french curve to redraw the armhole curve (which will look a bit funny after you’ve overlapped the bodice at this point!). The old armhole will be a guide to help you see where the new curve needs to go…only the new curve will be a miniature of the old.
The rest of the adult bodice is going to be too long-waisted for a small child as well, so that’s where you’ll use the other vertical line. Just shorten the bodice as you would for a short-waisted woman, taking up as much as is necessary to place the waistline at the child’s waist (or empire waist, as the case may be), plus 5/8″ for your seam allowance. Ta-da!


Make Muslin Your Best Friend!

Now, obviously, testing pattern pieces in muslin plays a very important role here. You want to test your new pattern pieces and fit them to a properly sized mannequin (or yourself or the person for whom the new pattern was made). You sometimes discover fitting quirks (like shoulders that are too wide for the average) when you do this, and you can adjust the toile to fit. When the toile is to your liking, you take it apart and trace it as your final pattern piece.


The Rest of the Pattern

Okay, I can close up this section with a few quick instructions on sleeves and skirts. Skirts are easiest to size up, particularly if you are just using a basic two-piece skirt (front and back). You don’t need to split the skirt at all, just add the appropriate amount to the side seam, like this:


Obviously, your french curves will be your best friend on hipline curves!

Now, for a gored skirt, you only need to add to the gores that have the side seams (side front and side back, usually) until you get up around size 22. At that point, it is a good idea to distribute the amount you’ll be adding evenly between the side seam gore and the center front gore (so the center front doesn’t look ridiculously small in comparison).

Now, if you are one size in the bust or waist and another in the hips, you’ll need to “grade” between sizes in order to make the skirt (particularly a more fitted skirt) work properly. This is not at all difficult. Here’s an example using my Regency Gown pattern. Let’s suppose you measure at a size 20 in the bust for this empire-waist style, but you measure at 24 in the hips. My original pattern goes up to size 18, but you can use the 18-26 supplement to give you the larger bodice. From there, you just need to draft the skirt, sizing up from the original. First, measure out from the 18 and mark a line for a 20 “waist”:

Now go down to the hip and measure out to the correct amount for a size 24:

Now use a hipline curve tool to connect the 20 waist to the 24 hip, smoothly transitioning between the two, then following the 24 all the way down to the hem:


What about resizing sleeves?

For sleeves, you split the pattern piece in three to spread it, like this:


You will add to the sleeve only the amount that was added to the side seam of the bodice, since only the armhole enlargement affects the sleeve. Measure that amount (say 1/4″) and divide it into thirds. You need the least amount added at the curve and the most at the underarm/sleeve seams. On the smallest sizes (6-12), you really don’t need to add to the curve at all — you can just add 1/8″ at the splits on each underarm curve. For the larger pieces where you’ve added more to the armhole of the bodice, you can add 1/8″ to the curve, then divide the rest of the amount evenly between the splits at the underarm curves. These rules apply to any kind of sleeve — long, short, fitted, puffed. Whatever you added to the bodice armhole must be added to the sleeve. Obviously, you can get away with fudging a puffed sleeve, but that won’t work on a fitted sleeve! And, obviously, if you’re making a child’s sleeve out of an adult sleeve, you’ll need to slash horizontally as well as vertically to shrink the sleeve overall.

That is it! It really isn’t hard at all — just work. I freely admit that this is the part of pattern drafting I like the least. It is just “grunt work.” But once you have your final pattern, the sense of accomplishment is immense! There is nothing like a custom-fitted pattern to take your sewing to new heights of accomplishment!

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250 Comments on How to Resize a Pattern

  1. susan
    September 25, 2012 at 10:12 am (2 years ago)

    Hi there Jennie,

    Wow ! Just discovered your site!
    It’s maaaaarvelous!
    I’m wanting to enlarge a circle skirt pattern … 2 pieces plus waistband.
    Is this best done at the sideseams or can I adjust at the center fold?

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Jennie Chancey
      September 25, 2012 at 11:29 am (2 years ago)

      Hi, Susan! Yes, that is the best way to enlarge a circle skirt. Have fun!

      Reply
      • Catherine
        October 18, 2014 at 7:20 am (2 months ago)

        Sorry, I am a bit thick…WHICH way is the best way? Adjust the circle skirt at the sideseams or at the center fold?

