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Standard lengths

sewingsurvivor | Posted in General Discussion on

I have always been afraid of sewing clothes for myself as I felt the things I had tried always looked homemade.  I have received Threads magazine for years now and have used the articles that relate to home accessories.  The many other techniques that you include in your magazines fascinate me and I am now ready to start sewing clothing.  The question I have today is about finished lengths (for skirts – various lengths, pants – regular length & I would like some at ankle length, Capri etc.)  I am 5′ 1″ and approx 155 lbs.  I try on petit clothing in stores and the items are still to long. Having shortened them, I never seem to really get the proper length.  Can you help me ?? Are there some general rules that I can use?

Eager to sew.





  1. GinnaS | | #1

    Try holding fabric up in front of you to see what you like.  You might mark it at your waist and then measure the length from your mark.

    Generally you do not want something to hit at a wide point on your leg or any area that appears to be getting wider.


  2. kayl | | #2

    Remember that as you shorten pants or skirts, you wind up changing the

    proportions of the bottom width of the pants or skirt to your height.

    Pants legs are generally wider, skirts narrower, so things can look

    funny and unbalanced. (Tall folks have the same sorts of problems).

    You can reshape the seams of skirts if you make your own or take in from the knee down on pants (both inseam and outseam, so the grainline stays straight) and help this effect quite a bit.

    You might also poke around on the Threads website... there's a whole

    family of "paper dolls" of different proportions that you can sketch

    clothes over. Might give you some ideas. Search for "croquis".

    1. sewingsurvivor | | #3

      Sorry to be so long in sending a reply.  Have been out of town.... 

      Thanks for you advise I will check out Threads like you suggested.


  3. mem1 | | #4

    I think you probaly need to ascertain where you need to shorten things rather than just taking up hems TRy getting some books on fit I have found Palmer and Pletsch publication books on Pants and the other one on general fit to be VERY good . I have the opposit problem to you and am very tall I think that fit is the key to getting the look that you want! You can get these over the internet via Amazon very easily.

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