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Message Board > Fitting Woes > raising the underarm ( Moderated by CarolynGM, Deepika)

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raising the underarm
SVN
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Date: 1/22/13 8:16 AM

I need to raise the underarm on a jacket - it is currently more than 3" below my actual underarm and I can't lift my arm when I wear it. I want to also raise the sleeve at the sleeve points (seam) to match. When I don't raise both at the same time, the sleeve doesn't fit well in this area.
Is there anything inherently wrong with raising the sleeve points, from a pattern-making/balance/etc perspective? Will I create problems for myself?
Any thoughts appreciated!

Debbie Lancaster
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Date: 1/22/13 12:27 PM

The extra ease at the underarm is there so that you can wear a shirt underneath it. Would there be sufficient ease for the shirt if you raised the underarm seam?

In a jacket, you should be able to raise your arms about 45 degrees from the side.

If you raise the underarm, you'll have to narrow the sleeve, which could also lead to problems of ease in the sleeve itself.

You could trace your pattern in a smaller size at the armscye and sleeve to test it in a muslin. That would preserve the proportions.

I don't understand what you mean by sleeve points.
-- Edited on 1/22/13 12:27 PM --

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Debbie

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Date: 1/22/13 5:49 PM

Hi Debbie,
To be clear, I mean a suit jacket, not an outdoors jacket.
I have just tried on every suit jacket I own - more than a dozen ranging from high-end to zara and h&m. Not a single one has an armscye lower than 1.5" under the armpit and most are 1". I can raise my arm over my head in every single one of them. So I don't agree that it is impossible or undesirable - it clearly isn't!

My question, is simply whether, when raising the armhole on any bodice (shirt, jacket, whatever), you can fix the sleeve to match by raising a similar amount between the notches and the seamline, i.e., the sleeve points. This is recommended by some people as a better alternative to narrowing the sleeve.
-- Edited on 1/22/13 5:50 PM --

Debbie Lancaster
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Date: 1/22/13 6:09 PM

Yes, you're right, I wasn't thinking it through carefully. Why not just make a muslin of the jacket and see if it gives you the fit you want?

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Debbie

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Date: 1/23/13 7:01 AM

To keep the sleeve circumference you may need do both as you suggested. Sloping shoulders, round back, and other body variations help determine which areas between notches need adjusting.
So if you reduce the circumference by raising the armhole, generally you need to add it back somewhere. The circumference of the sleeve piece needs to fit the circumference of the armhole. Measure the armhole circumference on a garment that fits you and then you will have your starting point.
When I was young and pencil thin, an armhole 1-2 inches below would show my bra. But now that I an older and heavier I need that much to make it comfortable.

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Date: 1/23/13 11:46 AM

A few ideas....

You could make a horizontal fold on the front and back pattern piece and do a corresponding fold across the sleeve at the notches.

Depends on the detals of the collar/ lapel.

Or check out an alteration book on how to just raise the armhole without changing anything else on the body of the jacket.

Be sure the sleeve will still fit you by comparing to your other jackets.
-- Edited on 1/23/13 11:47 AM --

RMJ
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Date: 1/23/13 5:54 PM

I do just what you describe: "raising a similar amount between the notches and the seamline, i.e., the sleeve points."

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Date: 1/23/13 7:38 PM

Thanks, RMJ. Does it look 'normal'? I ask because the only time I've seen this suggested by an expert, it was done in conjunction with a spread in the bicep area (Lynda Maynard's cut-on gusset). I'm wondering why she thinks that this spread is necessary and why you can't just raise armhole and sleeve!
-- Edited on 1/23/13 11:29 PM --
-- Edited on 1/23/13 11:29 PM --

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Date: 1/23/13 9:03 PM

At 5'4" I raise the armholes on most jackets. It's an easy alteration.

On the front and back pattern pieces I draw a box that starts about mid-armhole and ends about 1" down the side seam. I cut out this box, slide it up then fill in the gap with tissue and true the seams.

The sleeve is a little trickier. I find I need to alter in two ways. First I take a horizontal tuck across the sleeve cap at mid-cap but only for half the amount. I then take a vertical tuck, one on the front and one on the back of the sleeves for the other half. This gives me a sleeve that sews into the armhole with a sleeve cap that isn't too flat. Personally I find if I take a tuck the full amount across the sleeve, the sleeve doesn't hang correctly. HTH

-- Edited on 1/23/13 9:05 PM --

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Belinda. Melbourne, Australia
http://sew-4-fun.blogspot.com/

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Date: 1/25/13 11:16 PM

Thanks sew4fun,
Can I ask, why don't you just raise the sleeves (between notches and seams) to match the underarm? This way there would be no excess ease and it wouldn't alter the cap fit. Am I missing something?
Thanks

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