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Adjusting Jumpsuit Patterns for Long Torsos

I recently rediscovered a post about the jumpsuits I made for the girls last year. It’s time to start thinking about spring and summer clothing if you plan to sew your own so I knew that it would be a good time to revisit these. My daughter’s loved how they turned out! Here’s the story and the tricks for adjusting this pattern for long torsos.

Have you ever admired cute jumpsuits on others, realizing that they will never fit your torso? Yeah, that was me. And now it’s my adult daughters. Since winter makes me want to sew, this year I decided to make the girls jumpsuits that would actually fit!

After showing the girls a few patterns, they both choose the same one! McCalls pattern M8119. I had purposely shown them patterns with wider legs because I knew that something more flowy below the waistline would visually lengthen the leg. This defined waistline also helps draw the eye up, shortening the torso and lengthening the leg.

McCalls pattern cover sitting on two fabrics


I always try to stick with the recommended fabrics when following a pattern. In this case our choices were cotton blends, linen, poplin, or a stable knit. Maia just told me she wanted solid olive and I selected the fabric myself, an olive broadcloth. Julia went with me and picked a linen-look cotton blend.

striped sleeveless jumpsuit on model
model wearing short sleeved olive jumpsuit with tie


As you may have noticed, although the girls both used the same pattern, they choose different styles. Julia just went for the featured look in both her fabric pattern and the cut, a sleeveless ankle length. Maia was a custom combination. She wanted short sleeves and a longer floor length. She wanted a belt, but she wanted a tie belt rather than the buckled one in the instructions. I’ll talk more about how I altered hers later in the post.

Adjusting for Sizing Differences

Not only are the girls long-waisted, but they normally wear a larger size of pants than they do shirts. That is easy to adjust in a pattern such as this one where the pant has pleats and darts before it attaches to the bodice. I cut the bodice, sleeves, and collar in one size, and then cut a larger size for the pant pieces. Then I marked the pleats and darts as shown, but adjusted them when I was pinning at the waistline so that it would exactly fit the bottom of the bodice. My pattern contained sizes 6 through 14, and I’m assuming the next set of sizes offers 16 through 24. Never buy a pattern according to your typical size in stores. Sewing patterns run differently so be sure to use your own measurements before purchasing and cutting fabric.

Lengthening the torso

Always preshrink your fabric. Be sure you know your fabric’s washing instructions before you purchase it and then run it through the washing machine and dryer on settings you would normally use or as indicated.

All your alterations need to be well planned out before you cut your fabric! I didn’t know exactly how much to lengthen the pattern because I couldn’t find any indication of sizing according to torso length. So I gave myself plenty of extra fabric length to play with, adding 2 1/2 inches to the crotch and 1 inch to the length of the bodice.

The legs have lines marked on the pattern pieces for lengthening or shortening. I simply cut the pattern piece where indicated, and pinned it to the fabric with a 2 1/2 inch gap. (Note: neither of the girls needed 2 1/2 inches. 1 1/2 inches should give you plenty of room for fitting, especially if you are also adding length to the bodice.) The bodice did not have a line for altering. I simply cut my bodice pattern pieces all the way across horizontally, near the bottom edge, adding an inch that way. Always lay out and pin all your pattern pieces in place before cutting the fabric. I had to take careful note when cutting out my pieces then that I followed the OUTSIDE of my pattern piece and did not cut through my lengthening gap!

Then I sewed the pattern according to the directions, piecing together the bodice and then the legs. I attached the pocket pieces lower onto the leg pieces than instructed because I wanted their opening to sit below where the waistband would finally attach after my adjustments. When it was time to attach the bodice to the bottom, I tried the jumpsuit on each girl.

For Julia, I basted the back of the crotch and left the side seams open. Then I ironed the bottom edge of the bodice at the seam line, tried the whole thing on Julia, and pinned the top and bottom together where she liked them. I made sure I had her sit in the jumpsuit as well.

For Maia, I guessed where I needed to stitch the top and bottom together (based on my sizing with Julia) and basted them together before she tried the jumpsuit on. This way she was able to just slide into it using the opening for the zipper in the back. When she tried it on, it still needed a little more lengthening. I easily stitched the seam again, 1/4 inch outside by original basting stitch which lengthened the garment by 1/2 an inch in the torso.


This pattern has an invisible zipper which means that you can’t see the zipper when the garment is closed. It looks very nice, but I don’t like how most patterns instruct you to insert them because you tend to get a little bump at the end that doesn’t lay quite flat. In this case, it’s your butt, one of the last places you want your jumpsuit poking out it a weird way. I followed the method in this video instead and loved the results! Also, save yourself a headache and invest in a zipper foot.

Other alterations on Maia’s jumpsuit

Julia’s jumpsuit was strictly View B from the pattern. Maia had the short sleeves of View A, a belt like View C, and a longer length than anything in the pattern. But even within her adjustments were more adjustments.

two completed jumpsuits shown on either side of a McCalls pattern cover
model wearing jumpsuit top with sleeve

Above is a picture of the short sleeve of View A before you add the finishing touches that gather up the outside edge. Maia wanted shorter than this. For hers, I took this sleeve and folded it so that she had a cuff that touched her armpit. I stitched the cuff down at the armpit, and then hand stitched it down at the outer edge.

She wanted a belt, but not the belt of View C. I cut the belt pieces using the provided pattern, but I made the pieces twice as long. This was just the right length for her tie belt. I turned under the short edges, forming an angle, and topstitched the belt closed.

For her longer length, I added one inch to the bottom of the leg length BEFORE I CUT OUT THE FABRIC. This was all the fabric I could allow and was barely enough to hem. Maia is about 5’6″ with shorter than average legs. I would recommended adding a 1/4 yard to your fabric purchase and extending the pattern length 3 to 7 inches if you want a floor length leg.

model wearing short sleeved olive jumpsuit with tie


Julia choose to have no topstitching. Maia wanted topstitching on the neck and the hem. Without a belt, it could also look nice topstitching the bottom to the bodice before the zipper is added.

This pattern was a fun and easy one to make. Alterations always take extra time and planning, but the finished results were worth the work. Let me know if you liked these tips for adjusting jumpsuit patterns for long torsos by leaving a comment below!

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