In Fitting Fashion

  • Fitting and Pattern Correction - Armhole

    Hi everyone!  We're back to fitting the shoulder and armhole area of Vogue 8664.  Hopefully you'll stay a bit and follow along.  Last time, we talked about fitting the shoulder area and I mentioned that there were some adjustments we needed to make to the shoulder width and the across back on the pattern and below you will see I have outlined them.

    The first photo shows the original seam lines on the pattern, the last photo shows the seam line of the corrected shoulder and across back, and the center photo shows the comparison between the two.  Looking at the center photo, you can see I added (1/4") to the shoulder width and reduced the across back (by 1/4").  These small adjustments have improved the shape of the armhole considerably, achieving the highly desirable 90 degree angle at the intersection of the shoulder seam and armhole seam.

    This 90 degree angle and adjustment to the shape of the armhole is directly connected to the fit and hang of the sleeve.  It may be that any struggling we have experienced in the past will have been caused entirely by the shape of the armhole!  Hmmm, something to consider for future projects.

    Now that we have made our corrections to the shoulder area of the armhole, we now need to move down to the base of the armhole to check fitting there.  Let's take a look.

    I think you may agree that there is still some work to do.  We have a gaping front armhole and excess fabric crumpling up under the arm.

    Let's clean that mess up!  

    Front Armhole Gaping

    This is a very common problem, especially for those with larger busts.  This gaping is caused by excess length in the front armhole which is magnified by the prominence of the bust.  The correction is simple in this case, you just need to transfer this volume to one of the darts, or you can choose to share the volume between the two darts if you like.  Here's the pattern correction I made.

    As you can see, I have chosen to share the volume between the two darts so that each dart width becomes slightly larger.  Don't forget to redraw the front armhole curve where the volume was removed.  We need to make sure that the armhole remains a smooth curve so that we don't have problems with sleeve fitting later on.

    Excess Fabric Under the Arm

    As I noted in previous posts, the base of the armhole at the side seams is sticking out so we need to reduce the garment width in this area.  The pattern correction again, is quite simple.

    First you will need to fold out the front dart.  This is temporary until you have determined your new front side seam line.  Next you reduce the body width evenly at front and back armhole/side seam, tapering to zero at the waist seam.  It is very important to make sure there is a 90 degree angle at the intersection of the armhole and side seam lines and check that the front and back side seams are straight and matching in length.  The final step is to true the dart so that the "roof" of the dart coincides with the new front side seam.

    And now our fitting and pattern corrections for the shoulder and armhole are complete...for now.  We will need to revisit this area again, when we attach our sleeve, but this won't be for a while yet.  Just one last photo to show you; a picture of the corrected armhole when it is joined at the side seam.  Please admire and compare how much more infinitely beautiful it is than the original.

    Next time we'll look at the fitting of the back bodice; there are definitely changes we need to make there.  Can you guess what they are?

  • ← Next Post Previous Post →
  • blog comments powered by Disqus
  • Comments on this post (6 comments)

    • bethany hazard says...

      I really likeed your gapping armhole alteration! I have this problem due to being short and round. Wish the pattern companies still mad e
      half size patterns, as I think I am a half size.

      On July 06, 2014

    • Moon nguyen says...

      Thanks a lot for sharing your experience on the improvement the armhole gaping. However, I also had a problem with gaping armhole on the sleeve and sleeveless knit top without dart. In such cases, would you share with me how to improve the gaping? thank you.

      On April 19, 2014

    • Alexandra says...

      Hi Mary,
      You usually need about 2" of ease at a bicep for full movement. This usually creates more ease in the sleeve head too which isn’t always desirable but sometimes necessary. (pleather will be difficult to ease)

      You can also add to the across back measurement (this is the measurement about 5" down from the prominent bone at the CB neck from arm crease to arm crease.) You will need 1/2"-1" total ease across the back in this area for good forward movement of the arms.

      If the client can’t lift her arms up, check that the armhole depth is not too low. A higher armhole allows for greater movement.

      Hope that helps!

      On October 07, 2013

    • Mary Napier says...

      I have just discovered your blog as I was looking for “ease” allowance for biceps. I am working on a jacket (pleather) for a well-muscled female trainer, with nice wide shoulders and full biceps. The jacket is for Halloween, but will be worn during her work day in the gym. Obviously arm movement is needed. I seem to be able to fit everything except the sleeve. It is tight around the biceps and still a little tight across the upper back. Also there is not enough movement allowed for the arm to move forward and up. Any guidance for adjusting sleeve and/or back shoulder width, and underarm greatly appreciated!

      On October 02, 2013

    • roxxi bojorquez says...

      I love your website, thanks for putting out there.
      I am a starting Tech designer.. I am looking for a private online lesson for fitting with pants and jeans mostly.. i have studied patternmaking in italy and i know how to make slopers by size but i do not know how to correct patterns..i was wondering if you are interested in giving me some online classes..I live in Los Angeles California.
      you work is very impressive.. !
      thanks you
      Roxxi Bojorquez

      On August 01, 2013

    • Carlene says...

      Hi! Thank you for the detailed images. I have the gapping on the armhole for a knit top with no darts, where do I put the excess amount closed on the front armhole, if there are no darts?

      On February 28, 2013

  • Leave a comment