Lengthening/ Shortening the Sandrine

Lengthening/ Shortening the Sandrine

If you have recently gotten a copy of the Sandrine Tank + Tee, you may have noticed that there are no lengthen/ shorten lines on it. The reason for this is because during testing, I realized that having a lengthen/ shorten line was only really helpful to those who were comfortable keeping the tank opening right at the natural waist, and was mainly being utilized by those with longer torsos.

The more common alteration I was seeing during testing was the actual lengthening of the side seam split to be lower than where it currently hits. Whether it be for comfort reasons or for work appropriateness, around half of my testers did some version of this lengthening. So I figured, why not dedicate an entire blog post to talking about both of these alterations? One set for lengthening/ shortening as you might normally, thus keeping with the intended style of the tank (high cut slit with maximum breeziness!). And one set for lengthening the side seam split so that more coverage is available to those who want it!

Altering Torso Length

Let’s start with lengthening/ shortening the torso of your pattern as you might normally do. 

Before we get started on altering the pattern, I am jumping in to this tutorial under the assumption that you already know how much you are looking to shorten (or lengthen) your bodice pieces. If you are unsure of how to find this measurement, I’ve got an entire blog post for  you! Hop on over to Common Pattern Adjustments: Torso Length, and then meet me back here once you have your measurements in hand!

The first step in this process is to trace out both your front and back bodice pattern pieces. I never make alterations to my original pattern pieces. Why? Because if I make a mistake, or I go up/down a size in the future, I want to make sure that I have those original pattern pieces intact to work from without having to print off a brand new pattern.

Once your pieces have been traced off, you’ll want to start this process by adding a lengthen/ shorten line to your pattern. This should be drawn roughly 2-3” (5-7.5 cm) above the double notches which currently indicate the natural waist. Make sure that your lengthen/shorten line is running perpendicular to your CF/CB fold. 

Next, you’ll cut along the lengthen/ shorten line you have just drawn. 

With the measurements you got from the Finding Torso Length blog post, it’s time to either lengthen your pattern by however much extra length you need….

Or shorten it by however much length you need to remove.

Don’t forget to tape your pattern pieces into place (you may need scrap paper if you are lengthening your pattern). True up your side seams, and repeat all of these steps with your back pattern piece as well!

And Voila! Your pattern pieces should now be more accurate to your unique shape, and you can get right on to cutting your fabric out!

Altering Side Seam Length

Altering the side seam length of your tank is a bit more involved that simply lengthening or shortening your pattern pieces, especially if you are making the short tank. It’s not impossible or anything like that! It just requires a few more decisions and steps. 

The very first thing you will want to do is measure the current side seam of your pattern and then compare that to a measurement of where you would like the side seam length to hit on your body. Measuring the current side seam is pretty straightforward as you just need to line up your ruler to the side seam on your tank. Don’t worry about seam allowances as the binding for the underarm is roughly the same as the seam allowance measurement. 

To measure yourself, place a measuring tape perpendicular to the floor about 1” below the armpit. Then measure to the point in which you would like your side seam to stop. Write this measurement down and keep it someplace safe as you begin to alter your pattern pieces. 

It is important to note that if you plan on extending your side seam down to your hip or lower, you may potentially need to grade between two sizes of the pattern, depending on your waist to hip ratio. Since this tank was drafted to open out at the natural waist, giving your hips plenty of room to move around, altering the side seams up to or past the hip point may require additional alterations to have your tank fit comfortably. 

Before you start making any changes to the pattern, it’s best to go ahead and tape some extra scrap paper to the bottom hem of your pattern pieces. 

Once you’ve got your pattern all securely taped, it’s time to get to measuring and altering and perfecting!

Starting again from your underarm point and following the angle of your side seam, draw out a new cut line that is the same measurement as the one you wrote down earlier. For me, I opted to add 5” (12.5 cm) in total to the side seam.

Once you have marked your new side seam end point, it’s time to make a decision: 

Do you want to grade your new seam point into the existing curve of your hem?
Do you want to keep the existing curve shape, thus making your tank a bit longer all around?

If you wish to do the former (grade your seam point into your old hem’s curve), you will draw out a new line connecting the bottom edge of your tank’s hem to the bottom edge of your new side seam. This will result in a less dramatic curved hem. 

Note, this may not work if you are extending your side seam lower than your tank’s lowest hem point. 

If you prefer to do the ladder (Keeping the existing curve of your tank hem), then you will need to measure out your curve using your original extension measurement (for me that was 5” [12.5 cm]) at a few points before connecting the dots. 

Before you run off to use  your newest pattern piece (I know, I am excited, too!), you will want to remark your double notches approximately ½” (1.3 cm) from the end of your side seam line as well as repeat these steps on your back pattern piece.

And if you are doing this with the longer tank, it’s more than likely that you will only have to grade your new side seam edge into the bottom edge of your pattern piece’s hem since it is already so long!

I hope that you enjoyed this quick tutorial! If you have any suggestions on how to make this even better, or you found a nifty way of lengthening/ shortening your tank, feel free to leave a comment below!


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