        Reply
        • Jennie Chancey
          October 18, 2014 at 3:45 pm (2 months ago)

          Hi, Catherine! If you’re doing a real full circle skirt, divide the amount you’re adding between the front fold and the side seams to keep the waistline circle perfect. Happy sewing!

  2. Lynn Brooks
    September 29, 2012 at 1:36 pm (2 years ago)

    Hi Jennie,

    I think your website may have just saved my sanity. My father taught me how to alter patterns when I was a lot younger and unfortunately he is no longer with us to ask advise from and I have been trying to remember everything he taught me for over a week now, you’ve just helped me out big style.

    Thank you

    Reply
    • Jennie Chancey
      September 29, 2012 at 3:31 pm (2 years ago)

      Hurrah, Lynn! Thanks for taking the time to leave such a lovely comment. My mother always lamented that her grandmother never passed down her sewing skills (Mom had to teach herself), so she passed everything on to me and encouraged me to do the same. I’m so glad this tutorial was a help to you!

      Reply
  3. Sarah Duprey
    October 12, 2012 at 8:42 am (2 years ago)

    Hi Jenni,

    Thanks a bunch for this tutorial! I have a question about resizing if there are darts on the bodice pattern… would you slash the bodice as normal and go right through the dart at the waistline? Or would you go about it a different way? How about for a side dart? Thanks in advance for any help! :)

    Reply
    • Jennie Chancey
      October 12, 2012 at 10:39 am (2 years ago)

      Hi, Sarah! Yes, you can slash and spread as usual, then reposition the darts. This takes a bit of experimenting in muslin (but it does anyway, since none of us have a perfectly symmetrical bustline!). Side darts can be trickier as they are usually shaped at the side seam, but try ignoring any “protrusion” at the side when you slash and spread (making a straight side seam instead). Then lay your new pattern piece over the dart and trace it into position after measuring for your bust point (shoulder-to-bust measurement). You can then add the protruding bit back onto your final pattern. Hope this helps!

      Reply
      • Sarah Duprey
        October 15, 2012 at 8:58 am (2 years ago)

        Thanks a bunch for the explanation about resizing with darts… it makes complete sense. :) Also, as I have been working on pattern grading, I’ve come across two other problems that I thought you could answer:

        1 – It may seem rather obvious, but can I leave the seam allowances on a pattern when resizing, or will it completely throw off the measurements?

        2 – when I’m reshaping the neckline so it is, as you put it, not “all over the map”, I come across a problem… When I line up the neckline edges, the center front of the smaller pattern consequently moves inward from the center front of the larger pattern. I know that the center front is all one line for every size, so I’m not sure how to trace this so everything lines up, and still retains the proper measurements for each size. Hopefully this isn’t too confusing to you; let me know if you need a photo of the issue for clarification. :)

        Reply
        • Jennie Chancey
          October 18, 2012 at 7:14 am (2 years ago)

          Hi again! Definitely leave the seam allowances there! Way, way too confusing to take them off, resize, then add back in again!

          For #2, I *think* I know what you mean, but could you send a photo to clarify? My general rule of thumb is to keep the center fold line the same and line all the bodice pieces up against it, then trace the neckline and shoulder lines in their respective places. Does that make sense?

      • Sarah Duprey
        October 26, 2012 at 6:20 am (2 years ago)

        I’m sorry it has taken me this long to respond you! I was hoping I’d get to it before we went on our vacation, but I guess that didn’t happen! Anyways, here is the photo as requested.

        https://www.dropbox.com/s/91rj9t0ue1e6w3k/DSC_0002.JPG

        If I understand you correctly, I would trim off the top pattern piece that juts out at the neckline so both the top and the bottom pattern will have one even neckline at the high shoulder point?

        Reply
        • Jennie Chancey
          October 28, 2012 at 12:46 pm (2 years ago)

          Hi, Sarah! Nope, you actually want to keep the different shoulder widths in place. When I have a pattern like this, I draw dotted and/or dashed lines from the high shoulder points to connect with the correct neckline curve so people can clearly see which neckline curve connects with each shoulder size. Hope that makes sense!

      • S
        October 31, 2012 at 7:36 am (2 years ago)

        Thanks for your help, Jenny! I very much appreciate it!

        Reply
  4. Fran
    October 20, 2013 at 7:04 am (1 year ago)

    Thank you so much for your very sensible description of resizing or grading patterns. You have explained it in such a down to earth and sensible manner, that it actually makes sense to me, rather than being some kind of arcane art that only the secretly initiates can every hope to master. Thanks again! Fran

    Reply
    • Jennie Chancey
      October 29, 2013 at 11:28 pm (1 year ago)

      You are most welcome! Happy sewing!

