Skip to Content

How to Widen Dress Pattern – Best Way

Sharing is caring!

*This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure to learn more.

Do you have a favorite dress pattern that needs to be adjusted? Whether you are looking to make the silhouette loose or boxy, simply widen a dress pattern prior to cutting and sewing.

Making alterations to the sewing pattern will save your time and avoid dealing with having fit issues later on. If you know the dress pattern is too narrow, just widen the size before cutting out the pattern pieces.

How do you widen a dress pattern? Depending on the style and construction of the dress, you will need to widen a dress pattern equally along the bust, waist, and hip area on both right and left side with even numbers. If you need to widen 1” total, divide them equally ¼” on chest, waist, and hips on both right and left side of the dress pattern. 

When sewing a dress with the help of a sewing pattern, it is easily followed without paying attention to a size chart that could result in the wrong size or too small of a garment that cannot be worn. To avoid this problem, always identify the proper size and measurement before starting to sew any diy clothing. 

However, it is possible to adjust your dress pattern to make it wide enough to fit your body and look great. Altering the length or widening dress pattern is quite easy and straightforward. 

In this article, we will go over the best way to widen a dress sewing pattern. Answered below are frequently asked questions about widening a dress pattern, along with tips to avoid any fit issue when modifying sewing patterns.

How Do You Enlarge a Dress Pattern That Is Too Small

All Fashion Wanderer dress sewing patterns come in sizes ranging from US 2 to 12 and UK 6 to 16. However, sometimes there are body types that require in-between sizes. 

If you need to enlarge a dress pattern that is too small, but not quite to the next size, then use these method to adjust your sewing pattern for increased width. 

In general, it’s best to not go more than two sizes up or down, to avoid disrupting the pattern balance. Enlarge the pattern of the dress using the slashing and spreading method.

Create vertical and horizontal lines on the pattern on places where you want to adjust, to make a new pattern piece cut along the lines and spread. Using the slash and spread method, and determine the size you need to add. 

For example, the pattern measures 29 inches, but you want 33 inches. The difference is 4 inches, so you need to split the difference. Allocate 2 inches at the back and 2 inches at the front dress pattern. 

Place the patterns pieces down on the fold, break them down again to get 1 inch each side of each piece.

If you make two vertical cuts, add ½ inch between the pattern pieces, then add ⅜ inches for the horizontal lines. Now, redraw the new lines of the pattern and blend the hemline and any other broken seams.

How to Widen Shift Dress Sewing Pattern

Due to not having a distinguished waistline, shift dresses are easily widen on a sewing pattern. If you have issue with tight hips or bust area on your favorite shift dress, follow along to adjust the pattern to nail the dress fit with ease.

Always start with your most current body measurement and select the pattern according to the size chart. Evaluate which area need to be widened according to the measurements on the pattern.

Copy the original sewing pattern of your size onto tracing paper.

Draw a vertical line parallel to the grain line or center front along the bust, waist, or hip area. Cut along the marked line and use the body measurement to spread out the divided amount on each area that needs to be specifically widened.

If you need to widen shift dress overall, then add equal amounts on the chest, waist, and hip areas. Move the pattern pieces equal distance from the center piece and tape to secure. 

Blend in the shoulder, hemline, and neckline if needed with a sewing ruler and pencil to create smooth line.

Check the new measurement of the bust, waist, and hip on the shift dress pattern and evaluate your body measurement to ensure it is correct. To be more secure, cut out on a piece of muslin to make a mockup dress to try on.

How to Increase Waist Size On Dress Pattern

Fit-and-flare silhouette like Ines dress or Fiore dress feature sewing patterns with a waist seam. To increase the waist size on dress patterns, there are additional steps to adjust the fit properly.

Choose your dress size based on bust, waist, and hip measurements. If the standard size has a smaller waist than yours, then you need to adjust the waistline on the pattern for a perfect fit.

Here are steps to increase waist size on dress pattern:

  • Prepare paper pattern pieces that equal your bust measurements. Then, using a sizing table, find the value of the waist measurements.
  • The waistline might not be visible on the pattern, so draw it by aligning the pattern pieces. Then, on a straight surface, arrange the bottoms of every pattern part in a straight line.
  • Make sure the bottom and side seams are curved or straight to maintain a gap between the two pieces. Also, need to align the side piece to the front top part. Using adhesive tape, fix the details to the table.
  • There are notches, one at the center back and the center front. Use a line to join both notches from the back to the front, therefore the waistline is aligned to that line. 
  • Depending on how much you need to increase the waist to fit your required size.
  • After increasing the waistline on both front and back pattern, use curve ruler or straight ruler to adjust the addition and translate to the skirt part. 

Tips to Widen a Dress Pattern

Widening a dress can only be done from a sewing pattern instead on the finished garment, unless you add fabrics to create contrast design. Whether you need to widen the bust, waist, or hip area of a dress, have accurate body measurements to correctly adjust the sewing pattern for perfect fit. 

If you are still struggling to widen a dress pattern, here are essential tips for you to use to widen your favorite dress pattern: 

  • Take actual measurements from the initial stage to save you a lot of time.
  • Make proper use of darts at the back or waistline to help you get the right fit.
  • Select the correct fabric to make the perfect fit for your dress.
  • Use seam method alteration by adjusting the seam lines is an excellent technique for starters.
  • Create basic slopers based on your size to reference if needed.

Best Way to Widen a Dress Pattern

Most dressmaking sewing patterns consist of different sizes. These sizes are flexible and easily adjusted to acquire a dress that will be perfect for your figure.

If you have darts on your dress pattern, fold and close them, then pin them into place. Draw a line from the end of a chosen bust size line to the end of your chosen waistline using a highlighter or colored pen.

Repeat the process to connect the hip size line to your preferred waistline measurement.

If the dress has straight line pattern, draw a straight line to connect it. But if the dress has a curved line, draw a line following the shape of the design to join the added new width of the dress. 

Consider buying a curved ruler known as the French curve to assist you in drawing the curve smoothly and connect the lines easily. 

Avoid free styling the curved line. It may result in unnatural seam lines that can create bulkiness on the garment. 

After drawing the new lines, unpin the darts to allow the pattern to lay flat. Don’t forget to remark the notches or any pattern markings you might have cut off from previous steps.

When widening the dress pattern, always check the final measurement or make a mock-up dress to see the drape and fit of the new dress. If the width of chest, waist, or hip is still a bit tight, add divided allowance on front and back, then repeat the process to get the best result.

How to widen dress pattern

Widening Dress Sewing Pattern: Conclusion

Sewing patterns are a useful roadmap to dressmaking, especially widening chest, waist, and hip of a dress is quite easy to do to adjust the fit. Without a sewing pattern, enlarging in-between sizes or modifying specific areas is not possible on the actual finished garment. 

In order to widen dress pattern, whether it is shift or fit and flare dress silhouette, start by having up-to-date body measurements to compare with size chart of the sewing pattern. Choose the most equivalent size and transfer the pattern on another tracing paper. 

Depending on how much you need to increase, divide the amount into 4, and evenly distribute along the vertical line that is created parallel to the grain line. After spacing out the gaps with the measurement, blend in the hemline, shoulder seam, and neckline to completely widen the dress sewing pattern. 

Check the final measurement to make sure it matches with your body measurement before cutting the actual fabric. If needed, sew a mock-up dress to try them on to get perfect fit. 

Altering the width of a dress sewing pattern is not very challenging. Taking the few extra steps will allow you to achieve a comfortable fit and save time down the road if the dress is experiencing fit issues.

Sharing is caring!