Sunday, January 16, 2011

HELP! My shoulders are falling off!

Hi everyone! I am perplexed. I probably could have sewn this dress up as-is and had it mostly fit OK, except that I have large arms and bust. *sighs* This is for a 42" bust and I'm a 44. And in the light of full disclosure I'm 37" in the waist, 45" in the hips, and I'm 5'8" and a lot of that is in my torso (these are empirical[is that the right term?] measurements as I'm a USAnian).

So I've done a slight FBA, and I did a rounded shoulder adjustment (I work in the IT industry, slave away at a computer all day). I also did an adjustment for full arms. The sleeves themselves fit but the fall off the shoulder is just... weird. Also... excuse the construction issues I was sleep deprived when I put it together and it just didn't seem that important to have all the seams the right way on a test muslin. But honestly, I'm not sure what to do at this point. I need to add length, since the dress is suppose to belt at true-waist and there are half inch seam allowances. It falls about an inch above my belly-button so 1.5 inches added in length?

So here are some pictures. As you can tell I totally did my hair and makeup for these (not).

(Design on this calls for some gathering at the lower back into the skirt. See weirdness of shoulder and set-in sleeve.)

(exhibit A of need for more length in the torso)

(outside of the weird way the shoulder falls, I kind of think this looks OK here)

I swear my shoulders aren't that lopsided, it has to do with the only one sleeve.

I had to take out some gaping in the back bodice but wasn't sure how to take the volume out of the sleeve cap to match, especially considering I needed to make the sleeve wider for my sausage arms. Please help! Suggestions, point me toward some tutorials? I realized this is my first real foray into a woven top. All my tops have been knits so far because they are so much easier to fake good fit. The sad thing here is that despite all the issues it STILL fits better than RTW wovens. *sighs* I think that once I can get the top of this dress to fit I'd really only need a couple alterations to make it a plain shirt pattern as well. That would be awesome.


  1. the trouble is probably that its just all too big, which is less obvious everywhere else because of your full bust. As you have a full bust, and the pattern is nearly right in the bust despite being cut for someone who isn't full in the bust, the whole thing is out of proportion at the shoulders, this will also explain why its shorter at the front, as your bust is pulling it out.

    you can either work with the muslin you already have, and shorten the shoulder seam by several inches, which should pull the whole thing up properly, or start over, grade your orig pattern down a few sizes so that matches your high bust (ie the size of your rib cage just above your bust -see Tasia's guide if that doesnt make any sense, but keep the width at the waist to counteract our modern lack of corsets! and the do a full FBA so the bust fits.

    hope this helps!

    (and you possibly mean imperial, not empirical, depending on whether you meant the non metric measurements (imperial), not that they were accurate numbers which would be empirical)

  2. The changes you need to make to your pattern are these and are not hard at all!

    1) For the shoulders: Slash the pattern about 3.5 inches in the middle of the shoulder seam and overlap the cut edge maybe 1/2 inch to shorten the shoulder seam. True up the shoulder seam if the edges don't align. This will bring the shoulder up to where it needs to be and th sleeves won't drop off your shoulders.

    2) More length over the bust: slash the pattern about 1/2 down the front armsyce and add the length you need for your full bust, open a slash .75 inches wide from what I can see in the photos. Fill in the slash with a scrap of pattern tissue and tape and true up the center front.

  3. ETA: The shoulder slash runs diagonally from the shoulder seam to the armsyce seam.

  4. Phyllis, I think I know what you are talking about, but won't that make the front and back bodice shoulder seams not be the same length, or would I do the same thing for the back as well?

  5. I am such a visual person, I am going to post a pic to see if I am understanding phyllis and get feed back. Check out the next post.

  6. OK, LadyK, I posted some initial ideas. I am a firm believer in getting the neck and shoulders right before moving your way down. You may need a little more help on the sleeves and bust. If I don't happen to come back and read follow-up comments, please feel free to email me directly.
    You are well on your way to a beautifully fitted blouse AND dress. congratulations!
    alittle sewing at gmail dot com