How do you measure?

posted in: Fabric, Fit, Photos | 0

What height are these patterns drafted for?

We see this question asked quite a bit in both the 5 out of 4 Facebook group and across the sewing community.  We understand it is asked so one can determine what, if any, adjustments to length may be necessary.  And while many designers will list a drafted height in the pattern description, 5 out of 4 encourages you to look at the finished measurements of their patterns to determine if you need to add or subtract any length.  The reason finished measurements are listed instead of height is because everyone carries their height differently.  For example, 2 individuals who are both 5’5 will not necessarily have the same torso or inseam length.  Using the same shirt pattern, one may need to subtract length while the other may not.  All 5 out of 4 patterns list a finished length for shirts/dress that measure from the mid-shoulder seam down to the finished hem.  Patterns for shorts/pants include a finished inseam measurement.

Here is a visual for you:  Laura pictured on the left is 5’4 and made a size 2X while Tasha on the right is 5’3 and made a size XL.  Both made their Nancy Raglans in shirt length and using cotton lycra fabric.  Neither made any alterations to the pattern pieces and yet both their finished shirts end about mid-hip.

Here is Tammy who measures 5’11.  She did add 2″ to her Nancy Raglan using the length/shorten line on the pattern pieces as a guide.  Her finished shirt is made of cotton lycra and has a finished length of mid-hip similar to those pictured above.

Melissa is 5’8.5 and she did not add any length to her french terry Nancy Raglan.

Here is Tasha at 5’3 wearing a rayon spandex Nancy Raglan with no modifications.


Here is a side by side: (L-R) Added 2″, No alterations, no alterations

*The drape of the rayon spandex fabric pictured on the far right provides a different look from the cotton lycra and french terry used by the other two ladies.  Her Nancy Raglan appears a bit longer than the one she made of cotton lycra although she made no alterations in length to either.

Here is Melissa wearing her cotton/rayon blend Nancy with no alterations made for length.  For reference she is 5’6.

We’ve shown you a few top length Nancy Raglans made from different fabrics and pictured on ladies of various heights, but what about dress length?

Here are Melissa and Maryanna both wearing dress length Nancy Raglans.  Melissa on the left is 5’8.5 and Maryanna on the right is 5’3.

Melissa’s dress is made of a drapy tri-blend fabric she did not make any changes to the length.  Her finished dress falls a couple of inches above her knees.

Maryanna on the right made her dress out of a lightweight cotton lycra and did take off 2″ inches off the length.  Without that change, her dress would have a finished length similar to that of Melissa’s and fall a couple of inches above the knees.

As you can see, it is important to check the finished measurements in the pattern before you begin to determine any alterations in length.  We have ladies pictured with heights ranging from 5’3-5’11 and only the tallest needed to add length to her shirt.  It’s not so much about how short or tall you are but rather how your height is distributed.

If you have made a Nancy Raglan, we would love to see it!  Feel free to share it (or any of your other 5 out of 4 makes) in the 5 out of 4 Facebook group and let us know you made any alterations to it.  And if you don’t have the pattern yet, you can find it on the website at:


Happy Sewing!

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