      Reply
  5. Tiferet
    December 22, 2013 at 1:00 am (12 months ago)

    I have one caveat with regards to bodice alterations. It matters WHY the bust measurement is bigger. If someone has a 44″ bust and a 38″ waist, and you’re altering a pattern with a 40″ bust and a 38″ waist, you really don’t want to distribute the extra bust width equally among all the pattern pieces, because chances are that this person wears a DDD/F bra or bigger, and she’s going to need more extra room in front, whereas her back may not need much extra. I am into Japanese street fashion and I see this all the time–people making dresses for large-busted women who add the extra width all the way round or add more shirring to the back when the bulk of the extra room needs to be up front, and it isn’t an attractive look on anyone. The extra back shirring is particularly awful because the dress is pulled tight across the backside, the bust is flattened and the side seams and sleeves of the dress are 2-4″ to the front of where they belong.

    Reply
  6. Lisa
    January 18, 2014 at 1:19 pm (11 months ago)

    Hi Jennie! I’m quite new to sewing and I have a lingerie/nightwear pattern for a babydoll playsuit in a UK 14. I am hoping to be able to resize this to a UK 10 to fit myself, with a view to resizing it to virtually anything for other people.. in order to make this pattern smaller, do I just need to work out the difference in measurements between a 14 and a 10, and follow your instructions in reverse? (i.e. split and shrink, instead of split and spread!)

    Reply
    • Jennie Chancey
      January 18, 2014 at 3:14 pm (11 months ago)

      Exactly, Lisa! Works in reverse like a charm. Just remember to test in muslin prior to cutting into fashion fabric. Happy Sewing!

      Reply
  7. Laraine
    January 31, 2014 at 4:06 pm (11 months ago)

    Hi Jessie
    Thank you for your instructions. I have decided to start making my own clothes again after about 20 years. My basic patterns are all to small and I am most definitely going to give this a try. My hips are much the same, its just the bust and waist that has expanded. I have been pondering for months as to how I am going to make the changes without drafting from scratch. THANK YOU, THANK YOU.

    Reply
    • Jennie Chancey
      February 5, 2014 at 10:49 am (11 months ago)

      You’re most welcome. Happy sewing!

      Reply
  8. Lexi
    February 12, 2014 at 7:38 am (10 months ago)

    Thanks Jennie for all of this information! I have a question regarding high-waisted clothing. The pattern I’m trying to resize is currently 28″ waist and 37″ hips. I need it to be 26″ waist and 36″ hips. Do I rezise the parts separately as the difference is different, then join the parts using my own lines (if that makes sense?)? Thanks =)

    Reply
    • Jennie Chancey
      February 13, 2014 at 1:19 pm (10 months ago)

      Hi, Lexi! High-waisted dresses are so forgiving in the hips that you should just be able to size down the waist and not worry about the slight difference in the hips. If you find the hips are a bit too roomy, you can always take that area in slightly on the machine when you’re sewing. Hope this helps!

      Reply
  9. Rosemary
    February 28, 2014 at 2:16 pm (10 months ago)

    Hi Jennie. Thank you so much for your instructions on resizing patterns. You made them really simple and easy to understand. I purchased a pattern that is a multiple size pattern with the largest size being US size 18. I need it to be a US size 22. My first question is 1). Do I add all the measurements at one time or do I size it up four times since I want to go up four sizes. 2). As for collars, how would I resize the collar to the pattern. I know it’s a simple answer but it is not coming to me right now. Thanks for any help you can give.

    Reply
    • Jennie Chancey
      February 28, 2014 at 2:49 pm (10 months ago)

      Hi, Rosemary! You can add all the needed room the first time, since you’d just be slashing and spreading the same areas each time. Don’t forget to make a toile for fitting (out of muslin or another toss-away fabric), as you’ll doubtless need to make a few adjustments to the new pattern pieces, particularly at the shoulders and neckline. What shape is the collar? For a Peter Pan collar, you’ll need to line it up with the neckline and make slashes in the places that line up with the bodice slashes. For a notched collar, it’s similar, but without the curve to line up with the neckline, it’s a bit trickier. Let me know if you need more help!

