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Message Board > Beginner's Forum > Fitting the shoulders ( Moderated by EleanorSews)

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Fitting the shoulders
First fitted shirt/jacket
Charbucks
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Charbucks
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Date: 11/8/12 12:14 PM

I'm getting ready to start my second garment ever, the jacket portion of New Look 6867. According to my measurements, I'm size 8-10 in the bust, 10-12 in the waist, and exactly 10 in the hips. However, based on the measurements of the finished garment (with 8" of ease!), I'm planning to make the 8, or maybe even try to take it in a bit (for comparison, the finished measurements of the size 8 are about the same as my Pea Coat that goes on top of multiple layers!).

My concern is with the shoulders. I have fairly muscular and square shoulders, and it's usually where I have a problem fitting RTW clothes (XS or size 0-4). I don't really know how to go about measuring my shoulders and the corresponding pattern for fit, or how to modify it if need be. Any advice?
-- Edited on 11/8/12 12:15 PM --

Blaceyda
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Date: 11/8/12 12:22 PM

I'm also relatively new to sewing, so hopefully someone more experienced can chime in, but I just thought I'd mention that I've been reading Nancy Zieman, and she advises that the neck and shoulders are the most difficult areas to fit, and to choose a pattern by something called the 'right size measurement' to fit the shoulders and then adjust the rest of the pattern to fit the rest of your body. If you have a look at her book, Pattern Fitting with Confidence, on Amazon, in the book preview, all the details about the right size measurement are visible, so you can get an overview.

solosmocker
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Date: 11/8/12 1:24 PM

I was just going to mention Nancy Zieman as well. She has a chart to use to purchase your pattern by your upper bust as measured from arm crease to arm crease at the upper chest. I have very narrow shoulders and this has worked wonderfully. Then I just do a Full Bust adjustment and let the hips out and I am good. The book I use is Fitting Finesse by Zieman which can be had pretty inexpensively on Amazon but she does have a newer fitting book as well. I highly recommend her techniques. I find them easy and clear and they have worked for me.

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Charbucks
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Date: 11/8/12 2:22 PM

Thanks for the Nancy Zieman recommendation, I'll check that out. There's a Kobo version, so I can get instant gratification!

According to the Amazon preview with the "right size" measurement, it says I'm a size 10 still (13" armpit to armpit). I guess I'm lucky with a "standard" B cup bust! However, I still think the pattern has far too much ease - should I just do the shoulders of the 10 and make the rest a cut-down 8? 8" of design ease seems crazy, especially for someone my size.

I'm thinking I might have to do a muslin before committing with my pretty dark purple corduroy...

avatrx

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In reply to solosmocker <<


Date: 11/10/12 9:23 AM

Quote: solosmocker
I was just going to mention Nancy Zieman as well. She has a chart to use to purchase your pattern by your upper bust as measured from arm crease to arm crease at the upper chest. I have very narrow shoulders and this has worked wonderfully. Then I just do a Full Bust adjustment and let the hips out and I am good. The book I use is Fitting Finesse by Zieman which can be had pretty inexpensively on Amazon but she does have a newer fitting book as well. I highly recommend her techniques. I find them easy and clear and they have worked for me.

At one point would you use the upper bust? Perhaps my question is more of an adjustment question. I'm not sure how to ask this: If you upper bust is 39 and your hip measurement is 44. Full bust is 43, that would indicate a much smaller size that I had always thought I should get (size 22). I've always measured upper bust by measuring completely around - just under my arms. am I doing that right?

I have the pattern fitting book somewhere. I will have to look for it, but is that the book that details how to do this? I guess I don't recall reading that. I bought the book many years ago.

thanks!
-susie
goodworks1
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In reply to avatrx <<


Date: 11/10/12 10:24 AM

Quote: avatrx
At one point would you use the upper bust? Perhaps my question is more of an adjustment question. I'm not sure how to ask this: If you upper bust is 39 and your hip measurement is 44. Full bust is 43, that would indicate a much smaller size that I had always thought I should get (size 22). I've always measured upper bust by measuring completely around - just under my arms. am I doing that right?

Nancy Z does not use the upper bust measurement.

She uses a measurement you take looking in the mirror and measuring from underarm crease to underarm crease and then you use a chart she provides to determine your starting size so the neck and shoulder area will fit correctly.

And then, yes, you adjust the lower part of your pattern up or down depending on what your measurements are and the ease you prefer.

Take a look at the AZ link referred to above.

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Speech girl
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In reply to Charbucks <<


Date: 11/10/12 2:35 PM

Having square shoulders myself, I recommend either tissue fitting or making a muslin with 1" seam allowances at the shoulder seam and pinning them so they look good. Mark how much you need to raise the shoulders, redraw the shoulder line on the front and back bodices (at this point you can reduce the seam allowance and cut off extra fabric. You will have to add the same amount to the bottom of the armhole as you raised the shoulder seam, tapering into the existing armscye about 1/3 way up.

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solosmocker
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Date: 11/10/12 9:29 PM

Thanks, goodwords, for clearing that up. Before Nancy I would buy the pattern by my total upper chest measurement but using her chart has really helped.

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Charbucks
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Date: 11/13/12 1:46 PM

Okay, update time!

I made a muslin in size 8 (including one sleeve). It fit pretty much perfectly everywhere, except for the back of the shoulders - I needed to take about half an inch off the back (opposite of a "foreward shoulder adjustment?").

Then, since my fabric is much thicker than my muslin fabric (corduroy vs an old sheet), I sewed the side hems at half an inch rather than 5/8ths. Since my cutting and sewing isn't perfect anyways, I basically just erred on the side of too small a seam allowance rather than too big.

I haven't attached the sleeves yet, but I've done everything else, and so far so good! I think I'm learning that I should take these sizes with a grain of salt. I measure at a size 10 (even using Nancy Zieman's method), but the size 8 pattern seems to be much more appropriate. Otherwise, I think I'm pretty lucky to not need to make much in the way of adjustments.

solosmocker
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Date: 11/13/12 9:03 PM

Glad you have been able to figure out what works for you. The reason Zieman uses the crease to crease method is because it is far more difficult to alter the neckline, shoulders, armholes, etc. than getting that area to fit and just do a full bust adjustment if necessary.

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http://lasewist.blogspot.com/

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