Tall and Petite Sizing


Let’s talk about an aspect of size inclusivity that doesn’t always get the attention is deserves – tall and petite options.

I’m a tall gal, at 5’10”, so this point is near and dear for me.  I’ve spent countless disappointing hours trying on clothes that don’t fit well. Height sizing is one of the main reasons I started designing (both sewing and knitting).  By creating my own designs, I finally started to build a wardrobe of pieces that fit well, felt great, and that I loved to show off.

From all of this experimentation and design work, I’ve developed a set of strategies for creating tall sized clothing, and I’ve extended this to include petite sizing, as well.  Height sizing is an important element in making our designs accessible and inclusive, so everyone can find a great fit for their wonderfully unique body.

I’ll be including tall and petite sizing in upcoming design coursework, but I wanted to share a few tips here.

1. It’s not just the waist and inseam.  When tall or petite sizes are offered, I often see them incorporated as a height adjustment at the waistline or an increase in the inseam.  These adjustments are needed, but aren’t sufficient to create a great fit.  Why?  Consider tops for a moment.  Our height differences aren’t just stacked up at the waist!  Taller and shorter frames are also taller and shorter through the shoulders and the arms.  To achieve a great fit, tops need height adjustments through the torso, shoulders, and arms.

2. Distribute height sizing adjustments. Thinking again of our top example, height adjustments need to be distributed throughout the height of the top.  This is especially true of structured and fitted tops, where shaping for the bust, waist, and/or hip really only fits well (and hence looks great and feels comfortable) if this shaping hits where it’s meant to.  How do we achieve this? Distribute height adjustments throughout the height of the top.

3. Normalize tall and petite sizing. This point is less technical and at least as important.  If you’re offering tall and petite sizing, amazing! Make sure your wording conveys that the range of height options are versions of the pattern, not afterthought adjustments.  For example, consider listing tall, medium, and petite size options in your pattern description, rather than having a ‘tall or short height adjustment’ later in the pattern.

I hope this conversation has got you thinking about the importance of tall and petite sizing, and how we can incorporate these options to increase inclusivity of our designs.  If you’d like to learn more, pick up my guide Height Sizing Basics for Tops to get started.

Looking for more specifics on incorporating tall and petite sizing into your designs?  Stay tuned for updates on coursework coming your way this spring!

Ready to find your great fit?  Check out the Verdant Top, featuring height inclusive sizing.

Photography by Piotr Angiel