Shoulder adjustment advice is in high demand at the shop! As I wrote last week in my post about bust and sway back alterations, sewing patterns don’t really cover the full diversity of body shapes so when you sew up a new pattern you might find it fits a little weirdly or is uncomfortable. We sew because we love it, and also to get a better result than the clothes found in stores.
Grab some cheap fabric in a similar weight to your “good” fabric. Don’t jump straight into your gorgeous fabric first, results may be disappointing.
Once you have your toile sewn up, stand in front of the mirror and assess the fit.
- Do you have vertical lines hanging around your shoulders? You will need a narrow shoulder adjustment.
- Is the material straining uncomfortably across your back and pulling horizontally? You will need a round shoulder adjustment
- Does the fabric pool under your arms? You will need a sloping shoulder adjustment.
- Is the material straining across your chest and limiting movement of your arms? You will need a broad shoulder adjustment
Narrow Shoulder Adjustment.
The Curvy Sewing Collective demonstrates a narrow shoulder adjustment, which differs slightly from the above image, but looks like it gets a great result. This may alter the curve of your sleeve head, so keep that in mind.
Round shoulder adjustment.
Threads Magazine calls this the “Dowager’s Hump” alteration but I prefer to call it a round shoulder! I use this all the time for myself.
Sloping shoulder adjustment.
Sew Store Bought shows that the sloping shoulder adjustment is quite simple.
Broad shoulder adjustment.
The Curvy Sewing Collective illustrates the broad shoulder adjustment, which has similar slash lines to the narrow shoulder adjustment (and differs from the above pattern slashing) but the pieces are moved outward.
With a little bit of time and effort you can alter your patterns and sew up clothing that fits like a dream.