If you wanted to change the length of your Portland Shorts, don’t let the curved shape of the hem confuse you! It’s a really straight forward alteration. The trick is just to avoid cutting through the curved area, if you are making your shorts longer, so the shape doesn’t distort and the proportions of the curve stay the same.
But I’m also going to talk you through shortening The Portland Shorts and cutting straight through the hem detail, so the split doesn’t get too high on the thigh!
We have the adjustment lines already marked on The Portland Shorts. It’s a staggered line so you can decide which method works best for you. The same principal can be applied to any pattern where you have a detail you’d like to avoid changing; in this case a curve but it could be a placket or a side split that you want to keep the same length. If you don’t have an adjustment line on your pattern just draw one on, keeping it at a right angle to your grain line.
Learn how to lengthen or shorten a shorts pattern
- Your pattern (or copy of your pattern if you don’t want to alter your original)
Things to be aware of
- If you are doing lots of alterations to your pattern, do any length adjustments first.
- Keep the grainline or “place to fold line” IN A STRAIGHT LINE, do not allow them to stagger.
- The Chain Effect: when altering one pattern piece, also alter the corresponding pattern piece in the same way and remember to check they still fit together after your alteration. In this case, the length of the side seams and in-seams will need to match.
ADD LENGTH TO THE PATTERN
First decide how much longer you would like your shorts. You can measure yourself or an old pair of favourite shorts.
Cut along the adjustment lines marked lengthen (highlighted in the picture) and separate the pattern piece. The line is staggered to avoid cutting through the curve of the hem.
Place a piece of paper behind your pattern and tape the top portion of your pattern to it.
Extend the grain line. Draw a line parallel to the your adjustment line the amount you need to lengthen the pattern by. Tape the lower portion of your pattern to the new line, matching up the grainline.
Join the pattern pieces back together by re-drawing the seam lines so that they are a smooth line. Then cut away any excess pattern paper.
When shortening your pattern if you use the upper section of the adjustment line, the split will move upwards and potentially could sit quite high on your leg and possibly interfere with the pocket. To keep the upper most point of the split in the same place when shortening your shorts, use the lower section of the adjustment line.
First decide the amount you want to shorten your shorts by. You can measure yourself or an old pair of favourite shorts.
Cut along the adjustment lines marked shorten (highlighted in the picture) and separate the pattern pieces.
Place a piece of paper behind your pattern and tape the top portion of your shorts pattern to it.
On the pattern, draw a line parallel to the your adjustment line the amount you need to shorten the pattern by.
Overlap the pattern pieces to shorten, taping the lower portion of the pattern to the new line and matching up the grainlines.
Re-draw the in-seam and the hemline to make sure they are a nice smooth line. Then cut away any excess pattern paper.
REPEAT AND CHECK!
Make sure to do the same alteration to the front and back leg, and double check they are the same length before cutting out!
All done! Off you go and enjoy those shorts!