      Reply
      • Rosemary
        March 1, 2014 at 5:34 pm (10 months ago)

        The top has a stand up collar so I can follow the same rules for a Peter Pan collar. Thank you so much!

        Reply
  10. Laurraine
    March 7, 2014 at 9:06 am (10 months ago)

    Thank you so much for this VERY helpful tutorial! It’s exactly what I was looking for. I’m trying to resize a Girl’s dress pattern that only comes in 6T to size 12 or 14 girls. Do you have any tips? Thanks so much!

    Reply
    • Jennie Chancey
      March 7, 2014 at 1:10 pm (10 months ago)

      Hi, Laurraine! You don’t mention what size you are trying to reach with the final pattern. Another child’s size…or are you going for an adult version? If the latter, you’ll have more of a challenge, since you’ll need to add room in the bust. But these steps will still work; it will just take a bit more tweaking for a womanly shape, so stock up on muslin! ;-)

      Reply
      • Laurraine
        March 12, 2014 at 8:40 pm (9 months ago)

        The pattern is a 6T and I’m trying to make it fit a girl 12 or 14. She is 9 yrs old, slim and tall but mostly wears 12-14 at the moment…no bust yet!

        Reply
        • Jennie Chancey
          March 12, 2014 at 10:34 pm (9 months ago)

          No worries, then! Follow instructions as given, and there you go! :-)

  11. Ana Abril
    May 18, 2014 at 10:44 pm (7 months ago)

    Thank you so much for this information! I never knew how to do it right.

    Reply
  12. Janaki
    August 4, 2014 at 11:43 am (5 months ago)

    Hello Jenni,
    I am very new to sewing, despite my age (62) so I’m trying to learn stuff on my own. This tutorial is so awesome and I can’t believe how much patience you must have in you to explain in such a concise, crisp yet detailed manner. This would be something new for me to try out…in India we don’t really get published patterns – you need to buy a Burda or foreign magazine if you want one. A very BIG thank you!

    Reply
    • Jennie Chancey
      August 4, 2014 at 9:12 pm (5 months ago)

      I am so glad this was helpful to you! Happy sewing!

      Reply
  13. Ashton
    August 14, 2014 at 8:54 am (4 months ago)

    Hi Jennie!

    Wow, this post is 4 years old and I see that I’m not the only one still asking questions, how helpful!!!

    I am a novice sewer looking for some help on resizing just certain areas of a pattern – I am looking to sew a costume for a Disney Halloween party and I would really like to go as Merida from Brave. Unfortunately there are no patterns for the exact dress in adult sizes. There are very close patterns, but none I have seen have the same sleeves and I hesitate to modify anything too much – consider my lack of expertise, it could be a total train wreck! However, I did find a Disney licensed pattern for “older girls” that I think I can tackle, and luckily, I happen to be just small enough to have almost the exact measurements of the largest size. The only problem areas are the chest (I am 2″ larger) and the length (I am 1″ taller).

    Firstly, the “chest measurement” says 32″, the “finished garment measurement” for the chest is 35 1/2″, and my chest measurement is 34 1/2 – with my measurement coming under the finished measurement, will I actually be okay without adding to the chest? This seems very basic, but again, I am very inexperienced so I figured it’s better ask, just in case!

    If this will not suffice, is it proper to just add 2″ of fabric to the chest area (distributed evenly to the front and back)?

    And as far as the length is concerned, will it be okay to just add 1″ to the length of the skirt fabric?

    This seems to make logical sense to me but because of my lack of experience with how pattern alterations translate to an actual garment, I hesitate to “just go for it.” So here I am, looking for advice :)

    If it helps, here is the pattern:

    http://www.simplicity.com/p-9585-childs-and-girls-disney-brave-costume.aspx#t-1

    I appreciate it so much!

    Reply
    • Jennie Chancey
      August 15, 2014 at 7:41 pm (4 months ago)

      Hi, Ashton! You still need to size up a bit, or the dress is going to be so tight you won’t be able to move. “Ease” is needed to allow for freedom of movement (though not 3.5″!). My recommendation is to grade up the chest area by two inches and add length to the skirt (just as you said). Just be sure to try this out in muslin first so you can adjust for a perfect fit. Happy sewing!

      Reply
  14. Maggie
    August 19, 2014 at 3:12 pm (4 months ago)

    Is it the same technique to go from a size 12 pattern adjusted to a size 28, or would that distort the pattern too much? I’m trying to resize patterns for shirts, pants, skirts, and undergarments. Thank you for your help!

