How To Lengthen Your Dress Pattern: April Rhodes’ Date Night Dress

SEP 30, 2013 updated May 28, 2016


Pattern designer, April Rhodes, whose "dream is to provide simple garment patterns for beginning sewers and experienced sewers who want to quickly sew pretty things to wear" visits the Spoonflower blog to share length altering tips for her new Date Night Dress! Visit her on Facebook or Instagram today for a chance to win a PDF of her new dress pattern! ​​


A flattering dress length is crucial. Most of the time I like my dresses to hit at the knees or just a inch or two above. Often the length I choose depends on whether or not I want to style a dress with leggings or not. I LOVE LEGGINGS! Yay for fall! I tend to keep my hem lower if the weather is warm and my legs are bare. I am on the shorter end of the height spectrum and being so, I almost always have plenty of length. Shortening a dress is easy. It's always easier to take some off than it is to add it!

When creating my patterns, I try to aim for an average knee length, however, no one length is right for everyone.
What if you're blessed to be tall?
If you are over 5' 7" or if you just like a longer dress, you may want to lengthen your pattern a bit. Don't be intimidated. It is a very easy adjustment to make, though it MUST be done before you cut into your precious fabric.
I made you a little video:

 April Rhodes: Lengthening Your Dress Pattern

Find the main pattern pieces, Front and Back. On my patterns, The Date Night Dress and The Staple Dress, I have included a "shorten and lengthen line" on both the front and back pattern pieces. This line is at the exact same level on both sides so that if you add the same length to each piece they will still line up properly.

1. Cut the pattern apart at the "shorten and lengthen line."

2. Decide how much length you will need to add. On another piece of paper, draw two perfectly parallel, horizontal lines, wide enough for each pattern piece. Then draw one line perpendicular to these to continue the "place on fold line."

3. Re-align pattern pieces and tape.

4. Draw a new, smooth side seam line. And cut off access paper.

5. Use your new lengthened pattern pieces!


Now why would I make a longer dress? I wanted this one to be modeled by my sweet friend Daria. I didn't add the full length that is shown in the video above but instead just an extra 1/2" (because when you've got great legs you should show them!).  Also, a detail I really enjoy is the slight drop in the back of the dress hem, so even if the dress is a bit above the knee in front it doesn't show too much at the back of the thigh (an area I'm personally self conscious about…eek! No shorts for me!).


This dress is another attempt at perfecting my Cross Stitch Arrow Print fabric. This time I've used Spoonflower's new Performance Knit and it is quite nice! It has such a great drape and not a wrinkle, ever! The pattern is my Date Night Dress, without shirring or belting. The drape of the fabric weights the dress perfectly. It's slinky, loose and comfortable while still complimenting her figure. This fabric cuts like butter, plus it doesn't fray at all! It is a bit tricky to work with however, so here are some tips I discovered along the way: Pin, pin, pin…. it's slippery and it does not take to pressing! Use sharp, thin pins such as silk pins.
Cut it flat on a mat with a rotary cutter. This will help you to avoid any slipping while cutting and eliminate jagged edges.
Use a new sharp sewing machine needle, a size 9 is best. Despite the fact that it is a knit you do not want to use a ballpoint needle.


Happy Monday!!
Hope you have lots to smile about,


P.S. Visit me on Instagram and Facebook today for a chance at 2 PDF pattern giveaways!

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