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Message Board > "Gigi's" Expert Forum - (READ ONLY) > Uneven shoulders

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Uneven shoulders
Can shoulders be fit differently?
kerina
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kerina
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Member since 1/1/03
Posts: 9
Date: 1/14/03 8:42 AM

I've mapped my body as described in FFRP and have found that one shoulder slopes more than the other.  I also have just one forward shoulder (the more sloping one).  Can I do shoulder alterations on only one half of my body or will this throw off the lines of my garment?
I am also curious about sleaveless dresses.  I had assumed that I would not need to do the shoulder alterations on a sleaveless sundress but after having just made one I'm no longer so sure.  I still see a gap at the back of my off shoulder and the seam seems a bit far back, also the back of the neck seems a bit low. Are alterations for shoulders done on sleaveless dresses?

Gigi Louis
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Gigi Louis
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Member since 4/4/02
Posts: 7876
Date: 1/14/03 10:17 AM

Hi Kerina!  Yes, you will have to make those shoulder adjustments on any garment.  Now, in a jacket or coat you may choose to simply use a slightly larger shoulder pad on the low side to visually balance your shoulders.  On a garment without shoulder pads you would alter for the sloped, forward shoulder just on that side.  Otherwise, your asymmetry would be accentuated because that side will never hang correctly resulting in wrinkles/drag lines.  Depending on how forward your shoulder is you may be able to just cut for the higher shoulder and then alter the sloped/forward side.  That would really simplify cutting because you wouldn't have to make a full pattern and cut single layer.

kerina
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kerina
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Member since 1/1/03
Posts: 9
Date: 1/14/03 11:03 AM

Thank Gigi!  I think I'll be able to just cut for the higher shoulder as you suggest, as the difference in slope is not extreme.  I can't wait to try it.  Having clothes that fit right is a dream I've had for a long time.  I've become so dissatisfied over the last few years I have been almost entirely unwilling to buy clothes in the store, everything seems to look wrong.  Learning to sew has gotten me so jazzed I can hardly sleep at night.  I just want to get up and keep sewing!

NancyDaQ
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NancyDaQ
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NM USA
Member since 1/12/02
Posts: 3838
Date: 1/14/03 11:12 AM

I have this same problem, too and just wanted to add a another twist to the issue. On the sloped (low) side, check to see how the neck hangs. You may get a little gapping on the low  side, especially on v-necks, vests, and jackets. Easy to adjust while you are working on the shoulder issue for if you are aware of the possibility.

------
Now blogging at http://sewwest.blogspot.com

Gigi Louis
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Gigi Louis
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Member since 4/4/02
Posts: 7876
Date: 1/14/03 2:05 PM

Kerina, be sure you have enough length at the back armscye to adjust for your forward shoulder.  If you don't have a drastically forward shoulder you should have enough with the excess fabric due to the sloping but I just wanted you to be aware.  Good luck!

kerina
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kerina
Beginner
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Member since 1/1/03
Posts: 9
Date: 1/15/03 12:32 PM

Thanks, for all your advice!  I cut out a muslin today for a simple dress I want to try and did the sloping shoulder and forward shoulder alteration.  The sloping shoulder alteration seemed to improve the fit, but even after the forward shoulder alteration I had a large gap at the back of the neck.  I know I have a much rounder back on that side due to my scoliosis, and that it has gotten a bit worse over the years, so I decided to try the high round back alteration.  I folded the muslin in half and cut as suggested in FFRP.  When I tried it on afterwards, the back neckline was much higher (a big improvement) but I still had a significant gaping.  I then tried the very round back alteration.  I slashed the muslin 6 inches below the neckline, and tried it on again.  This showed little improvement.  I then realised that the slash was well below the fullest part of my back.  I also realised I had been doing something really stupid.  I hadn't considered that doing this alteration would actually create more gaping in an unfinished muslin.  Some of this extra fabric, I think, is taken out again by easing into the neck facing or adding extra darts, or even a back seam.  Is that right?  Would I see more gaping at the neckline after slashing the full back of a muslin even if it was the right alteration?  Anyhow, thinking this might make sense, I started from scratch and cut the muslin 5'' from the neckline, then I cut the back in half and pinned a back seam to test the theory.  This worked nicely.  The slash was over the fullest part of the round side of my back and the neck didn't gape anymore.  I'm sorry for the long post, but I am really new to this, and I want to understand the process.  If anyone has any advice on things I might have done differently I would appreciate it greatly.  Thanks again!!

Gigi Louis
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Gigi Louis
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Member since 4/4/02
Posts: 7876
Date: 1/15/03 1:06 PM

Wow!  You are doing quite well on your own, talking yourself through the steps.  BTW, I prefer to have a center back seam in most of my garments because it's easier to fine-tune the fit through the back.  When you do the round back alteration with a CB seam you will just sew the curved seam and then ease in the neckline as needed to hug your neck.  If you prefer to forego the CB seam you would slash at the shoulder to straighten the CB and add a shoulder dart.  You are right on track, keep us posted.

NancyDaQ
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NancyDaQ
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NM USA
Member since 1/12/02
Posts: 3838
Date: 1/15/03 3:42 PM

I agree, sounds like you're doing great at diagnosing yourself. Gail Grigg Hazen had an alteration she called an "Emily" that she used for this, as well. I will pull her book when I get home to describe it for you.

------
Now blogging at http://sewwest.blogspot.com

kerina
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kerina
Beginner
ON CANADA
Member since 1/1/03
Posts: 9
Date: 1/17/03 7:14 AM

Thank you both again so much for your replies.  I'm afraid I chickened out of the center back seam since I had never done one before and was unsure of how I would do it with the neckline facing.  But I think I will be bolder in my next project.  For this reason, in the end I went with the high round alteration which did help somewhat.  I also realised that after that alteration the forward shoulder alteration was still needed on that side.  Those two fixes made a difference that I could notice, but I still think the neckline is a bit too loose at the back.  In the end though the dress drooped in the back quite a bit.  I think I will add an alteration for my flat backside next time too.

I have another question.  I find that the back is overall a little big on me.  If I took a tuck from neckline to hem would this reduce the neck gaping as well?

nanflan: I am very interested in the technique you mentioned.  If it isn't too much trouble I would really appreciate it if you could describe it.  But if it's too complex to explain here, I can look it up myself. So don't go to a lot of trouble.  Thanks!

Gigi Louis
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Gigi Louis
Advanced
Member since 4/4/02
Posts: 7876
Date: 1/17/03 8:32 AM

Generally, you would not take a tuck through the neckline unless you were grading the pattern down.  The tuck would be through the shoulder so it wouldn't help with the excess fabric you have at the back neck.  I would recommend that you add the CB seam next time or move the excess neckline fabric to a shoulder dart.

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