In today’s post, we are delving into the world of lengthening & shortening adjustments for the Durban jumpsuit! We’re going to run through measuring yourself & figuring out if you need to make any alterations and then looking at how you can make them! Along with sleeve and leg length, we will be discussing one of the most important factors in getting a comfortable fit – the length of the torso.
When it comes to the torso length of a jumpsuit, you don’t want a super low hanging crotch, but you also don’t want to get cut in half when you reach up to get something off a shelf! What we want is balance – a flattering crotch that still has the perfect amount of ease for you to get it over your shoulders comfortably, to sit, to squat and maybe even to do a little high kick if you’re feeling it? So make sure that everyone gets that great fitting and stylish Durban we all deserve – we’re going to run through these easy but vital adjustments together!
Torso Length Adjustments
Our torso length isn’t something we have to consider in a lot of sewing projects because most garments don’t enclose both the top & bottom of our bodies! It’s easy to forget how much it can vary between people, so it’s important to understand how our torso length compares to the block Durban was drafted on to make sure we get the fit we want.
Measuring & Calculating Alts
The first thing we’ll need to do is to measure ourselves or even better – get someone else to take your measurements for you! After taking all of your normal measurements (bust, waist, hips etc) and deciding on the size you’ll be making – take your tape measure, hold one end at your clavicle in the centre of your body and run it between your legs and back up to the base of your neck at centre back.
The tape measure should be running between your bust and pulled up against your body between your legs – but without giving yourself a wedgie with it! Take note of that measurement and pop it aside while we look at the finished garment measurements in the pattern instructions.
The garment’s centre front & back lengths are provided and you can get the full garment torso length by simply adding them together. This number shouldn’t be exactly the same as your own because like we talked about earlier – we need ease!
Everyone has their own fit preferences but for a comfortable fit, we recommend that the total garment torso length is at least 1 5/8″ (4cm) larger for the 0-20 size range or 4″ (10cm) larger for the Curve size range than your own torso’s length. So grab out your measurement notes again and add that ease amount to your full torso length then compare it to the garments. Is your required length larger or smaller than the patterns?
If your number is smaller, you have a little more wriggle room to decide whether or not to make alterations. You can always shorten the garment during the construction process by sewing the waist seam deeper – so if there’s only a small difference you can wait to decide until you’re at a point where you can try it on. But it’s not as easy to add fabric later if it turns out too short, so if your required torso length is larger – we definitely recommend lengthening the pattern!
Whatever amount you decide to alter by, divide it into quarters so you can make the alteration evenly around your garment – taking or adding a little bit from your bodice front, bodice back, pants front & pants back to make up the total amount you need to be changed.
Making the adjustments
Now that we’ve determined that you need an adjustment and calculated how much we need to alter by, let’s talk about how to do it! To make it super easy, all the necessary pattern pieces have lengthen or shorten lines built-in which you can go ahead and cut along. Because the placket spans over the bodice and the pants and we still want to keep our waist seam notch in the right place, you can cut that piece along both lines so it’s in 3 pieces.
It’s then as simple as spreading or overlapping the pieces by the divided alteration amount. Move your pieces directly up & down, not shifting them side to side and keep the cut edges parallel. If spreading, place some scrap paper underneath your pattern to fill the gap and tape it in place. Whether overlapping or shortening, you can then redraw or “true” the pattern edges so they are smooth and continuous again. And there you have it! You’ve lengthened or shortened the torso of your jumpsuit – how easy was that?
We have shown how to apply an even adjustment to the pattern torso, however, if you prefer you may apply the adjustment proportional to your body shape and allocate more of the required adjustment to say the bodice or the pants if needed.
Other Lengthening & Shortening Adjustments
Now we’ve gotten our torso lengths sorted, let’s move on to our arms and legs! Adjusting the length of sleeves and pant legs is nice & easy and just like the alterations we’ve covered above.
If your arms are shorter or longer than the draft of Durban, simply cut along the provided lengthen/shorten line and spread or overlap to make your adjustment – easy as. If you’re changing the sleeve length for aesthetic reasons though, like if you were wanting a 3/4 sleeve, instead of using the lengthen shorten line, you can simply fold back the pattern to the length you’d like (plus a hem allowance) to cut the sleeves. Doing it that way means that the sleeve end will be wide enough for the wider parts of your arm where your new hem will be sitting.
Check out the finished garment measurements in the instructions to compare the inseam measurements of Durban against your own body. If you need to adjust the inseam length, draw your own lengthen/shorten the line at the knee notches – straight across the leg. You can then spread or overlap depending on your needs, just like we did for the sleeve. If you’re wanting to alter the length of the shorts, on the other hand, you can redraw the shorts cut line higher or lower above the original along the height of the wide leg pattern piece, nice & simple!
And there we have it, all of our lengthening & shortening adjustments done. Next up we’ll be talking about grading between sizes, so look out for that post if you need a little support with that!
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Here’s the full list of Durban posts and tutorials:
- How to Choose Between Durban & Durban Curve
- Inspiration & Ideas
- Durban Tester Roundup & Durban Curve Tester Roundup
- Fitting & Adjustments: Lengthening & Shortening (this post!)
- Fitting & Adjustments: Grading Between Sizes
- Prep, Stabilizing & Darts
- Bodice Seams & Sleeves
- Sleeveless Facings
- Inseam, Patch & Back Pockets
- Combining Bodice & Pants
- Placket & Inseam
- Placket Tips
- Closures, Hemming & Belts
- D-Ring Belt
- Durban Maker Roundup