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Sway back/rounded shoulders ... again
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sewbusy

sewbusy
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Georgia USA
Member since 11/16/03
Posts: 132
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Date: 5/30/04 4:16 PM

I'm getting really frustrated... I've tried that horizontal dart along the waistline that tapers into nothing at the sideseams and every time I sew up another t-shirt, it seems that I need to fold more out.  But then the hem just hikes up my butt. On top of that, with rounded shoulders, the more I fit my tee, the worse it looks.  I'm not even sure I know how a correctly fitted garment is supposed to look on my figure type. Is it supposed to be form fitting? Or just skim my back from the shoulder area and sort of skip over the sway back and hang straight without extra wrinkles? I'm either doing something wrong (like sewing an S-shaped center back seam) or I need to accept the fact t-shirts just aren't flattering on me.  They either accentuate my bad posture and look good everywhere else or they have to be baggy enough to hang from the shoulders and then make me look 20 pounds heavier. :cry:

Karla Kizer
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Karla Kizer  Friend of PR
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Date: 5/30/04 6:57 PM

I have to make the same alterations for my DD; her back is wide with rounded shoulder blades, front chest is narrow, and she is just slightly swaybacked.  Since she is a 20-something-just-out-of-college, you know what that means: everything has to be tight.   :unhappy:  I can usually find a flattering compromise between too-snug and flattering by cutting the back of her garments 1/2 to 1 size larger than the front; the back shoulder seam is eased to to fit the front.  I cut the sleeves the same size as the front and ever-so-slightly ease the back armholeto fit the smaller sleeve.  That way I'm allowing a little more length in the upper back for those shoulder blades, but keeping the armhole depth and sleeve true to the snugger fit that she likes.  In the lower torso, above the waist, I make that dart-shaped fold that you mentioned; I have to add a center back seam if the pattern doesn't include one.

It could be that you simply don't like yourself in snug-fitting knit tops; I don't wear snug-fitting knit pants because no matter how exquisitely well I can fit my saddle-bag thighs, I don't think a wrinkle-free, snug fit in that area is what I should be aiming for.  The general public would agree, I'm sure  ;)  But trying to get a wrinkle-and-pull-free fit at least minimizes drawing attention to poor fit in a problem area.  How many of us have compared notes about sitting in church and airports and mentally doing alterations on the clothes around us by "reading the wrinkles"....  I would aim for a smooth fit in the back of your shirts - not tight, but smooth.  You might not like the way your back is shaped, but wrinkles and strain lines will just point the problem out to others.  And covering up with baggy clothes?  Not flattering either, as you stated.  Good luck finding a happy middle ground.

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“Never try to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and it annoys the pig.” -Robert Heinlein and Ann's father. Thanks for the reminder, Ann.

Where are we going, and what am I doing in this handbasket?

Matthew 25:40 (New International Version)
The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'



els
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els
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International NETHERLANDS
Member since 1/28/03
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Date: 5/30/04 7:19 PM

Alterations for a sway back:
You start with a top with a centre back seam or if your pattern does not have one draw one by first determinate where the waistline is and draw this waistline horizontally to the centre back.
For a form fitted top you can draw a new centre back seam line by measuring ¾ inch (2 cm) from the centre back inwards towards the side seam, and at hip wide you also measure the same distance, now you can draw your new line starting at the neckline to the waistline and further down to the hipline. Remember to draw a new grain line peculiar at the old centre back line.
For a sway back you can draw a new line 3/8 inch (1 cm) at the waistline and from the neck draw this new line towards the new marked point at the waist. If your butt is average then draw the new line from the waist till the already new line at hip wide, if your butt is a bit more than average draw a new line 3/8 inch outside the already drawn line.
For a round upper  back you need more room there:
Measure the length of the armhole and divide in half, at the upper half line draw a line from armhole to centre back if you need to add maximum 5/8 inch (1,5 cm) than one line drawing is enough if you need more length measure 2 inches above the horizontal line and draw another one, and another one if necessary.
Now you cut the line(s) open from the centre back but not through the armhole just a hairline away.
Add a piece of paper underneath the opening and add the amount you need to add. The centre back seam is not a straight line anymore but that does not matter, the top has to fit your figure well and it can look like an odd shape from the pattern but it must look good on you that’s the point.
The more you add at the upper back the rounder the shape will be, so it can look like a strange pattern, but the most important thing is that it will look good on your body.
(I am making a top for my mother; she is 83 and has a very rounded upper back so I need to add more than 2 inches.)
The now new centre back line must be fluent so you can redraw the upper back with a fluent line and for the upper part the grain line does not correspond anymore so you have to redraw that part at the upper back side.
I hope you can visualise what I have written, remember please English is not my first language.

