How to adjust any pattern for height

Hi there! I am Manda from the blog Sewing Ambi and I am going to talk a bit about your height versus the height EAM patterns are drafted for.

For this occasion I borrowed my beautiful sister-in-law Leonie. From the moment the Tulip Tunic & Dress released I knew this was a perfect pattern for her. To proof it, I offered to sew one for her.

And look at her, I believe I was right! She looks amazing in this Tulip Dress made off leopard winter knit.

But lets go back on track. Because Leonie is 5 ft 9 and the pattern is drafted for 5 ft 5 (see the yellow highlight in the picture above), this dress would be tunic length if I wouldn't make any adjustment. And that would be a bit to sexy, won't it?

So that's why you see the lengthen/shorten line on your pattern piece. This line indicates the place where you can add or subtract height. For this particular pattern there is a line on the bodice and on the skirt piece to divide the length.

The red line marks this spot on the skirt piece. For my situation I need to add length. As stated on the piece I needed to add 1/2" for every inch above 5 ft 5. Leonie is 4 inches taller, therefore I need to add 4 * 0,5 = 2 inches in total. I want to divide that so I will add 1 inch to the bodice and 1 inch to the skirt. This is the look that we're aiming for:

The next step is to cut the bodice and the skirt piece at the red line. In the gap you can tape a piece of paper with the desired length.

I added some extra length to the skirt piece, because...you know...running after little kids... having long legs...and stuff. Now she is safe when she bends over ;-).


After cutting my fabric, the sewing fun began. For me this is the best part of the process! I followed the pattern instructions, I just gathered a bit more at the sides because of the length that I added.

A tip for the hemming part: these two tools make my sewing so much easier. A special measurement tool (this one is metric) which helps you to see really fast how much fabric you need to fold over. And wonder clips to secure the fabric fast (and without pinching yourself!) before sewing.

And this the result: an amazing Tulip Dress that your can easily dress up and down for any occasion!

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog, I hope you enjoyed it! If you have a question or if you want to share your creation: you are welcome to join & post in the Ellie & Mac Facebook Group.

1 comment

To make pattern for shorter person do you ÷ the amount less than 5.5’ (4’11" in my case or 6") by 2 also? Then subtract that amount (3") from each part of the pattern? Wouldn’t that make an awfully short top?

Cindy October 11, 2019

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