If you’re a fan of the sewing bee like I am, you’ll know that Patrick likes to point out a hungry bum! Such as the one in the image above. If you don’t know what it is, it’s when the trousers are too short between the hips and waist so the crotch seam disappears up the bottom. NOT a good look. Before starting to make a garment you need to get the length sorted first.
Changing the length on dresses, blouses, etc is quite simple but trousers are a bit more complex. When I make bespoke trousers, I tend to make a toile (mock up) first as every woman’s thighs, bum, tummy are so different. When I make for myself I don’t as I’m a bit more average and confident to proceed but I do have to adjust the crotch length.
In my last post I was using this jumpsuit as a reference, so I’m going to continue with it for this post.
Lengthening/Shortening the torso
To lengthen or shorten your pattern, you first need to measure from your nape to your waist. Mine is 17 inches, thats one inch longer than the back of the envelope.
This means that I need to lengthen my torso patterns by 1 inch. If your measurement is shorter, this means you need to shorten the pattern by whatever the difference is.
A lot of patterns will have a lengthen/shorten line which makes things easier but if they don’t (like my pattern here), then you need to choose a place on the pattern that doesn’t interfere with other details such as darts, pleats, armholes, etc. I’ve chosen to go just above the waist and at the base of the front neckline slope. If I do it in the slope of front neckline, it will lower my neckline and I’m not a fan of showing off my cleavage. So this will actually raise the neckline slightly which I like.
I’ve drawn a horizontal line and cut along it. Then inserted a piece of paper 1 inch apart between the two pieces. Use a ruler to check that grainlines or centre fronts/backs are aligned. Do the same on all torso pieces.
You’ll notice on my back piece that the neckline slope is lower, so I’ve used the ruler to extend the slope and then squared up from the base of the slope. Alternatively, I could’ve changed the angle by ruling a line from base of slope to the top (which means shaving off a little of pattern) but I don’t want the back to be too open, I want to be able to wear a bra without it showing. You have to use a bit of your sewing intuition.
Finally check that the seams still match once you’ve done all your adjustments. You’ll notice it doesn’t matter if you extend in different places across the garment, as long as notches, seams, etc line up.
While I’m editing patterns, I’ve decided to lift the front neckline more. As I said earlier, I don’t like my cleavage on show. I’m hoping that by lifting the front slightly it should still make a nice cross over and not make creases under the breasts. It might be unnecessary but I want to make sure I have the contingency and once I fit the garment, I may lower it back down.
I will have to change the neckline on the facing too.
Lengthening the crotch
Now lets tackle the crotch. First we need a waist to waist (girth) measurement under the crotch. The best thing to do to be accurate is wear something that sits on the waist or tie a piece of ribbon around your waist. Now measure from back to front, make sure its not pulled too loose or too tight but where you want the crotch of your trousers/shorts to sit. I’m 28 inches.
But there is no measurement to compare this to on the pattern envelope. So I need to measure the pattern itself. My pattern conveniently has the waistline marked on it. If your pattern doesn’t, just double check where your trousers should finish. Some say things like 1″ below waist.
You need to remove the seam allowance from your measurements before you start. This pattern has 1.5cm seam allowance included so you can see from my middle picture that I’ve drawn a red line 1.5cm from the inside leg and 1.5cm in from the cut edge on crotch. Now I can measure the red line to find out the finished crotch measurement. The pattern is 27 3/8″. Thats 5/8″ too short, one hungry bum indeed!
When you’re extending the crotch, it’s two extensions (One for front and one for back) in this one measurement we’ve taken. Whatever the difference is between between the pattern and your measurement, you need to divide this by 2. I need to add 5/8″ overall, so I need to add 5/16″ to both my front and back. I’ve just rounded this up to 1/2″ for both to keep it simple and so that its not too snug.
As before make the extension somewhere which doesn’t interfere with any other details. In this case I’ve done it below the pocket. I’ve ruled a line, cut and added paper to extend as before. Job done.
Once I get going with the garment construction and fit it, I’ll find out if I added too much and need to take a little off the top of the trousers but at least I have plenty to play with.
I mean, if you want to get really into it, this blog written by Malena is really in depth. Worth a read.
Hopefully you’ve found this useful. I’ll show more of my garment once I get going on it.
Thanks for reading.