Facebook Email Pinterest Twitter X Instagram Tiktok Icon YouTube Icon Headphones Icon Favorite Navigation Search Icon Forum Search Icon Main Search Icon Close Icon Video Play Icon Indicator Arrow Icon Close Icon Hamburger/Search Icon Plus Icon Arrow Down Icon Video Guide Icon Article Guide Icon Modal Close Icon Guide Search Icon

Conversational Threads

pattern alteration order

HollandtownGirl | Posted in Fitting on

I have learned so much about pattern alterations, but certain steps come first before others.   No sewing book I have used lists any order (like length before width) . Please list in one, two, three order.  Thank you!


  1. sewchris703 | | #1

    Don't know if there is a correct order to alterations but I always start from the top down when doing bridal/special occasion alterations.  Do the shoulders, sleeves, side seams on the bodice/top; then the waist, side seams on the skirt.  The hem is always last as it will change lenth when the rest of the alterations are done.


  2. SewFit | | #2

    The Threads Fitting DVD Series starts with adjustments to the shoulders and works down. Even though I've been sewing for over forty years, the techniques in this DVD really help me to see the alterations I needed to make for my "shifting" body and gave me a re-newed excitement about sewing for myself. 

    1. sewslow67 | | #4

      Did you buy the whole fitting series and, if so, would you do it again?  I left a message for Amber about doing a short video review of the series so we could see what we are buying, but she never posted an answer to my question.  Since it is rather expensive (for my budget anyway) I wanted a sneak preview before buying it.

      If you have time to give a review, I'd sure appreciate it.  Thanks.

      1. SewFit | | #6

        Hi Sewslow 67,

        In response to your question, I pre-purchased the entire video set.  And YES, I would do it again.  I have sewn since the age of 8 and at one point about 15 years ago did quite a bit of custom and alterations work.   I am back into sewing after being away from it for about 10 years.  As my body has shifted (fuller bust and slightly rounded shoulders and fuller upper arms) my frustration in fitting myself increased.

        The Threads videos include the Torso, Bust, Arms, Waist & Hips.   I found them all to be extremely helpful.  To be able to see the actual adjustments for shoulder and bust and re-wind if I needed to, was a big plus for me. The detail in how to move the bust dart was a real revelation to me and I am so pleased with the finished garment that I made using that adjustment. (I've got boo coos of books, but I like the detailed action  on the video)  By doing a muslin as shown in the videos and then transfering the adjustments to my paper pattern was a big plus.  

        Of course, if someone has fitting problems only in one area, that may be the only video they would want to purchase.  

        I will be working with a group of 10 or so women at my church in the fall teaching  fitting and sewing skills. Of course, they are all shapes and sizes and  and the videos have given me the confidence to plunge ahead with the class knowing that I can share the techiques I've learned from the videos with them.

        With regard to the cost, when you balance out wasted fabric and discarded garments that don't fit, it really is a savings in the long run.

        Hope this was helpful.   If you have additional questions, just ask.

        Happy Sewing,


        Edited 6/26/2008 8:21 pm ET by SewFit

        1. sewslow67 | | #7

          My goodness; you message is very helpful, indeed.  Thank you so very much for taking the time to clearly express how the DVD's have worked for you.  My biggest challenge in fitting is neck and shoulders and flat-sided, narrow hips with no "bum" to bring up the rear ...and very long, thin legs.  I've had a difficult time trying to get the "perfect" pant pattern. 

          Skirts have never been a problem though, but a long, thin neck and bony shoulders with a rather full bust have been a challenge.  I know a lot of gals think that a tall, thin figure should be a snap to fit, but not so.  I think all body types need special attention somewhere ...

          Anyway, it sounds like the series would be helpful to me as well, and I agree with you that time spent fitting most often saves on preserving fabric rather than the cost of wasting it, so thanks again Darlene.  The information you shared has helped a lot, so I think I'll go ahead and order the series.  Happy sewing to you as well, and I think your students at church will be lucky to have you as their instructor.

          1. SewFit | | #8

            Good news!  The Waist and Hips video deals with exactly the problem you mentioned-flat bum and thin legs.  One thing I love about it is that they show you it's okay to alter just the back or just the front to suit your particular body.  Sometimes, I think we get in the "brain set" that we have to use the pattern as designed instead of using adapting it to create our own pattern and fit.  Does that make sense. 

            Kind of like when we take a recipe and take out the walnuts and substitute pecans to suit our own taste

            I guess we always wish we were a different size and shape...you're tall and thin....I'm just 5' , proportioned and wear a 12 pant and 14 top (because of the bust) in RTW.

            I am going to be a grandma for the first time in Nov. and already I'm planning to make cute baby things (as I did for my own two children) and hopefully if it's a girl, I'll have the opportunity to teach her to sew. 

            I'm off from my job on Fridays, so at least part of tomorrow is going to be a "sew day"

            You Have a great weekend. 


            Edited 6/26/2008 9:35 pm ET by SewFit

            Edited 6/26/2008 9:42 pm ET by SewFit

  3. Teaf5 | | #3

    I agree:  shoulders and neckline first, then bodice and waist, then sleeves.  If the shoulders don't fit, nothing else will, either!

  4. sewelegant | | #5

    I used Nancy Zieman's "Fitting Finesse" book when I first started needing to alter patterns.  It uses the pivot and slide method and I know she would have you go in a certain order starting with the top, but the first part was getting the neckline and front width correct then put a pin in one shoulder and pivot the pattern until you reach the needed amt. then slide the pattern over to mark the side seam.  You need to read the book to get it right as I don't remember how it goes exactly, but it works for most people and is pretty easy to understand.  The book must still be in print in some form or other as she is still having tv shows and selling notions, etc.  http://www.nancysnotions.com/NNVia/homepage.jsp

This post is archived.

Threads Insider

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

Start Your Free Trial

Already an Insider? Log in

Conversational Threads

Recent Posts and Replies

  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |

Threads Insider Exclusives

View All
View All


Shop the Store

View All
View More