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Alterations problem

Jean_ | Posted in The Archives on

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My DIL was given some beautiful garments that she wants me to alter for her. The biggest problem is with sleeve length and the three suit coats look like something that I can handle OK. The one big problem is with a long sleeved dress. It has a beautifully tailored turned back cuff with a decorative V notch in it that would be impossible to shorten. The shoulders of this dress are a little too wide to look really great. Would it be possible to bring the seam line higher up on the shoulder and thereby kill two birds with one stone? or do you think I would run into too much trouble with the armhole no longer fitting properly? Should I tackle it? The dress is stunning (when her 3 yr old saw her try it on, she said “mommy you look beautiful!” so I’d love to be able to fix it for her.
Advice please!

Replies

  1. Joyce_Murphy | | #1

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    Dear Jan,

    Yes, you can narrow the garment at the shoulder and bring up the sleeve length at the same time. Keep in mind the armhole gets bigger as you narrow the shoulder. There is more than one way to handle this. Choose your method depending on how the body of the dress fits. What will happen if you also slope the shoulder a little? This will bring the armhole back to the original size. Could you take in the side seam? This would also size down the armhole. The "slope the shoulder option" is less work because you only have to reset the sleeve cap. If you take in the sides the whole sleeve needs to be reset. There's a third option and that is to make the sleeve cap larger to match the larger armhole. This also means re-setting the whole sleeve.

    Now there is one more option and this is the easiest, if the style will allow you to get away with it. Create a flange at the shoulder. To do this take a small pleat of fabric from the body over the top of the shoulder. Turn this pleat toward the body to sleeve seam making the center of the pleat match up along this seam line right at the top of the shoulder and hand stitch it in place. With this method you don't have to remove the sleeves at all and you have narrowed the shoulder and shortened the sleeve all with one sneaky little tuck in just the right place.

    1. Joyce_Murphy | | #2

      *Dear Jean,Sorry about getting your name wrong. Discovered it too late to change it!

      1. Jean_ | | #3

        *I answer to a lot of things, Joyce, no big deal. Thank you very much for the advice. I think the shoulder sloping method will work the best in this case. DIL's shoulders do slope more than most peoples so the dress will probably fit even better. I might have to put in different shoulder pads, but that is no problem. I thought of the tuck method, but discarded it because the fabric is not 'drapey' enough to have it look good. Thanks again for taking the time to answer. I feel confident now that I can make this alteration and have it look good! :)

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