Which height to choose

What a strange dilemma you could say, as you know exactly what your height is. So there should be absolutely no doubts as to which height to take for a sewing pattern. Should it or should it not?

If you are close to standard body length proportions, you may indeed ignore this topic and go for the same pattern height for all kinds of garments. So let’s check if you have a standard silhouette for the lengths.

A great deal of pattern making systems is based on 1/8 proportions, deriving from the work of Michael Angelo.


However, a great deal of the population has a deviation from this benchmark. Just to picture some examples.


You can easily check if your body lengths correspond with the standard lengths applied in our patterns by checking especially the back length and front length measurements. They are your first indicators if you should consider other pattern height than your body height.

You can make quite easily a test of your body proportions by asking somebody to take a photo of your silhouette (wear only close fitted knit t-shirt and tights), which you can later analyse once printed or on the screen.

Let’s analyse en example for a figure with a longer upper body and shorter legs (the first drawing on the left).

Generally, such a silhouette should go for patterns for a higher body height if making blouses and most probably dresses as well. On the contrary, for skirts and trousers the best choice would be the pattern height lower than the actual body height.

Note, this is a very general and simplified, quick guideline assuming that the differences in your back and front lengths are not linked to other deviations from the standard proportions such as large breasts, sway back or rounded back. All we say it that be aware for what height you choose as this is not so obvious as it may seam. And again, making a test garment and examining it thoroughly will tell you the truth.

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