Monday, April 19, 2010

Tilted Waist Alteration

Yesterday there were a couple of comments asking about how I make a tilted waistline alteration. I do it differently depending on whether there are pockets or not. If not, I can just cut down the front and then add to the top of the back. However, when there are pockets involved, things get a bit more complicated.

When I do a tilted waist alteration, I always leave the side length alone and lower the center front and raise the center back. Since this pattern had pockets to deal with along with princess seams, I decided to take a wedge from the front side pattern piece. I cut from the princess seam to, but not through, the side seam stitching line along the lengthen/shorten line. Then I clipped from the side seam to but not through my first cut. This left a hinge where I could overlap a full inch, but leave the side seam length the same. After taking out the wedge, the pattern piece became decidedly crooked. I had to true up the sides of the pattern piece by taking a ruler from the straightest two points and drawing a line. I did this on both the princess seam and the side seam. The white pattern piece above is what it looked like after truing.

I then needed to shorten the center front pattern piece the inch, but instead of taking out a wedge, I just took out a full inch across the whole pattern piece. You won't see that on my pattern piece however. Since the pattern piece is parallel down the length, I just removed the inch from the hem.

Please click on the photos to see them closer up. After making the new side front pattern piece, I needed to adjust the pocket pattern. It became skewed so that I had to add to the center seam and adjust the grainline. You can also see that it changed the height of the pattern piece at the side seam so that it didn't match the back piece. In the picture you see my side seam alteration for my thicker waist on the pocket piece and the side back piece.

To add to the back I just taped more tissue to the top waist and drew in my shape. I know my shape because it's the shape that happens to my elastic waist pants when I tie my elastic around my waist and I pull them up and down until they hang properly. The inch and a quarter was a guess and as you can see in my muslin from my last post, it was too much.

I finally decided on what fabric to use for the skirt. The blue floral is a stretch twill and I only had a small amount. Luckily it was just enough to cut out this skirt. I had the blue cotton knit in my stash and I think it matches really well. My husband thinks it's too much blue, but I think that a monochromatic color combination may make me look thinner. At least I hope so. I also want to make a white top to go with the skirt.


  1. Sherril, thank-you so much for explaining how you adjust for the tilted waist and taking the time to show us the pattern pieces. I love the fabric you chose - it will be super cute on you. Thanks again Kathy

  2. Great tutorial. That is an area that can be problematic. Thank you for posting the solution.

  3. Great tutorial Sherrill! I have to do this too. I had to do this alteration even when I was thin with a fairly flat tummy though, so I don't think mine will every change that much! :)

  4. Thanks for the tutorial! I love that blue floral, that will be very pretty!

  5. I love this fabric. I will remember this tutorial in case I ever start sewing for myself. I'm pretty sure I'll have to make adjustments due to my baby belly and my sway back.

  6. "I only had a small amount. Luckily it was just enough to cut out this skirt.:
    Now THAT sounds like a slimmin' down gal!! ;) ;)
    Soft hug,

  7. Your tutorials are always so clear and easy to grasp. I haven't seen you in a skirt in a long time so am looking forward to see how this works out. Knowing you and fit issues, well, its perfection.

  8. Thank you thank you thank you!!! The blue twill is lovely!! I don't think it's to much blue, they are different shades. But if you needed to you could always add and small accent of white to the knit top. The blue knit will look beautiful with your coloring!

  9. hey teach...great blog and such informative tutorials...what would you suggest for those that aren't too interested in the small details and just want to get it done????

    see you tuesday

    tina - slacker in sewing class...

  10. I have been a follower for a long time, also a Coldwater Creek fan, so I appreciate those tutorials. Inspired by your earlier post, I ordered the Metabolism Miracle book and have been on the program for almost 3 weeks. I feel so much better! And I haven't really exercised yet. But I am going to yoga class tonight. I had done Atkins, and South Beach, and just couldn't stay with it, and craved carbs, but this one is doing it in a way I never have been able to before. Thanks for sharing.

  11. Sherril, I really, really like the styles and patterns you select. I especially liked the way you added interesting texture without color in the New Look 6735 embellishment.

    I hope it is okay to ask a question here. You seem to have much experience. When you do the tilted waist alteration on pants does it require anything more than the wedge style adjustment you show on the skirt?


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