Threads Logo Threads Logo Facebook Email Pinterest Twitter Instagram Favorite Navigation Search Icon Main Search Icon Close Icon Video Play Icon Indicator Arrow Icon Close Icon Hamburger/Search Icon Plus Icon

Sewing Tip: The ABCs of Fitting

Threads magazine - 173 - June/July 2014 Issue
Article Image

Note how shortening the pattern's length changes its major width placements and makes other changes necessary.

This sewing tip was originally featured in Threads #173 (June/July 2014).

When fitting any pattern, remember your ABCs. L comes before W in the alphabet, and when fitting and altering garment patterns. That means always adjust length (L) before making changes to width (W).

By first altering a pattern for correct length placements (bust, waist, and hip levels), you ensure that width changes are made in the correct places. Also, changing a pattern’s length to correct its bust, waist, and hip levels may affect the change needed to the pattern’s widths in these and other areas.

For example, if you shorten the pattern’s bodice length 1 inch, the hip level also moves up 1 inch and may fit your curves better. Perhaps shortening the bodice length 1 inch requires lengthening the pattern below the waist to drop its hip level to match your hip depth.

If you make width changes before length changes, you’ll need to correct the pattern’s width again after adjusting for length.

By Jacque Goldsmith, who lives in Seattle, Washington, and teaches ready-to-wear sewing techniques.

Sign up for the Threads Eletter

Get the latest from Threads delivered straight to your inbox.


Threads Insider

Get instant access to hundreds of videos, tutorials, patterns, and more.

Start Your Free Trial

Already an Insider? Log in

Subscribe to Threads today

Save up to 37% and get a free gift


Log in or create an account to post a comment.

More From Threads

Threads Insider Exclusives

View All
View All


  • Sign up for the Threads Eletter

    Get the latest from Threads delivered straight to your inbox.

  • SewStylish


    Take a look inside the pages of SewStylish Spring 2017.

  • CraftStylish


    Expert craft tutorials, news, and tips for sewing, knitting, crochet, quilting, paper crafts, embroidery, jewelry making, and more!