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How to Shorten Top Pattern – Best Way

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Do you need help to shorten a top sewing pattern? Not all sewing patterns fit you perfectly, especially if you have a shorter torso. 

Off sizing does not mean that you cannot adjust to fit you perfectly. Whether you are lengthening bodice pattern or shortening them, the process is pretty easy to do.

How do you shorten a top pattern? The first step to shortening a top pattern is by measuring your body. Take time to measure and record the exact numbers in the right place. 

After having all the measurements done and recorded, trace the original top pattern onto a separate sheet of tracing paper. Draw a line perpendicular to the grain line where it is halfway at the center of the apex to the edge. 

Create two more control lines on each side of the waistline, and measure the new short length to cut along the horizontal line. Add seam allowance , and sew a mockup top if needed to evaluate the shorter length before cutting and sewing actual fabric. 

All Fashion Wanderer top sewing patterns follow standard commercial torso length, therefore it may or may not fit all body types. Whether for styling purposes or fit issues, shortening a top pattern is quite easy. 

There are two ways to do so by cutting the finished garment or adjusting the sewing pattern.

Without proper technique, your top may end up being too short as it will be taken up by bust if you remove the length at the underarm. Consider taking the distance from the bottom and ensure there is enough room built into the pattern pieces.

If your top has a long sleeve, avoid just shortening it by lopping the excess length off at the hem. If you do this, the sleeve may not fit the cuff perfectly, and you are likely to lose crucial details such as placket position. 

Similarly, if your top pattern has an attractive shape like an A-line dress, cutting off at the bottom can make you lose the body silhouette.

To eliminate this problem, we will discuss the proper ways to shorten a top pattern so that it matches front and back. In addition, answered below are frequently asked questions including tips and the best way to reduce length of a top sewing pattern. 

How Do You Shorten the Length of a Pattern?

Determine the complete length of top in two ways. 

One way is checking and comparing the body measurements with the size chart and decide whether you need to shorten or not. 

Secondly, cut off and hold up your finished garment against your body to determine its length. Consider the hem and seam allowance before cutting the fabrics off.

Commercial pattern pieces usually contain shortened and lengthened dotted lines. These indicators are at the most appropriate spot to trim the pattern without damaging the garment. 

However, if your design might not contain the shorten lines, you can create your own by inputting body measurements onto the top pattern.

Take a pencil and sewing ruler, and draw a line that is perpendicular to the grain line. Ensure that the line isn’t intersecting with any marking or darts. 

To shorten the top pattern, create a line above and parallel to shorten and lengthen the line. The space between the two should be the length you want to cut off from the pattern.

Now crease the shorten and lengthen line, then move the creased line upwards to your new line, tape the pattern in place. Straighten up the seam on the side to make a nice line, and ensure to adjust the length of back pattern piece in the same way.

How Do You Shorten Your Back Bodice?

Getting rid of excess material at the bottom part of your garment will help keep it in the right shape and acquire the desired fit for your body. However, balancing the front and back length of the bodice is importance to keep the proper fit when worn.

Here are steps to shorten the back bodice:

  • Start by closing the waist dart and moving it to the armhole; ensure you use a removable tape because the move is temporary.
  • Draw a horizontal line on the back of the bodice and center of the waistline.
  • Join the side with an armhole, cut along the line from the center.
  • Hinge the two sides up by your preferred length.
  • Move the dart back to the waist from the armhole and mount it on contrasting paper.
  • True up the dart and mark a new grain line.
  • The side seams may appear as if they won’t match up, but since you are altering the pattern in the working stage, your side seams will match up when sewing the bodice.

Tips to Shorten a Top Pattern

It’s hard to define right or wrong length for a top due to it all depending on your actual height and personal preference. 

Wearing the right size clothing gives you confidence. Having the ability to sew and adjust patterns enables you to step out with a flattering personal style that fits you properly every time.

Here are tips to shorten a top pattern:

  • Always shorten lines on the pattern pieces if you want to subtract less than 2 inches.
  • Make another set of shortening lines above and parallel to the original ones, maintaining 2 inches higher than the original one, then split into two to make adjustments.
  • Never get rid of notches while shortening the top pattern.
  • Adjust the length of any pattern pieces involved, such as yoke, and side panels if needed. 
  • Ensure all changes made onto the front piece reflect on to the back part; double-check the size is even.

When shortening a pattern, consider following the general rule of thumb to always cut a half inch for every inch of desired shortening. If you realize that you have heavily altered the length of a top pattern, consider checking if something else has gone out of balance with the body measurement.

Best Way to Shorten a Top Pattern

Shortening a top is a straightforward task. It can be done by modifying the existing sewing pattern or simply cutting the finished garment before hemming.

So if your top is too long, then use this step by step method for the best way to alter a top pattern to fit your preferred size:

  • Draw a horizontal line that is perpendicular to the grain line. The line should be halfway at the center of the apex and edge of the sloper.
  • Make two control lines that are parallel to the grain line on the two sides of the waistline dart.
  • Separate the lower piece from the rest of the pattern by cutting across the horizontal line.
  • To shorten 1 inch, lower the top pattern piece on contrasting paper.
  • Measure the bodice up 1 inch, put a mark, mount the remaining pieces at the dots, and use control lines to straighten them up.
  • Complete the side from the lower part of the underarm to the lower piece you have just mounted.

Also, you may shorten your pattern by folding the pattern piece back on itself to get rid of additional length. Then, stick the pieces together with tape while maintaining the grain line.

Afterward, redraw the side seams that blend into the disconnected lines. Don’t forget to adjust the dart and all pattern pieces, both front and back to create an even look.

Best way to shorten top pattern

Shortening Top Sewing Pattern: Conclusion

Modifying a sewing pattern to fit you perfectly is great habit to follow before starting to cut and sew your new garment. 

When it comes to shortening a top, it is quite simple and straightforward to do. However, some of the complex designed tops require more than cutting off excessive material along the bottom of the garment. 

Shortening a top pattern to a desired length is based on personal style and taste.

Start with measuring the body to the preferred length and translate into the sewing pattern to adjust. Transfer the original pattern onto the tracing paper and modify the length instead of using the original pattern.

Create a straight line perpendicular to the grain line mark and two control lines running parallel on each side. Cut across the marked line and move up or down depending your measurements, then redraw the side seam or lower the underarm position if needed. 

As a beginner, modifying sewing pattern to get the right fit can take time and patience to get it right. However, shortening a top pattern is easily achievable for any sewing level skill. 

Use the tips and methods discussed to shorten your top pattern to fit you perfectly. You will be much happier that you did it from the pattern rather than the completed garment.

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