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els
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els
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International NETHERLANDS
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Date: 5/31/04 6:30 AM

I have drawn an example on how to do the above alteration
alteration top

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Leslie in Austin
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Leslie in Austin  Friend of PR
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Date: 5/31/04 8:58 AM

Thanks for the tips, Els!  I'll definitely be using those alterations.

-Leslie

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Leslie

sewbusy

sewbusy
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Georgia USA
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Date: 6/1/04 3:34 PM

Thanks for the detailed reply, Els.  After looking at the picture, I realized that's basically what I'm doing, without all the forethought.  I'll review the amount I'm adding/removing in all the various places.  But I think Karla may have hit it on the head.  I just don't like the silhouette that's created once the top fits correctly.

KimB

KimB
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California USA
Member since 3/8/04
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Date: 6/3/04 5:40 PM

Sewbusy,

I have the exact problem with looser-fitting tops, a style that I like wearing.  Even though I'm young, I have a very rounded upper back (thanks to my Dad's side of the family!), and fabric hangs straight down from there, without curving in toward my lower back.  Not a flattering look.  I also thought I needed a swayback alteration, but what ends up working for me is the following:

1.  Slash and spread to add a total of 3/4" in length to the center back, adding a center back seam if necessary and tapering to nothing at the armhole.  I add 3/8" about 7 inches down from the back neckline, and another 3/8" about an inch down from the back neckline.  You should adjust the amount that you add until you don't get 'drag' lines pointing up from the side waist toward your upper back.

2.  Add vertical back darts to the pattern.  I use darts from a well-fitting pattern, and trace them onto the pattern I'm using, aligning the waistline markings of the two patterns.  The darts will decrease the ease at the back waistline by about two inches, depending on the width of your darts, and should produce a much more flattering top.  For me, the vertical darts correct what I had thought was a swayback problem, by contouring the fabric to fit my curves.

I make these alterations on looser woven tops and most knit tops, to acheive a looser fit that still follows the body instead of  bagging out and adding bulk.

mClones
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mClones
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New York USA
Member since 3/18/03
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Date: 6/3/04 9:02 PM

Yes, thanks for those tips, els.  Swayback is one area I have yet to tackle but armed with your simple diagrams, I will!

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Mina

Katharine in BXL
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Katharine in BXL
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Date: 6/7/04 0:06 AM

Thanks Els & Kimber for all the info!  I have an unfinished knit top on my sewing table; because there is just too much ease in the back.  I've been wondering whether I should insert vertical back darts or make a CB seam, tapering to a tiny seam allowance at the neckline.  Removing from the sides made funny wrinkles.  Whatever happens, the next time I make this top I'll retrace the back with one of those alterations.  Thanks for your help!  Els, looking forward to meeting you at PR weekend in Amsterdam!

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#3 ETA in late February 2015, DD (2010) and DS (2011) excited.
The perennial intermediate. No wherewithall for advanced technical projects.
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a7yrstitch
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a7yrstitch  Friend of PR
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Texas USA
Member since 4/1/08
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In reply to sewbusy <<


Date: 4/1/12 7:24 PM

Bumping and adding future search term.

swaybackthread

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I have no idea what Apple thought I was saying so be a Peach and credit anything bizarre to auto correct.

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