Pattern Making

Olsen dress sew-along – Part 2

Now that you have gathered all the necessary tools and chosen the fabric the next step is to choose your size and make any necessary pattern alterations.

Make sure to carefully measure your body and check against the measurements on the front page. All sewing patterns, just like clothing lines, vary in sizing standards.

Don’t worry too much about your waist measurement. The elasticated waist means it will fit pretty much any size, even early pregnancy! There is also plenty of ease on the hips to accommodate pear shaped ladies.


Our sewing patterns are drafted for a B-cup. A full bust adjustment is usually necessary to accommodate a larger bust. However, the Olsen dress is an easy fit and will work fine for cup sizes A to C. If your cup size is D or larger, I recommend making the adjustment below.

1. Cut out your size and make sure the bust apex is marked clearly. (I have marked the seam lines on the pattern as I always do before making changes on a pattern that includes seam allowance)

2. Draw a line down from bust apex parallel to center front.

3. Draw a line from bust apex to armhole. (Measure about one third from side seam).

4. Cut along the line. Cut to but not through the armhole.

5. Draw a line perpendicular to center front and cut out a piece.

6. Place pattern pieces on top of some pattern paper. Measure the bust width and spread the pattern to add the amount needed. Tape and fill in the lines to complete the new pattern. Correct armhole curve shape if needed. Cut.

7. Now you need to alter the front skirt pattern to match the bodice. Draw a line parallel to center front, matching the one you drew on the bodice.

8. Cut and spread until gap matches the gap in bodice.

9. Place skirt pattern on pattern paper, tape, draw and cut to complete.


Another pattern adjustment you might want to make is changing the length. The pattern is drafted for a height of 168 cm / 5’6″.

If you want to adjust the length because you’re taller or shorter you will need to adjust both the bodice and skirt patterns. First determine the total length you need to shorten/lengthen by. Change the bodice by 1/3 and the skirt by 2/3 of the total measurement. Of course, if you know that you have a long torso compared to the lower part of your body or vice versa, adjust accordingly.

1. Draw a line perpendicular to center front about half way between the notch and waist.

2. Cut along the line.

3. Place pieces on top of some pattern paper. Making sure that the cut lines are parallel add or reduce the desired amount.

4. Tape in place.

5. Re-draw side seam.

6. Cut from paper. I also like to add the new seam line.

Now you need to add the exact same amount to back bodice to keep the side seams the same length.

When shortening or lengthening the skirt, follow the same steps as above. When re-drawing the side seam, start and finish at the notches.

The hem is designed to fall at mid-calf. You can shorten the skirt length to knee, mini or anything in between following the instructions above.

Any questions? Leave a comment below! Next up on the sew-along: Cutting.


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