Tutorial

Tutorial: How to do forward sloping shoulder adjustment

Part 2 of my Archer fitting series focused on the sloping shoulder adjustment — very common one!

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Creative Counselor: Sloping Shoulder Adjustment

Let’s review where we are, shall we? I cut and muslined the size 4, which confirmed my suspicion that I needed an FBA.  I successfully did an FBA, which added 1″ of width to the bust of my size 4 Archer while leaving the waist and hip unchanged.  Muslin #2 looked like this:

Creative Counselor: Sloping Shoulder Adjustment

Much better, but you can see that the armscyce still isn’t laying quite right.  It needs some adjustment in the shoulder to get that part to lay flat.  This is a common adjustment for me — 11+ years of working in an office at a computer plus nursing 3 babies has left me with forward sloping shoulders.   And I’m not alone — I suspect that many, many sewists need this same adjustment and don’t even realize it!

Creative Counselor: Sloping Shoulder Adjustment

Now isn’t that a nice, flat armscyce?  Not a wrinkle to be seen!  So how did I get there?

Step 1: Trace a dart by pinching out the excess fabric. 

And of course I didn’t get a photo of the dart I pinched out of my muslin!  But the concept is simple.  Put on your muslin — yes, I do strongly recommend working off an actual “quick-and-dirty” muslin for this adjustment.  It’s not a “wearable muslin” type of adjustment.   Pinch out the extra fabric in the armscyce in a dart.  Mark the end of the dart (on the armscyce) and the apex (mine was slightly above my bust apex).

Remember to make the same marking on the sleeve piece — we’ll make the bodice adjustments first, but we will need to tackle that sleeve later!

Draw out the dart on your muslin:

Creative Counselor: Sloping Shoulder Adjustment

Step 2: Cut out the dart.

Now that you’ve identified the fabric that you need to remove from the armscyce with your dart, cut out the dart.

Creative Counselor: Sloping Shoulder Adjustment

Step 3: Trace the dart on to your pattern piece.

We’ve identified the fabric that we need to remove, now it’s time to transfer that marking on to the pattern piece so we can make our adjustments.

Creative Counselor: Sloping Shoulder Adjustment

Step 4: Cut out the dart and draw a line from the dart apex to the hemline.

Cut out the dart that you’ve marked on your fabric.  This is the width that you’ll be removing from the armscyce area.

We’ve made a dart in the armscyce area, but we don’t actually want a dart there.  Instead, we’re going to transfer the dart to the hem.

To accomplish that, first draw a straight line from the apex of the dart to the hemline.

Creative Counselor: Sloping Shoulder Adjustment

Step 5: Slash and spread.

Now we need to slash and spread the hemline of the pattern.  Cut along the straight line you drew from the apex to the hemline (the blue line in my picture) from the hemline right up to the apex, but DO NOT CUT all the way through the apex.  Leave a small amount of paper to join the two pieces.

Creative Counselor: Sloping Shoulder Adjustment

Rotate the outer part of the pattern piece to fill in the dart that you cut out of the armscyce.  This transfers the dart that you cut from the armcyce down to the hemline and alters the shape of the armcyce.

Step 6:  Fill in the dart with paper.

Pretty self explanatory.  Take scrap paper and fill in the large dart you just created in the hemline.

Creative Counselor: Sloping Shoulder Adjustment

Step 7: Adjust the width of the waist and hip.​

Our slashing and spreading successfully transferred the extra width in the armscyce to the hem, but now we have all kinds of extra width in the hem!  That has to go.  The goal is to alter the shape of armcyce to account for our sloping shoulders, but still keep the overall shape of the pattern intact.​

Creative Counselor: Sloping Shoulder Adjustment

To do that, I took my original pattern piece (which had the previous FBA) and set it on top of my slashed pattern piece.​

Creative Counselor: Sloping Shoulder Adjustment

The easiest approach would have been to just line up the side seams and cut along the center front, but I found that didn’t allow me to keep the width I’d added in my FBA without totally jacking up the center front line of the pattern.

Creative Counselor: Sloping Shoulder Adjustment

Instead, I made sure that the center front of the pattern piece was still nice and straight, but also that the edges of the bust lined up so that I didn’t lose any of that width.  You can see how I trued up the pattern piece by trimming off pieces from the side seam, center front and hem.

Step 8: True up the armscyce.

Creative Counselor: Sloping Shoulder Adjustment

At the very least, we need to have a smooth armscyce.  To accomplish that, I trimmed off the excess from the armscyce.

Step 9: Adjust the length of the side seam and depth of the armscyce.

One thing I find with a sloping shoulder adjustment is that I usually need to adjust the depth of the armscyce.  If I was to leave the armscyce as-is at this point, the armscyce would be too snug and would constantly be pulling.

Creative Counselor: Sloping Shoulder Adjustment

You can also see that the adjustment changed the length of the side seam.  We need to remove that length from the side seam, which will serve the dual function of deepening the armscyce.

Creative Counselor: Sloping Shoulder Adjustment

And here is my new armscyce!  You can see how it differs from the original armscyce, which is below it.

Creative Counselor: Sloping Shoulder Adjustment

Step 10:  Mark the dart on your sleeve cap.

Obviously the sloping shoulder adjustment changed the shape and length of our armcyce, which means that the sleeve cap will no longer be the right shape.  We need to adjust that too!  Waaaaay back in step 1, you pinched and marked a dart on both the bodice and sleeve piece of your muslin.  Go ahead and draw in that dart on the sleeve cap, like so:

Creative Counselor: Sloping Shoulder Adjustment

Step 11: Transfer the dart to your pattern piece. 

Creative Counselor: Sloping Shoulder Adjustment

As you can see, we’re basically following the same steps as we did on the bodice, just on the sleeve this time.

Step 12: Cut out the dart and draw a line from the dart apex to the sleeve hem.

Creative Counselor: Sloping Shoulder Adjustment

As above, draw a straight line from the apex of the dart to the sleeve hem. We’re going to transfer that dart from the sleeve cap to the hem of the sleeve.

Cut out the dart that you marked.  Then cut up the straight line from the sleeve hem right up to the apex of the dart, but DO NOT CUT all the way through to the apex.  Leave a small amount of paper to join the two pieces.

Step 13: Slash and spread. 

As before, spread the sleeve hem to eliminate the dart from the sleeve cap.  Be warned: it’s probably going to add A LOT of width to the sleeve hem.

Step 14: True it all up!

Now the final step is to true up the sleeve cap as well as the width of the sleeve.  The sleeve cap is pretty straightforward — trim as necessary to smooth out the sleeve cap.

Creative Counselor: Sloping Shoulder Adjustment

Finally, I put my original sleeve piece over the new piece, lined up where the underarms would be, and redrew the appropriate width of the sleeves.   Unfortunately, I didn’t get a decent picture of this step, but the idea is the same as when we trued up the bodice piece above.

And there you have it!  The armcyce and corresponding sleeve cap adjusted for those pesky forward sloping shoulders!

Creative Counselor: Sloping Shoulder Adjustment

And nary a wrinkle in sight …

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