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Message Board > Sewing Techniques and Tips > Keeping shoulder straps in place ( Moderated by MissCelie)

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Keeping shoulder straps in place
Traiven3d
Traiven3d
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Member since 5/2/11
Posts: 36
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Date: 9/7/12 7:14 PM

Hey all, I recently finished a tank top made from very stretchy knit fabric, with bound edges. While the fit of the rest of the shirt is suspect and the pattern is going to need a lot of changes, the biggest problem area is the shoulder straps.

I have quite broad shoulders that slope down at a fairly extreme angle, and the shoulder straps slide down with wear, and the whole shirt ends up looking really sloppy. The back of the shirt ends up gaping away from the body.

I have a few ideas. For one I think cutting the straps at an angle that matches the slope of my shoulders might help. Given that the fabric is very stretchy (it doubles in width in both directions), I'm thinking the whole upper body of the pattern needs to be scaled down. and then expands outwards to drape away from the body.

I'd love any input or suggestions. Thanks guys!

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http://sewstrong.wordpress.com/

jadamo00
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jadamo00
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NY USA
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Date: 9/7/12 7:18 PM

Okay, I know this isn't the sewing advice you really want but THIS is what competitive weightlifters use to keep those teensy suits in place...

Anything?



j.

stirwatersblue
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stirwatersblue
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KS USA
Member since 12/13/08
Posts: 3070
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Date: 9/7/12 7:30 PM

I am petite above the bust and have narrow shoulders, and this has been a problem on nearly every dress or bodice I've ever made myself. I finally figured out that the key is to make the back higher, and have the back neckline be as narrow as possible.

These aren't tank tops, obviously, but I think the principle still applies. You can see in this dress how the low, square neckline is causing the straps (which are actually bias cut to hug my shoulders nicely) to slip off--particularly when you add the weight of the sleeves. But I never have a problem with this dress, because the V-neckline keeps the straps in line until the point at which they cross my shoulders--there's no way for them to slip off, even though they're set quite wide, at the edge of my shoulders.

You might try cutting a smaller size in the upper back, and see if that helps--or at least mimicking the interior neckline of a smaller size (if going down won't work with your broad shoulders). I'm also wondering if your knit might not have gotten a bit stretched out as you were working with it (this also happened with my coral-colored dress; I hung it on a hanger all season, and now the loose straps are even longer! ).
-- Edited on 9/7/12 7:32 PM --

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~Gem in the prairie

Immelu
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Immelu  Friend of PR
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KS USA
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thumbsup 1 member likes this.
Date: 9/8/12 0:01 AM

Another option besides a wholesale design change would be to bind the inside of the neck a hair tighter than you are now. Another thing...the neck area may just be too big. If you pinched a bit out of center front/back that might position the shoulder straps in a better spot. It's also possible the shoulder straps may just be a bit too long. Pin them up a the shoulder seam and see if that helps.

If you have a tank that fits well, you could try copying it, or take some measurements and see where the differences are.

One other thought...usually on knits, I sew elastic into the shoulder seams to keep them from stretching too much. I use the good clear elastic and serge it on. Don't even waste your money on the cheap stuff. There are threads about the good vs bad, so just do a search. I've even used the elastic around neckbands and armholes if I wanted them snug. Apply it at a 1 to 1 ratio. serge or zigzag onto the wrong side, turn under and topstitch.
-- Edited on 9/8/12 0:09 AM --

PattyE
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PattyE  Friend of PR
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MI
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Date: 9/8/12 11:20 AM

If all else fails...Hollywood Fashion Tape.

Traiven3d
Traiven3d
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Date: 9/13/12 2:52 AM

Thanks so much for all your replies! I think i'll skip the tape and glue, lol!

stirwatersblue: I think you hit the nail on the head! I'm going to raise the back higher. It seems that with all the stretch in the fabric that any space at the back doubles when the garment hangs on the body. I compared the depth to my favorite RTW tank tops and noticed that all of them have rather high backs, and the ones that never fit so well have lower back openings. I may even draft the straps closer together knowing that they'll eventually slide a bit as they hang.

Immelu: Thanks for the elastic tip, I might just give that a shot around the neckline to see if that keeps it from warping when it hangs on the body.

I also discovered that I've been adjusting my differential feed on the coverstitch machine in the exact opposite direction I should be. The next run through should be a LOT smoother!

Thanks again!
-- Edited on 9/13/12 12:26 PM --

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http://sewstrong.wordpress.com/

Traiven3d
Traiven3d
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Member since 5/2/11
Posts: 36
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Date: 9/13/12 6:06 PM

I posted up a picture on my blog of a T-shirt that I modified using the tank top pattern I have (McCall's 3438). You can see that even with a stiffer knit, the arms seem to want to slant away from the neck and slide down the shoulders. I'm thinking that I'll reduce the entire width of the neck opening by attaching a strip of contrasting material around it.

------
http://sewstrong.wordpress.com/

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