Up-sizing Patterns

Hi, it's Melissa from Ms Midge.  I'm back at The Oz Material Girls today!  When they first asked me if I would like to be a guest blogger, I was wondering how on earth I would come up with anything to contribute?  But since then, I have remembered to get my camera out when I'm doing something I think may be of interest to others.  And a couple of days ago, I did just that!

My lovely daughter told her teacher that I would be able to make her a brown cape for a play she had helped write - "Little Miss Chocolate Hood".  So on my merry way I went to find some chocolate brown fabric.  I chose a suiting material that was only $7.99 a metre, so it was cheap and cheerful!  The next task was finding a cape pattern I could use for a size 9 child.

I pulled out my Make It Perfect book, which contains 21 super patterns, that are really great and easy to follow.  I have made the "Picnic In The Park Capelet" a multitude of times, but the pattern only goes up to a size 5.  So it was time to get busy, and up-size (Tailor, Alter, Scale to size) it!  This is how I did it.....

The pattern comes with two pieces.  One for the hood, and the other for the body of the cape.  I got my handy tracing paper out (you can get tracing paper or even brown paper in good quantities from a variety of places.  I have found some great stuff at local newsagents amongst other stores).

I start by having a good look at the pattern and working out how difficult it's going to be to up-size!  Thankfully, I haven't come across any patterns yet that I haven't been able to adjust in some way.

Take the first pattern piece and measure the difference between each size variation.  The length of the capelet pattern is almost exactly one inch between sizes, which makes things rather easy.
I've lined the side of the pattern piece up to the side of the tracing paper and pinned it in place.  From there, I get my ruler (I have a quilting ruler that I use with my rotary cutter) and measure in one inch increments along the side of the tracing paper, making little marks as I go along.  I do this all around the bottom of the pattern piece.

I also have my old school cardboard measuring board on hand, which has some great curved lines, to help me with drawing the bottom of the cape pattern.
Here you can see the dots which are marked at one inch for each size up.  I'm going up four sizes, hence the four different lines of dots!

Then it's time to do the same thing with the side of the pattern piece.  This is a little trickier because it is a graduated line.  It does require a bit of "guesstimation".  I still measure between sizes to get an indication of approximately how much I should go up per size.  And then mark the measurements along, graduating them accordingly.

As this picture shows, the dots get closer together as it graduates up towards the top of the pattern piece.

It is then a matter of drawing a line along the dots until getting to the top of the pattern piece.  Don't think if your lines aren't perfect that it won't work!  I always find my cutting to be much straighter and smoother than my drawing!

Lastly, draw the shape of the top of the piece.

The other pattern piece is the hood.  I just follow the same instructions to get the shape of the hood correct.

Graduated dots along the curves so I get it as close as possible.

The end result of the hood piece.
The two finished pattern pieces, which if you compare to the original pattern pieces, look pretty good!

Not the most inspiring of garments!  I didn't even line it - it's for school!

And it's a perfect size 9....

I've up-sized a few patterns - The Bailey Romper and Boardwalk Dress to name a couple.  You can use the same basic instructions in this tutorial for most patterns.  Although keep in mind, children's patterns come without the added bonus of allowing for Bust, Hips and Waists!  So I haven't quite gone into Adult Pattern territory!  Up-sizing is something I never really thought I would be able to do.  But once you've done it, and you're confident enough, it can help you to learn how to custom size patterns also.  I have done this for a couple of older, taller young ladies, whose Mums find it difficult to get handmade garments for their girls.  It's been a great skill to learn!  Thanks for reading!



  1. Thanks for the tips. I always feel nervous about extending patterns, but like you say kids clothing makes it simple

  2. That makes it look like child'splay!!! Thanks for a great tutorial! :)

  3. Hey Megan and Pauline! Be sure to let me know how you go if you give it a go!! xx