Narrow & Wide Shoulder Adjustments

sewalong-5-1This is the final fit post before we jump into the sewing!

Generally, the outside finished shoulder seam of a standard sleeved bodice should end at the point of your shoulder – the little knobby bone you can feel if you push on it. A narrow shoulder adjustment may be needed if the dress falls off your shoulders or if the shoulders of your bodice are landing too far to the outside of your shoulder.

Conversely, if you feel that your shoulder seam is too far inside your shoulder, you can do a wide shoulder adjustment to add a little width to your bodice at the shoulder seam. The prep is the same for both.

First, decide how much wider/narrow you’d like the shoulder to be. Remember to account for the 5/8″ seam allowance of the arm hole.

Preparing Pattern Piece

sewalong-5-21. On the center front bodice, trace the stitching line of the shoulder seam. Also trace the stitching line of the armscye, down to where it starts to curve sharply.

sewalong-5-32.Find the center of your shoulder seam and use a ruler to draw a line from the shoulder center to the sleeve notch. This is line A.

sewalong-5-43. Draw a second line starting at the outer corner (cut edge) of the shoulder seam, through the corner of the seam line, to line A. This is line B.
(To clarify, the angle of this line is created by aligning the outer corner and the seam line corner with a ruler.)

sewalong-5-5
sewalong-5-64. Carefully cut through line A from the outer edge of the pattern piece to the seam line of the armscye, skipping over the seam line and continue cutting to the end the pattern piece.

sewalong-5-75. Cut line B from its meeting point with line A to the seam line, then skip over the seam line and cut to the end of the pattern. “Skipping” over the seam lines will create a small paper hinge.

Broad Shoulder Adjustment

sewalong-5-81. Bring an extra piece of paper behind the shoulder seam and tape. Extend the shoulder seam line by the amount you would like to add to the shoulder seam and mark, this is mark C.
2. Bring the other slashed side of line A to mark C and tape in place.

sewalong-5-93. Re-draw in seam allowances for the shoulder seam and the very end of the neckline.

Narrow Shoulder Adjustment

sewalong-5-101. Towards the left of line A, measure the amount you would like to remove from the shoulder along the shoulder seam line and mark. This is mark C.
2. Bring the other slashed side of line a to mark C and tape in place.

sewalong-5-11-13. Re-draw in seam allowances for the shoulder seam and the very end of the neckline.

Repeat any adjustment you do to the corresponding back bodice piece.

Y’all are such good sports, thanks for hanging in there while we perfect the fit of our Rues.
Next week we will cut out our pattern pieces, prep our fabric, and start sewing!

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The Rue Sewalong

  1. Welcome to the Rue Sewalong (9 Comments)
  2. Gather Fabric and Supplies (44 Comments)
  3. General Fit (69 Comments)
  4. Bust Height Adjustment (45 Comments)
  5. Small Bust Adjustment (9 Comments)
  6. Full Bust Adjustment (9 Comments)
  7. Narrow & Wide Shoulder Adjustments (21 Comments)
  8. Cutting & Prep (3 Comments)
  9. Constructing the Bodice
  10. Corrections to Rue Pattern
  11. Full Bust Adjustment- 2nd Edition (9 Comments)
  12. Small Bust Adjustment- 2nd Edition (26 Comments)
  13. Skirt Assembly (1 Comment)
  14. Lining and Zipper Insertion (2 Comments)
  15. Sleeves (2 Comments)
  16. Finishing (7 Comments)
  17. Your Rues (2 Comments)

Comments

Nadine

I often shorten the shoulder (straps) of the back bodice pieces of a garment as they tend to appear on the front which might be for the position of my shoulders or for not being that tall. Is shortening just fine or do I actually need another kind of adjustment?

Katie Whittle | colettehq.com

Hey Nadine, take a look at this tutorial for balancing the shoulder seam and armhole. This is the technique I recommend for shortening your back armhole.