    Reply
    • Jennie Chancey
      August 19, 2014 at 10:51 pm (4 months ago)

      Hi, Maggie! Jumping that many sizes can lead to fitting issues in the bust and waist. My recommendation is to first adjust up to size 20 and test the fit on a mannequin (or willing friend!). Then go from there to the 28. This will allow you to work out any quirks (like shoulders being too wide or waist too baggy) before moving up to the final size. Hope this helps, and happy sewing!

      Reply
      • Maggie
        August 20, 2014 at 12:59 am (4 months ago)

        You mean from a size 12 straight to the size 20? Or several others in between?
        Thanks again!!!

        Reply
        • Jennie Chancey
          August 20, 2014 at 2:17 pm (4 months ago)

          Sorry about the confusion! Yes, you can go from 12 to 20. That’s the beauty of this method — you don’t have to size up one size at a time. But I wouldn’t make the leap from 12 to 28. Better to make a smaller leap first and tweak, then leap again from 20 to 28. :-)

  15. Linda Moulder
    September 14, 2014 at 7:41 pm (3 months ago)

    I am sewing a bridesmaid dress for a woman sized 5x plus. I want to thank you for all your enlargement size advise. This is going to help me very much. I have measured her and now I am going to cut her pattern out after the enlargements. What I have done is make a paper draft pattern and fixed the measurements and now I am going to sew a sample dress. Hopefully, this will work because I have just 2 weeks to do this dress in. But it seems to be a simple dress Simplicity Pattern #1733 so these are the changes 2 inches to the back, 3 inches to the front. Do I have to add 2 and 3 inches to the skirt pattern from the fold line or do I add on the seam side?This pattern is like an empire waist dress. I did add the inches to the front and back skirt because she needs the inches added. She really needed just 4 inches for around, but I added the same amount to the front skirt and back skirt that I added for the front and back top. Anyway, I really am thankful that I found your site to help me fix this dress. You may respond to my email address if you have any information that is vital and can help me do this dress.

    Reply
    • Jennie Chancey
      September 16, 2014 at 10:38 pm (3 months ago)

      Hi, Linda! You’re on the right track. I’d add to the skirt at the fold, because that preserves your cutting line at the side seam (without having to redraw it). Hope the sewing goes well!

      Reply
  16. Shirley Gillespie
    September 24, 2014 at 8:33 pm (3 months ago)

    Hi I need to resize a man coat pattern from a size 44 to size 50. Any suggestions.

    Reply
    • Jennie Chancey
      September 24, 2014 at 8:45 pm (3 months ago)

      Just follow instructions as given after taking careful measurements. Happy sewing!

      Reply
  17. Emelie
    October 12, 2014 at 9:39 pm (2 months ago)

    How to do without all these tools? I just have a super tiny pattern in a book, ruler, calculator and on. No fancy equipment..

    Reply
    • Jennie Chancey
      October 13, 2014 at 9:14 pm (2 months ago)

      Hi, Emelie! You don’t need the French curves, though they are a huge help in tracing sleeves and other curved pieces. If you are sizing up from a graphed pattern in a book (like Janet Arnold’s patterns), you’ll need one-inch gridded interfacing or paper. Then you carefully draw the lines from the book onto the gridded paper in the appropriate square. It’s a long process, but that’s how it’s done. Hope this helps!

      Reply
  18. brenda
    November 5, 2014 at 6:06 am (2 months ago)

    I’ve read through some & will come back to finish, so far it’s fab. Just what I’ve been looking for, as I don’t know how to size up from standard bought patterns (size 14) to size 18. I’ve never seen anything that tells me how to & just pulling my hair out now. So, I’m so glad I have found your site………………I will be back, thank you so much, the sketches help as well. I’m going to try what I’ve read so far. I am so encouraged to enlarge my Pattern to make for my grandaughter (20yrs). Thank you, wish everyone could explain so simply.

    Reply

3Pingbacks & Trackbacks on How to Resize a Pattern

  1. […] I’m not a 32 inch bust, so I used this tutorial on how to size up patterns. It was incredibly helpful. First I traced the pattern pieces. Then I […]

  2. […] once before and, now that I think about, it didn’t go so well that time, either. I used the tutorial found on Sense & Sensibility Patterns. It’s a good tutorial; it makes sense; it’s […]

  3. […] My quest for answers brought me to a website which has great instructions on how to resize a pattern. […]

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