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MN2208 Dawn / MN2211 Ash / Sewalongs

Ash & Dawn Jeans Sewalong: How to lengthen or shorten the inseam

I’m a great believer in making sure that your inseam is the correct length for your body and your height. I honestly hate shopping for ready to wear jeans, and it’s not just because I’m a pear shape – but it’s also because I can never find the right inseam length! Isn’t that just the joy of sewing? Being able to customise the fit to your body and preferences is the most amazing thing ever. Today we’ll go through how to lengthen or shorten the inseam of your jeans!

The Ash and Dawn jeans come with a lot of options, and I’ve tried to include a lot of inseam lengths to make your life a bit easier – but you may still want to adjust the inseam for your height or your personal preferences.

How do you know if you need to adjust the inseam?

It’s important to make sure that you understand all the options and the drafting assumptions we used so that you can decide if you want or need to customise your inseam length further.

For the Ash and Dawn jeans, there are two reasons you may want to alter the inseam length. The first reason is your height! The Ash and Dawn jeans come with a number of inseam lengths including Tall full length, Tall cropped, Regular full length and Regular cropped. The Tall inseam is drafted for a height of 175cm / 5’9″ and the Regular inseam is drafted for a height of 165cm / 5’5″. If you are taller or shorter than these heights (or even if you’re in between!) you may wish to alter the inseam length to get the perfect length for you.

The second reason you may wish to alter the inseam is for your shoe choice! I’m a great believer in tailoring the length of your pants to the shoes you intend to wear with them. This may not be a big deal for say skinny jeans, but for a flare jean, you really need to make sure that the hemline is hitting where you want it. The Ash full-length inseam is drafted for wearing with flat shoes and the cropped inseam is drafted to hit above your ankle. So if you are intending to wear heels with your jeans, you may wish to alter the inseam length.

Both of these reasons require a slightly different pattern alteration method – so I’ll show you both!

Alter inseam length of the Ash and Dawn jeans // Ash jeans sewalong on Megan Nielsen Design Diary

ALTERING INSEAM FOR YOUR HEIGHT

As I mentioned above the Ash & Dawn jeans are drafted for a tall height of 175cm / 5’9″ and we include a cut line for a regular height of 165cm / 5’5″. These cut lines will work for most people, but if you are fabulously tall or beautifully petite you may find the fit of the jeans is compromised by simply shortening or lengthening at the hemline.

How to adjust the inseam length of any pants or jeans pattern to perfectly suit your height // Ash jeans sewalong on Megan Nielsen Design Diary

The reason for this is your knees! These jeans are drafted very carefully to achieve an appropriate fit around the knee for all variations. But if your knees don’t happen to be in the same place as the pattern, the fit might not be ideal for you. This will be especially obvious on the Flare jean View C and the Skinny jeans View B of Ash and the Straight jean View A of Dawn.

I would always recommend checking to see if the knee notches on the pattern are pretty close to your knees. An easy way to do this is to ask someone to help you measure your inseam. You will measure from your crotch to your knee, and then your knee to just below your ankle. Add these two together and you have your inseam. This will also tell you how your inseam should be split. You can compare these measurements to the pattern and decide if you need to lengthen or shorten the pattern above the knee and/or lengthen or shorten the pattern below the knee.

How to adjust the inseam length of any pants or jeans pattern to perfectly suit your height // Ash jeans sewalong on Megan Nielsen Design Diary

For this example, I’m going to assume that you need to apply an even increase above and below the knee. Draw slash lines above and below the knee. I have drawn mine 5cm above and 5cm below the knee because it was easier to photograph, but you can choose to do this midway down as well. Do not draw a slash line through the knee notch as this will distort the knee, we want to add or remove length but keep the knee intact.

How to adjust the inseam length of any pants or jeans pattern to perfectly suit your height // Ash jeans sewalong on Megan Nielsen Design Diary

Cut along the slash lines, and spread them by the desired amount. In this example, I am spreading each by 5cm, but you may find that you want to spread the upper leg and lower leg in different amounts.

Conversely, if you are petite and need to remove length, you would overlap the pattern pieces by the required amount.

How to adjust the inseam length of any pants or jeans pattern to perfectly suit your height // Ash jeans sewalong on Megan Nielsen Design Diary
How to adjust the inseam length of any pants or jeans pattern to perfectly suit your height // Ash jeans sewalong on Megan Nielsen Design Diary

If you are slashing and spreading to add length then you should now add extra paper in the gaps and tape them to the pattern.

How to adjust the inseam length of any pants or jeans pattern to perfectly suit your height // Ash jeans sewalong on Megan Nielsen Design Diary
How to adjust the inseam length of any pants or jeans pattern to perfectly suit your height // Ash jeans sewalong on Megan Nielsen Design Diary

Redraw the side seams to blend with the pattern.

Trim away the excess paper and you have your adjusted inseam!

Don’t forget that whatever you do to the front pattern piece you also need to do to the back pattern piece!


Alter inseam length to wear with heels for the Ash and Dawn jeans // Ash jeans sewalong on Megan Nielsen Design Diary

ALTER INSEAM LENGTH TO WEAR WITH HEELS

As I mentioned before, the Ash & Dawn jeans are drafted for wearing with flat shoes. This isn’t really a big deal for the skinny leg jean – but perhaps for the slim leg, flare or wide-leg jeans, you may want to lengthen the inseam for wearing with high heels.

This requires a slightly different alteration than for your height, but it’s just as easy!

The first thing you need to figure out is how much to lengthen the inseam. Just compare your heel height to your flats and that’s the amount! You could also compare the inseam to that of a pair of pants that already work really well with your heels.

How to lengthen then seam length on a pants or jeans sewing pattern to wear with heels, or shorten to wear with flats// Ash jeans sewalong on Megan Nielsen Design Diary
How to lengthen then seam length on a pants or jeans sewing pattern to wear with heels, or shorten to wear with flats// Ash jeans sewalong on Megan Nielsen Design Diary
How to lengthen then seam length on a pants or jeans sewing pattern to wear with heels, or shorten to wear with flats// Ash jeans sewalong on Megan Nielsen Design Diary

Since we only want to add length at shoe level, we won’t be altering near the knee notch as we want to leave the knee fit as is and only lengthen the hem. The Ash jeans View B flare comes with a cleverly shaped hem to make them skim over the front of your shoes better. For this reason, the best way to lengthen your jeans and maintain the hem is to draw a cut line a little above the hemline. Cut along this line and spread the pattern by the desired amount. Add additional paper in the gap, tape in place and trim the excess from the side seam.

Now you have altered your pattern to wear with heels!

Don’t forget that whatever you do to the front pattern piece you also need to do to the back pattern piece!


LOOKING FOR MORE ASH AND DAWN POSTS?

Here is the full list of Dawn and Ash jeans posts:

We absolutely love seeing what you make, so don’t forget to tag your creations with #MNdawn or #MNash and @megannielsenpatterns when sharing on social media, and check out what everyone else is up to!


Don’t have the Dawn pattern yet?

Dawn & Dawn Curve

Order Dawn today in sizes 0-20 and Curve sizes 14-30


Don’t have the Ash pattern yet?

Ash & Ash Curve

Order Ash today in sizes 0-20 and Curve sizes 14-30

About Author

Meg is the Founder and Creative Director of Megan Nielsen Patterns, and is constantly dreaming up ideas for new sewing patterns and ways to make your sewing journey more enjoyable! She gets really excited about design details and is always trying to add way too many variations to our patterns.

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