I’ve lengthened by 1 inch so that the style line comes under my full bust, I have done a SBA and narrow shoulder adjustment. It mostly looks good but now I have considerable gaping at the armhole – can you advise how to fix this effectively?

Katie Whittle | colettehq.com

Hi Claire! Where is the gaping in the armhole? Front or back?

Hi katie, its in the front, lower half but is quite significant. I had to move the shoulder in by 2 inches….

Katie Whittle | colettehq.com

Would you be willing to send me a photo at service@colettepatterns.com?

Deanne

Ok, so now that we’re done with the adjustments, I have a question about one more. I have a larger rear and always have a problem with the back of my skirts riding up a couple of inches so that it looks much shorter than the front. (Not very flattering…..) I have used a skirt hemming measuring ruler but find that the skirt doesn’t always look right still. Is there a way to adjust the pattern for a large tush so the skirt looks nice? I am using size 14 grading the skirt for my hips to a 16 and doing a large gust adjustment. Thank you!

Katie Whittle | colettehq.com

Hey Deanne, take a look at this tutorial for adjusting a skirt for a full rear. I think this will work better for you rather than adjusting your hem. :)

Hooray! I have made about 4 muslins (!) and finally just went for it and started cutting out my good fabric. It’s coming together very well! (I did a SBA and a narrow shoulder adjustment).

Thank you Katie for your guidance!

Katie Whittle | colettehq.com

Of course! I’m excited to see how she turns out!

Deanne

Ok, so now that we’re done with the adjustments, I have a question about one more. I have a larger rear and always have a problem with the back of my skirts riding up a couple of inches so that it looks much shorter than the front. (Not very flattering…..) I have used a skirt hemming measuring ruler but find that the skirt doesn’t always look right still. Is there a way to adjust the pattern for a large tush so the skirt looks nice? I am using size 14 grading the skirt for my hips to a 16 and doing a large bust adjustment. Thank you!

Jennifer Park

With the Sorbetto top and Adelaide, the armhole rides up high and chokes my armpit. This is an issue I have often. In the past, I have cut the bottom portion of the armhole lower and lower until it fits. Is there a better way of doing this and how could I adjust the sleeves to fit the new armhole?

Katie Whittle | colettehq.com

Hey Jennifer! Here are some awesome step-by-step tutorials for lowering armholes and increasing sleeve cap ease. Let me know if you need more help!

Ashley

Hi Katie! I did a SBA and narrow shoulder adjustment on my muslin, but now I’ve got a gaping front neckline and excess fabric above the tucks. Perhaps I need a hollow chest adjustment? If so, could you point me toward a good tutorial? Thanks for your help!

Katie Whittle | colettehq.com

Hey Ashley, do you mind sending us a photo of your muslin with the poofy chest? I think it would be easier to make sure that I am recommending the right adjustment from a photo :)

Katie Whittle | colettehq.com

Hey Ashley! This tutorial may be perfect. The other option is to reduce the size of the tucks, which in turn with reduce the amount of fabric at the upper chest.

Ashley

I had looked at that exact tutorial wondering if I could pinch out the excess fabric! I need to pinch close to a seam line so I can pivot and redraw my neckline, right? I’m having a hard time figuring out where to knab that poof, especially with the tucks and the bodice fold line nearby (and getting in my way).

Katie Whittle | colettehq.com

Hey Ashley! In case you haven’t seen the announcement, we have decided to reprint the pattern due to some drafting issues including the one you are running into. We did release a tutorial for fixing the style line placement but not the gaping neckline, which may be a result of the armscye drafting. The Sewalong will be postponed until October 25 but I am happy to work with you to fix issues you may run into. You are welcome to email me at service@colettepatterns.com anytime!

Rachael

The neck is so wide on me that the inside of the shoulder hits where the outside should (that bony point), is this something I can solve with the shoulder adjustment? Is there something else I should do?

Katie Whittle | colettehq.com

Hey Rachel, do you mind sending me a photo at service@colettepatterns.com?

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