Cropping the Hummingbird Hoody

This tutorial shows you how to adjust the Hummingbird Hoody pattern to make it into a cropped version. We made up a cropped summer hoody, from a second hand 100% cotton bed sheet ($3.99 at Save Mart) and also a cropped mid season cotton fleece sweater (100% knit cotton with 95/5% cotton/lycra knit for the cuffs, waist and neck hems).

Details on how to attach either the hood or the neck band (for the sweater) are included in the pattern instructions.  The purpose of this tutorial is to explain how to adjust the waist hem to a crop, and subsequently, to change the length of the waistband (knit or woven, drawstring or not) to fit the new length.

Measure from the nape of your neck at the center front down to your desired crop length as indicated by the red K line on the measuring chart below. 

Measure length of crop top


There are 3 main options - a drawstring, knit cuff hem or simple fold under hem. You need to treat each differently and decide on the depth of your choice.

  • Drawstring - I made the Pink Sheet Cropped Hoody with a finished depth of 2cm (3/4") - so the width of the fabric piece is 6cm = (2 x (finished depth plus seam allowance)).
  • Knit cuff -The pattern for the knit waistband has a finished depth of  4.5cm (1 3/4") - so the width of the fabric piece is 11cm (4 1/4") = 2 x (finished depth plus seam allowance)).
  • Fold under hem - If you double turn under your hem 1cm + 1cm the extra hem allowance you will need is 2cm.

    Take the total crop length, minus the waistband depth and then add 1cm (3/8") seam allowance.  For example, if the finished length of the cropped hoody (including waistband) is to be 30cm (12"), then the length of the bodice piece (from neck to bottom edge) is:

    • For the drawstring waist example above 29cm=(30-2+1)
    • For the knit waistband example above 26.5cm=(30-4.5+1)
    • For a double turnover example above 32cm =(30+2). No seam allowance is required as there is no seperate waistband to sew on - it's a simple turn under of the bodice bottom edge.



    Fold under the bottom waist edge of the front bodice pattern piece to equal the length calculated in 3 above.

    Place the bodice front pattern piece on top of the back bodice pattern piece aligning the pieces at the underarm. Fold under the back bodice bottom edge to equal the front.

    Place the pieces on the fabric, mark around the edges and cut.



        (a) Drawstring hem : This can be drawn with either elastic or a piece of cord. You will need to create a tube for the elastic or cord to thread through. Your tube will need to be wide enough for whatever is being drawn through it (plus extra so it is not too tight). A standard hem tube is 2cm (3/4") deep so you will need to cut a length of fabric that is 6cm (2 1/3") wide (which includes seam allowances).

    The length of your drawstring tube will need to be exactly the same as the width of your bodice hem at the cropped length. The easiest way to measure this is to sew up your garment first and then measure the raw edge of the bodice.  Then cut your drawstring (or elastic) tube to the same length plus 2.5cm (1") - (this allows 1.5cm (5/8") to fold under at the waistband opening and a second 1cm (3/8") seam-see image below). For example, if half your bodice width is 46cm (18"), then your cut two waistband pieces at 48.5cm (19") long x 6cm (2 1/3") high.

    How to add a drawstring waist

    To make the waistband tube:

    •   With right sides together, sew the 1cm (3/8") seam.
    •   Then sew only 3 stitches at the top and bottom ends of the 1.5cm (5/8") seam to leave an open gap that the cord or elastic will be threaded through. Fold under the raw edges 75mm and then again 75mm, press and sew in place.

    Sewing a waistband openingSewing waistband opening on a Hoody

    • Now fold the waistband in half length way. Press.

    Fold waistband in half length way

    • With right sides together, slide the waistband over the bodice to align the raw edges (the waistband will look like it is upside down. Pin the waistband to the bodice with the waistband opening at the center front (if that is where you want your cord tie), or align it to a side seam if you are going to insert elastic. Sew in place and tidy the raw edge of the seam with a serger stitch or zig-zag (as shown).

    Finished drawstring waistband on hoody

    Insert the cord (or elastic) by attaching a safety pin to the end and drawing it through the tube. 

       (b)  Knit hem (made from a stretch knit fabric like a cotton/lycra mix. You will need a hemming fabric that has approximately 5% lycra in it). 

    • Take the KNIT WAISTBAND pattern piece from the Hoody pattern and adjust the depth if required (remember, it needs to be twice the desired depth plus 1cm (3/8") for seam allowance. I used the standard Knit Waistband depth of the pattern piece when making the following crop hoody (but I adjusted the length):

    Cropped hoody sewing pattern

    •  Cut out the 2 waistband pieces and line it up against the cropped waist. With the 2 x 1cm (3/8") seam allowances, the waistband should be approximately 2.5cm shorter than the raw edge of the bodice (a total of 4.5 including seam allowances). Please note that this does depend on how much stretch is in the waistband fabric, and also the weight of the waistband fabric vs the weight of the fabric in the bodice (these factors all influence the tension on the seam).  Generally, a good rule of thumb is to make the waistband 5-10% shorter than the bodice to give a nice ease and "draw" in. If the waistband is the same length as the bodice bottom it will tend to stick outwards.


    Attach waistband hem to crop hoody measure waistband crop hoody

    • With right sides together, sew the 2 waistband pieces together at the sides. 
    • Turn in the right way and fold in half length ways to form a ring.
    • Attach the waistband as per pattern instructions (Slide the waistband over the bodice in an "upside down" position so that the raw edges of the waistband are lined up with the raw edges of the bodice. Pin in place so that the side seams line up (on the waistband and the bodice). Mark the center front and center back of both the bodice and the waistband and pin together to create an even "ease" around the waistband. Sew in place, stretching the waistband slightly as you go to create an even ease.
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