How to Change the Rise on the Arden Pants Pattern

HelenArden Pants, Fitting & Pattern Adjustments7 Comments

How to Lengthen or Shorten the Rise on Pants with Slash or Slant Pockets.

How to Change the Rise on the Arden Pants Pattern

Whether you are tall, short, or prefer your waistline to sit somewhere else than an intended pattern design, changing the rise is a common and easy pants adjustment. Today we want to show you how to change the rise on the Arden Pants pattern, while still preserving the design of the slanted front side pocket.

Arden Pants Sewing Pattern by Helen's Closet Patterns

To avoid making changes to the front pocket and make sure only the rise is being updated, I thought of a Tetris-inspired solution. Did you know that Tetis shapes have names? In this tutorial we will be using what’s known as a Rhode Island Z shape, but for the sake of simplicity we will just call it a z-shape. 

To get started, you will need pant front and back pattern pieces. When adding length to the rise you might also need the back pocket pattern piece, depending on whether you want to change the size of the pocket. You will also need a pen, a ruler, some paper, scissors and scotch tape. Let’s get started!

How much do I add or remove? 

All Helen’s Closet, all of our patterns are drafted for a 5’6” (168 cm) tall person. The Arden Pants have a medium rise and are intended to sit about 2” (5 cm) below your belly button. But if you are shorter or taller than our 5’6” (168 cm) block, how do you figure out how much to add or remove? 

A good general rule is to add or remove the difference between your height and the height for which the pattern is drafted divided by two. However, this is the total amount to be added or removed from the pants pattern piece, so we’ll need to divide this number by two again. From there, we will adjust both the rise and pant leg by that number (bringing us to our first total). If you adjust the rise by the entire amount in our first calculation, you may end up with an extremely short or long rise! You can also add or remove height based on your personal experience and preference. For example, if you want a very high-rise or low-rise pair of Ardens.

Example: 

A 5’10” (178 cm) tall person would need to add: 

(5’10” (178 cm) – 5’6” (168cm)) / 2 = 2” (5 cm) total to the pants

2”(5 cm) / 2 = 1” (2.5 cm) – to be added to both the rise (covered in this post) and the pant leg (not covered in this post).

Note: The same calculation is done for shortening the rise if you are shorter than 5’6″ (178 cm). Scroll down to see the illustrations and instructions for shortening the rise.

How to add length to the rise:

Start off by drawing a z-shaped line on the front pant. The line should start roughly in the middle of the vertical part of the crotch seam and end right below the pocket. The easy way to make sure it is truly horizontal is to draw the horizontal sections of the line perpendicular to the grainline.

How the change the rise on the Arden Pants pattern.

Cut the pattern along the line. Place a piece of scrap paper underneath, making sure to place enough paper to cover the bottom of the cut line and have extra paper above the tallest position of the cut line. Spread the pattern the required distance apart. Use the grainline to aid in aligning the pattern pieces. Tape everything down.

How the change the rise on the Arden Pants pattern.

Redraw the center front seam and the side seam. Cut your pattern piece out. There is no need to make any changes to the front pocket piece. 

How the change the rise on the Arden Pants pattern.

Once you’ve added the rise to the front leg, you need to repeat the same steps to the back leg. Draw a horizontal line roughly through the middle of the straight part of the back crotch seam. Make sure this line is perpendicular to the grainline. Cut the pattern along the line you just drew.

How the change the rise on the Arden Pants pattern.

Place a piece of scrap paper underneath and spread the pattern the required distance apart. Use the grainline to help you align the pattern pieces. Tape everything down. Redraw the side seam line and the back crotch line.

How the change the rise on the Arden Pants pattern.

Redraw the side seam line and the back crotch line. Extend the pocket placement line the same length as the cut off pocket placement line on the upper piece. 

Now you will have two options on what to do with the back pocket. You can keep it unchanged, or you can lengthen it if you think you want bigger pockets. Keep in mind that the back pockets on Arden are quite large to begin with. 

No changes to the back pocket: Extend the pocket placement line upward on the bottom piece the same amount as the pocket placement line on the top piece. This is the new pocket placement line. 

How the change the rise on the Arden Pants pattern.
Arden Pants Sewing Pattern by Helen's Closet Patterns

Lengthening the back pocket: Redraw the pocket placement line by connecting the placement marks. Add the length to the bottom of the back pocket piece equal to the amount added to the rise. 

How the change the rise on the Arden Pants pattern.

How to remove length from the rise:

Start off by drawing a z-shaped line on the front pant. The line should start roughly in the middle of the vertical part of the crotch seam and end right below the pocket. The easy way to make sure it is truly horizontal is to draw the horizontal sections of the line perpendicular to the grainline.

How the change the rise on the Arden Pants pattern.

Cut the pattern along the line. Overlap the pattern the required distance using the grainline to help you align the pattern pieces. Tape everything down.

How the change the rise on the Arden Pants pattern.

True up front crotch seam and the side seam so the new line is smooth. Depending on how much you have removed from the rise, there may be a corner peeking from behind the pocket opening. You can cut this piece off.  

How the change the rise on the Arden Pants pattern.

To remove the rise from the back leg, draw a horizontal line roughly through the middle of the straight part of the back crotch seam. Make sure this line is perpendicular to the grainline. Cut the pattern piece along the line you just drew.

How the change the rise on the Arden Pants pattern.

Overlap the back leg pieces the required distance using the grainline to help you align the pattern pieces. Tape it down. 

True up the side seam and center back seam so the lines are smooth. Extend the pocket placement line upward on the bottom piece the same length as the pocket placement line on the top piece. If you want to shorten the back pocket (optional) you can remove the same about of length from the bottom of the back pocket that we just removed from the rise.

How the change the rise on the Arden Pants pattern.

And congrats, you are all done adjusting the rise on the Arden Pants pattern!

Arden Pants by Helen's Closet Patterns
About the author

Helen

Helen Wilkinson is the designer and founder of Helen's Closet Patterns. She also co-hosts the Love to Sew Podcast! Helen is obsessed with all things sewing and strives to share her passion and knowledge with the sewing community.

7 Comments on “How to Lengthen or Shorten the Rise on Pants with Slash or Slant Pockets.”

  1. This is such a clever technique. It would never have occurred to me to split the line to avoid the pocket opening & I often must lengthen the rise. Never too old (age 77) to learn a new trick!

    1. Thanks, Joan! I actually hadn’t thought of it either until we started illustrating this blog post! It’s fun to discover a new way to do an old trick 🙂

  2. Hi! I don’t understand the math. Why wouldn’t a 5’10” person need to add 4”, 2” at the rise and another 2” at the leg?

    1. Hi Lety!

      Great question. We divide the difference in height vs pattern by two because we want to distribute the length across the whole body, not just the pants. We want to make length adjustments to the top, too! If you are 5’10, you may want to add an inch to the lower leg, an inch to the rise, an inch to the lower bodice, and an inch to the upper bodice to distribute the length evenly. Of course, people have different height distributions, so you may need to add 3″ to the leg and only 1″ to the bodice, but you can customize it to suit your needs!

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