Learn How SIMPLE
Digital Patterns Really Are!

Sign Up to Receive
The Ultimate Guide to Digital Sewing Patterns eBook + a FREE Skirt Pattern!


As soon as I saw our V Neck Flutter Dress pattern, I knew I wanted to sew it. The full circular skirt was so appealing and I have been looking to make a dress with a circle skirt for a while now since I also seem to make dress with a gathered, pleated or pencil style skirt. When I went to print and assemble this pattern I noticed that is was actually a BurdaStyle tall size pattern, but that didn’t phase me one bit (I am not a tall size)… I simply made a few easy length adjustments and I was ready to go! See how I removed the extra length in my sewing pattern.

pattern image

Here is an image of the dress pattern I altered, our V Neck Flutter Dress. On BurdaStyle.com it is available in sizes 72, 76, 80, 84, & 88. The thing about BurdaStyle.com’s sizing is that all the sizes stay the same in width from petite to tall, it is just the vertical length that is changed to alter how tall or petite a pattern is from the regular size. Knowing this, it is really quite easy to then alter the length of the pattern and in my case remove added length to make the sewing pattern a Regular size instead of a Tall.

First you need to determine your BurdaStyle regular size (from your width measurements), you can refer to our size chart here for guidance. Here are the regular size to tall sizes conversion:

72 – 36
76 – 38
80 – 40
84 – 42
88 – 44

I always make a size 38 in regular BurdaStyle patterns, so for this pattern I used size 76.To determine how much length to remove simply measure the pattern from shoulder to waist, and then compare it to your front waist length measurement and remove the difference. For me I needed to remove 1 1/2" from my pattern.

new step one

First you need to draw your first adjustment line, draw this line perpendicular to the grain line and make sure it is long enough to reach either side of the pattern. I like to draw this line in the middle of the side seam between underarm point and waistline. Draw another line parallel to the first line and only HALF of the width of the length adjustment you need to make, for me I drew a line 3/4" away.

I like to do two separate adjustment lines each half of the total length adjustment amount because it makes the pattern shorter more to scale instead of taking the full 1 1/2" out all in one location.

step two

Crease the bottom line and and fold to meet the top adjustment line. Tap in place and then redraw dart leg lines (if the adjustment lines go through a dart).

step three

For my next adjustment line, I drew it above the bust line approx. mid armhole. I drew the secondary line the same 3/4" away, folded it up and taped in place. Every time you make an adjustment you also need to “true” the seam lines to make them smooth again because they become jagged.

For the back bodice of the dress I did the adjustment line right below the V line at center back so I wouldn’t have to also adjust the facing.


I only made adjustments to my bodice pattern pieces, for the skirt all I adjusted was the hem length which I brought up by about 3". I am very happy with my final dress project, and as you may see I did some other design changes. I sewed on the sleeves to the dress and decided I didn’t like them, so instead I removed them and sewed bias tape along the armhole edge to finish them. I tried on the dress once more and I had a bit of gaping at the armhole so I went with the flow and gathered the front piece in… problem solved and I love the end result!

Have you ever altered the length of a pattern? Maybe in another way?

Happy Sewing!



  • Missing

    Jun 11, 2014, 01.25 PMby hollyechampion

    I have made a toile first, and like you I have found that the chest area is too poufy. I have a smaller bust than you though so it is interesting that you had the same problem. I like your solution to this of gathering the straps together!

  • Viragszalak_large

    May 20, 2014, 10.43 AMby karancsi

    The dress looks very nice, especially the gathers. Since being 179 cm tall, i have to lenghten all patterns all the time. I do that already when copying the pattern to paper, usually by copying the upper half of the e.g. bodice to the point where Meg’s red lines are above, then sliding the pattern piece downwards 1-2 cm (according to the difference between my measurements and the Burda measurements) along the grainline and copy the rest of the pattern piece from there. Then if needed, redraw the lines like Meg did.

  • Missing

    May 19, 2014, 12.55 PMby tigger0580

    Many thanks Meg for your post about amending a pattern for tall or petites. I was struggling in the past to do such modification but now whith your post, I will give it a try.

  • 20140724_185239_large

    May 19, 2014, 10.28 AMby aletoro

    I’ve been wanting to make this dress as well, and now with your instructions I feel more confident. I like how you changed the sleeves too. Nice job!

  • Missing

    May 18, 2014, 08.21 AMby Inkstain1

    Meg, I’ve been feeling pretty cautious about adjusting bodices and found the article useful. But if you reduced the length midway down your armhole, would you have had to reduce any sleeve cap, and if so, how? (Thanks for mentioning that width is not an issue in principle. That was one of my concerns that made me hesitate about fiddling between size categories. I’ve only downsized one tall pattern, a long trench safari jacket where sleeves weren’t an issue.)

  • Purplefan_large

    May 17, 2014, 11.34 PMby purplefan

    Super snazzy fabric for that dress, Meg! Bonus is that the orange sections will add to your visibility at night!

    Yes, I usually lengthen torso and sleeves to accommodate my height. Most times I have used Burda grid tissue paper (with half-inch squares), so it’s easy to make those horizontal adjustment lines as I know how many squares to add to the waist or sleeve where I cut the patterns. I liked seeing how you drew the darts after adjustments are made. I try to true seams-it’s kind of an experiment to see how short or long those lines need to be.

    Since some Burda patterns are sized only for petites, regular, tall or Plus, I won’t hesitate to adjust a pattern to try to make it fit me if I really, really like those patterns. Extra tracing work but for the love of sewing—and the use of the grid paper—I’ll make the effort.

    • This is a question
  1. Sign in to add a post


  • Editors' Pick
  • Pattern Collections
  • BurdaStyle Academy
  • Burda Challenge
  • Backstage Report
  • Fashion & Trends
  • DIY to Try
  • Tips & Techniques
  • Member Highlights
  • Sewing Projects
  • Outta Town
  • Contests & Competitions
  • Archive
  • Guest Columns
  • Videos
  • Meg's Magazine Mash Up
  • As Seen In
  • Podcast
  • Holiday