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As I am slightly plus size, with a large derriere, I find that when I make a skirt/dress it is always shorter at the back than the front, as I make it with the same skirt length front & back.

Do others worry about altering this or do you just live with it? (after all, every off the rack garment I buy does the same thing).

How do I go about getting an even hem length?


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  • 20150117_152733_large

    Nov 14, 2010, 03.11 AMby mlssfshn

    Sounds like you have a fuller butt than the average person. Your skirts need to be longer at center back. Add length there and redraft you hem up to the original hem towards the side seams with a sloping curve.

  • 985f0154fdefdf284531d76b36fbffee7a42548e_large

    Nov 14, 2010, 08.37 AMby katexxxxxx

    You need to add the extra where you need it, at hip level, not at the hem… Slash the pattern from CB rtro side seam at the hip, add the extra, and true up the seam to a nice curve. You will find that skirt patterns with a shaped back seam rather than a straight one will fit you better.

    Where it is important for pattern matching to maintain the hem level, spread the pattern UPWARDS from the slash line, not down. That way the extra is added above the slash, maintaining hem pattern integrity.

    Always test a new pattern as a toile before cutting the good fabric: you may well need to refit back darts to maintain a smooth fit.

    You may also find that your waistline dips in the front: this is quite common in plus sizes. it will exaggerate the problem. If you do, you need to lower the front waistline, not take up the hem. Put on a skirt with a good fixed waistband and have a photo or two taken from the side so you can assess where you need to make alterations.

  • 2_dsc_1140_large

    Nov 26, 2010, 10.33 PMby magdamagda

    front and back – on waist line center front goes down compared to sides, center back goes up (let’s say 1 cm, but see what works for you) … I’m no expert in plus sizes and the 2 ladies who replied know what they are talking abt so consider their opinion first, I’m offering my intuition plus something…

    the fit in the upper part of the skirt can determine how the hem falls also – choose a 2 piece pattern back side and double darts to spread the waist – hips difference uniformly ; back pieces curved on center back line

    find the right formulas for you on a muslin and keep them for further reference to adapt other patterns

    If you’ve already “done it” have someone help you with a long unflexible measuring tape and some chalk by measuring the same distance from the ground all around the skirt

    good luck!

  • Missing

    Nov 14, 2011, 02.40 PMby mickeygirl

    Measure your hips from side seam to seam: front and back and compare. You might have to make your back piece wider if there is a huge difference.

  • Picture_146_large

    Jan 10, 2012, 06.15 PMby squarebob

    if i remember rightly from collage if it rides up at the back there is too much material at the front and if it rides up at the front theres too much at the back anyone else heard of this?

  • Burda_picture_large

    Oct 18, 2012, 05.46 AMby Wendy Ruggles-Wolfe

    I agree with katexxxxxx, and would like to add a few more details.


    Imagine that you are sewing an A-line skirt with horizontal stripes (bear with me on this one). From what you describe, the lines will curve up at the back & not be parallel to the ground.

    The pattern needs to be altered in a way which ensures that at the hip & hem lines – the stripes are parallel to the ground. This is why you alter the pattern above the hip.

    (If you add the extra length at the bottom center-back of the skirt & redraft the hem line to curve up to the side seam… the hem will not line up with the stripes AND they will still curve upwards.)

    Therefore, the solution is to add more height to the center-back & redraft the curve to meet at the original side seam connection point.


    IMPT! When you do this, you have to think about the impact this newly drawn seam line will have on your waistband or skirt facings. The new curve might be longer (or shorter) than the original line!

    (In a perfect world – you can draft it to have the same length. Life is rarely perfect…)

    If you can keep the same length as the original, chances are you will not have to alter the waistband. If the length has changed – you’ll have to alter the waistband as well.


    If the skirt is faced (no waistband) – you will always have to re-draft the back facing pattern piece. You’ve changed the curve of the waist & have to make a facing piece to match.


    You might discover that you need to alter both the center-back & sides of the skirt. That might sound nuts, but it all depends upon where & how your body curves.

    Going back to the A-line skirt with horizontal stripes. Imagine it on your body & stand sideways to a mirror. It might be that the lines start pulling up before the side seams.

    If this is the case then you might want to consider adding height at the side seams as well. Sadly, this means altering both the front & back patterns & fussing over side seam lengths. Plus the waistband/lining pieces.


    While the horizontal stripe A-line skirt might sound like a crazy idea… it is a simplification of the issues one faces when sewing/tailoring a plaid skirt. So not so crazy after all (grin!).

    Yes, a lot of detail. But hopefully helpful. I have a sway back & therefore have a lot of empathy for the changes you are dealing with.

    If you can find it at a library, “Fitting and Pattern Alteration: A Multi-Method Approach” by Leichty is a great reference. (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1563677830/) It has a very clear chapter on how to alter patterns. And it has great detail on how to alter for specific body shapes.

    Good luck!

  • Avatar_large

    Nov 12, 2012, 03.59 AMby tothepointe

    Sometimes the problem can also be not enough width across the back causing the back to hang on the fullest part. So you either need extra fabric across the width or across the length. It all depends really on whether your fullness is evenly spread or concentrated towards the center back. If you don’t have a center back seam then maybe try adding extra width first.

  • Logo4957b_large

    Jan 12, 2013, 05.17 AMby jenss-1

    If it’s not a lot, just fix it in the hem. Get some help and mark an even hem with a hem marker (looks like a standing yardstick). My mom always said to add a little bit of length to the hem in the back anyway, since it tends to get wrinkled or pulled up a little with ordinary movement and sitting.

  • Bored_polar_bear_large

    Nov 16, 2013, 06.05 PMby 20beverly08

    If you cannot find a ‘hem marker stick’, make your own version: put on your finished garment-with no hem-and turn around gently while rubbing the bottom of the dress again a piece of marked thick thread, coated in chalk between both sides of a door frame. I do this all the time—and it works—every time! It creates and uneven hemline on the finished garment—but when I put it on—it looks totally even! There are tutorials online on how to do this.

  • Bored_polar_bear_large

    Nov 16, 2013, 06.07 PMby 20beverly08

    I use the lines made with the chalk to fold up my uneven hem when I do the hand sewn hem line. This version works great if you do not have anyone that can mark your hem for you all the way around while you stand up straight. There is one catch: be aware of your pets taking interest in the thread—my cat gets a chalk line on her every time and I have to gently wipe it off of her!LOL

  • Bored_polar_bear_large

    Nov 16, 2013, 06.09 PMby 20beverly08

    As for cutting out your garment pieces before you sew: just add a few inches to the bottom hem line before your cut—for the front and the back—and use the version of marking your hem that I described above.

  • Missing

    Nov 18, 2013, 10.32 AMby judypeg

    Hi redscootergirl! I recently came across this free resource, which I think will help you with this problem http://www.allbrands.com/images2/common/pdfs/FIT%20MADE%20EASY.pdf – it has certainly given me a lot more confidence in fitting. One thing the authors say that made me so much more comfortable when fitting patterns to my own shape, is that almost nobody is standard size, so everyone needs to alter commercial patterns to get the best fit when making a garment. Up to now my mind set was that if a pattern didn’t fit it was my fault for being the wrong shape!!!!!

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