Have you ever found it difficult to move your arms when you make a garment with a close fitting bodice, or just felt that the upper back was strained and tight? If so, you may need to make a broad upper back adjustment to your pattern. There are a few indicators that this adjustment may be of benefit to you. Do you find....
- Tightness across the upper back?
- Difficulty raising your arms up 90 degrees or more to the body?
- Tightness at the front of the sleeve?
- A high armscye (armhole) that seems too small?
I'll show you 2 ways to make the adjustment. The first requires less alteration of the pattern pieces but adds a smaller amount of width:
Method One: Adding On
If required you can also add to the sleeve piece. You follow the curve of the back of the sleeve head to add width, going from the centre to the end of the sleeve piece. You can see from my adjustment that on this pattern I made two attempts at adding width, the first indicated by the red arrow and the second by the green arrow.
Make sure you add only to the back part of the sleeve, which is usually indicated by double notches.
Method Two: Slash and Spread
Cut a section vertically from the centre point of the shoulder and across about 1 1/2"/2" under the armhole, and move out. You may need to use a bit of trial and error on this. I moved about 1" which will add 2" total to the back. This seems like a lot but on some patterns I really needed this extra width.
You will need to add to the side seam too, to graduate it back in to the body, as indicated below.
What you must bear in mind is that this method will add width to the back shoulder seam and it won't match up with the front seam. You will need to add a dart at the back shoulder to rectify this. Again, you might need to see what works for you but I found that a 3" long dart, the width of the added section, was perfect.
Result = Freedom!!! You'll be able to move your arms and not feel as if your seams are straining!
I found that this type of adjustment took a bit of trial and error to find out exactly how much to add. On this pattern shown, I ended up using all three types of adjustment.
I hope that's clear - let me know in the comments or by email if you have any questions.
I'm linking this up with Sew Grateful Week at My Happy Sewing Place.