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Forum > Fitting Woes > Altering RTW in shoulder/upper chest area ( Moderated by CarolynGM, Deepika)

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Altering RTW in shoulder/upper chest area
need help to figure out how to alter RTW blouses
Symon
Symon  Friend of PR
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CANADA
Member since 9/17/11
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Date: 3/22/12 5:16 PM

HI All! Recently I discovered that I have been buying patterns too big in order to fit my bust (D cup) and as such, have also discovered why everything I've ever made or purchased or had made for me, was so massive in the upper chest and shoulder area!! Eureka! LOL

Last year I had two beautiful Victorian-inspired blouses made for me, but the shoulders are much too wide and so what I'd like to do is alter them so that they fit me a bit better. I realize that they're still gonna be a bit big in the upper chest area, and that's OK, but I wondered if anyone has any tips on how to make this alteration?

My guess is that I'll have to remove the set-in sleeves, shave some width off the shoulder seam/armscye, and then reset the sleeves. Is this correct?

Thanks!!

sewinglady4u
sewinglady4u
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Date: 3/22/12 10:00 PM

Yes, you've got the right idea. You'll also get rid of some of the extra on the shoulder blades and upper chest because moving the sleeve up will take some of the fullness out of those areas too.

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Consew 7360R, Singer 14U overlock, Necchi 521, Pfaff 900, US Blind Stitch 718-2, Singer New Family 12K treadle

Fictionfan
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Date: 3/22/12 11:50 PM

One problem I can think of is that if you take off the sleeves and cut away excess fabric from the armhole to narrow the chest, you could end up enlarging the armhole or cause it to have too little fabric where you still need it. The closer the armhole is to your body, the more range of motion you will have at the shoulder. There are at least two recent threads about fitting sleeves and difficulty moving arms that discuss this issue. If you cut away from the area and make the armhole bigger = further from the body contours, especially at the underarm area, you get pulling of the fabric of the body of the blouse when the shoulder moves. If you add fabric and make the armhole tighter to the body, you have more freedom of motion without pulling at the bodice.

I suggest that you don't take the sleeves off to start and don't cut away any fabric until you are sure that you have as good a fit as you can get.

Put the blouse on, pinch away the extra fabric where you see folds and draping line appear and pin them out. It really helps to have someone else pinch out the fabric if you can get a helper. It is important to see how the garment will hang after alteratons before you cut anything. If you don't have a helper, try using a digital camera to get an idea of where the drape and pull lines are when you are relaxed and when you move your arms forward, outward, and upward. If you don't have someone to help, you could also use chalk to draw where your armscye seamline should be when the blouse is on your body. Then it is a matter of figuring out how to move the seam to that place without causing other fitting problems.

You may want to consider creating some pleats or adding shoulder darts to decrease the width of the upper chest without losing the fabric that you need at the bust and at armhole area for movement. If the blouse has pleats or tucks or something like that, it would be easy to hide darting in or under the pleats/tucks.

I can also envision pinching out from the upper armhole and lateral shoulder seam without altering the width of the bust or the lower armhole. You would then rip out only the upper armscye and leave the lower armscye intact. You would not change anything about the sleeve itself unless this produces a big discrepancy in the seam lines of the armscye and sleeve.

If you do have too much fabric at the armhole, indicated by folds that point to the armhole, you could consider taking out fabric with an armhole dart. If you do this, the sleeve seam line is not going to match the armhole seam line, so the sleeve cap may need a bit of adjustment or you could gather it a bit to take in the excess ease. Being Victorian style blouses and not shirts, that kind of alteration may work well with these garments.

Post some pictures if you can. I'd love to see before and after shots. And there is plenty of free help here if you post work-in-progress photos for assistance. We may not always be right, but we're free!

If you haven't heard about it yet, check out Palmer/Pletsch's DVD Full-Busted. It is a must have, IMO, for anyone with a full bust who wants to sew clothes that fit, and for anyone who is sewing for someone with a greater than B-cup bust size. NAYY. PR sells the DVD, so you can get the info easily by going to the Shop Patterns & More tab at the top of the webpage. Scroll down to the middle/bottom of the page where the P/P links are. There are several reviews of the DVD, including one that I wrote, under Sewing Books reviews. I don't recall reading any that were negative.

HTH.

------
Fictionfan

margk

margk  Friend of PR
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Date: 3/23/12 0:34 AM

Thanks for posting this. Symon, I have only just worked this out as well (although I am a C cup , but quite narrow shoulders).
Fictionfan, thanks for your input. Great information!

------
Marg
Tamworth NSW Australia Bernina 1130, Bernina 810B Babylock Imagine Wave Elna 614DE Janome Coverpro 1000 CPX

beauturbo
beauturbo
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In reply to Symon <<


Date: 3/23/12 0:48 AM

I would try something else first actually. Try just manipulating your fabric at shoulders, by making and just pinning some tucks in there, right across the existing shoulder seams, as a "design feature" and depending on the style of blouse you might like it or not. without cutting anything at all. And just see how it looks. You could always just try that. Also maybe if you have no shoulder pads, you could put some in too.

Because with your way of doing it that you mentioned, I think your armholes are just going to get bigger and bigger and maybe not the effect that you would want. So even though you would think if something is too "big" that gives you enough existing fabric in it to make it smaller someplace instead, that might not be really happening there, in all cases, always, and maybe not in just that one spot- you probably just have to check to see.

Symon
Symon  Friend of PR
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Date: 3/29/12 3:13 PM

Thanks so much, everybody for your input!Most helpful :)
Fictionfan your suggestions are great! I will do some before/after pics for sure! Thanks so much :)
-- Edited on 3/29/12 3:16 PM --

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