Sew tall

My back waist measurement is 17.5″.

I’m 5’10”. Not exactly Olympe Maxime, but definitely on the tall side of average for a woman. In fact, 5’10” is the average height of men here in the UK – but that’s a whole other story… (and completely unrelated to sewing)

If you’re tall too, then you’re probably familiar with the usual tall-person grumbles: people making the same stating-the-obvious comments about your height; never having enough legroom on planes, trains and buses; and how hard it is to find clothes to fit.

Like me, perhaps you took up sewing partly so you could recreate your favourite RTW clothes for longer arms, a longer torso or longer legs.

So what does it mean to be a taller sewist? Well, you know you’re taller than the average when:

  1. You view yardage charts with scepticism. Ms Average may be able to squeeze a summer dress out of 2m of linen, but you’re definitely going to need at least 2.3m.
  2. You get irrationally angry with pattern companies that don’t include lengthen/shorten lines and a back waist length measurement as standard. And don’t even mention those patterns with ‘no provision for above the waist adjustments’!
  3. You can slash and spread a pattern by 1/2/3″ in your sleep, and you buy masking tape in bulk.
  4. The pattern says you need a 4″ zip, so you buy a 6″ zip.
  5. You’ve been coveting one of those Simflex buttonhole gauges for all your shirts and shirtdresses – you always have to shift the buttons around.
  6. You have no fear of large, bold prints. Sunflowers? African wax print? No problems.

What have I left off this list?

And is it the exact opposite if you’re petite, or are there different things to consider?




  1. The list is perfect – I’m being slowly bankrupt by scotch tape purchasing. At 6ft 1, I now find I make things too long to compensate for years of pulling my top down to cover my tummy.


  2. As a petite person who loves a longer skirt or dress, I can honestly say I am usually spoiled by patterns I make. But with a not very ample chest I usually end up with a lot of darts, ha ha.


  3. Yes, these are all familiar to me. I have a couple of those with no pattern adjustments available above the waist. It can be very time consuming to add length esp if it’s a pattern with more pieces or more complex. I’m in a larger size range which adds difficulties.


    • Wrap dresses are always tricky for me – I can manage to add length, but raising the bustline and doing an FBA combined outfoxes me every time! I’d love to see pattern companies adding more markings to help us with this kind of thing.


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