Altering the Size of a Dress Pattern?

A pattern being used in sewing.
Dress patterns now often come with multiple sizes defined on each pattern piece, but sometimes if using an older one, or trying to adjust a multi-sized one you will need to do some altering to the pattern prior to cutting the fabric. This is a page about altering the size of a dress pattern.

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Bronze Request Medal for All Time! 87 Requests
February 27, 2008

I have a wedding in May to attending, for my sister's son. I am a queen size and can't find anything to wear. Does anyone know of sewing patterns that come in queen sizes? I have just spent 30 mins looking and found a couple sites but not much.

Sandy from Baltimore


Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 213 Posts
February 27, 20080 found this helpful
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Simplicity & most of the major pattern companies have a special section in their books for larger women. It makes perfect sense, as people the world over (especially in America) are getting larger. I'm not a large women (anymore) but I still sometimes buy from this area of the pattern books because I like the patterns & they go down to a size 10. There's a wonderful designer named Khaliah Ali that only designs for larger women (Simplicity) & she has some beautiful patterns!



Here's a wonderful site. These patterns are made especially for women who are larger AND shorter, thus the name: "Petite-Plus Patterns"... You need not be "Petite" to sew from these patterns, as they have places to add or shorten every pattern piece. But what's especially nice about these patterns is they are specially designed to make you look longer & leaner. I read a (chat) interview with the designer of Petite-Plus Patterns on PaternReview.Com & she talked about "Color Choice" being THE most important thing for Petite-Plus women. She said that Petite-Plus women should try to wear ONE color, head to toe.

They can be solids, mixed with patterns or vertical stripes as long as the clothes are ALL the same color! She also said it's important to wear 3 matching pieces of clothing, (all the same color) Example: a tunic vest, a skirt & scarf, or pants with a jacket & a hat. This way a person looking at you will see a longer/leaner you! It made perfect sense to me & even though I'm 5'-5", I still plan to use this advise in my own life!



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May 30, 2019

I am making a McCalls dress and the size I ordered is too small, so I want to cut it out a bit bigger. It looks like each size up is only 1/4 inch. I only have up to 14, but I need a 16. Since McCalls seems to run small, should I add an inch or inch and a half? I have never done this before, so thought I would ask if anyone has?

Many thanks.


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June 2, 20190 found this helpful
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In my personal opinion, this is one of the most difficult alterations to do - and get it right..
Of course, if you just have a simple sleeveless pattern then go for it, but if every piece has to be enlarged then I would advise you to bite the bullet and order another pattern - in the correct size so you will maybe have a nice fitting dress when you finish. Would it be possible to exchange the pattern you have already purchased?


If you have altered patterns/clothes before you may be able to follow the instructions given on YouTube but you should review several before making that first cut.
To do this correctly you will need several 'tools' but these can be found at most craft stores and, usually, instructions on enlarging patterns.
The following video is one of the best that I have seen. Try watching this one and see if you still feel you can enlarge your pattern so you do not have to discard something that does not fit correctly.

This instructor has several very good instructional videos on sewing and several on enlarging each part of a pattern.

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