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How to determine armhole size

bss7 | Posted in Fitting on

I am trying to figure out how to determine the correct size for an armhole when putting a set in sleeve in a shirt or dress.   I have instructions  in one of my books that says to measure the armhole, and add 2 inches.  Another instruction form I have tells me the the raw edge of the sleeve opening should just touch where the arm and body meet.  I often fit people from measurements, and would like to know how to determine the correct sleeve size.    Does anyone have any input for this problem?


  1. mem1 | | #1

    I was told by a pro that a sleeveless top is cut 1/2/an inch lower and that the shoulder point is moved in 1/2/ inch. She said that I should be able to use a sleeve pattern from another garment of a similar style etc and from the same pattern company and not have any problem.I have done this with a jacket which had a horrible baggy and unflattering sleeve and it worked very well . I have added a sleeve into a sleeveless pattern however.

  2. mem1 | | #2

    Actually Becky I dont think I have answered yopur question when I read it again Sorry  Also in the last sentence I omitted "not"

    1. Jean | | #3

      You can go back and edit your posts if necessary.

  3. fabricator | | #4

    I'm not sure if I'm understanding your question properly, but it sounds like you're drafting the armhole.  If that's the case, you'll need to take several measurements into account ... across back shoulder, across chest or bust, and armscye depth.  Once you've got those, the curve of the armhole will be determined by the angle of the shoulder and underarm seams, because you will want those lines to meet at right angles with the curve of the armhole as much as possible.  Once you've drafted the armhole, the sleeve will need anywhere from about 1" to 1/4" ease, depending on the fabric being used and style of the garment.  Generally, the higher the sleeve cap, the more the ease.

  4. KathleenFasanella | | #5

    wow...this thread is mindbloggling...I don't do any of these things. The armhole isn't the hard part; it's the sleeve that's a bugger. If there were enough interest in this topic, I'd do a tutorial on it and load it on my site. You need pictures and drafts to explain this one well. Also, does anybody have the armhole "ruler" out of M.Rohr's drafting book? That could help a lot.

    1. bss7 | | #6

      I am very interested in your input on this subject, I am striving to make armholes with sleeves that do not have any bagginess below the arm, and still provide freedom of movement.      Any information on the armhole, and the sleeve preparation will be helpful.  THANKS!

    2. mem1 | | #7

      Yes patternmaker go ahead I would love it I feel quite frustrated sometimes with the need to add sleeves to a sleeveless top and then to know what has to be done to adjust the jacket pattern to accommodate the added sleeve in the top that is under the jacket .I would be so greatful for any info on this . Regards Marianne

      1. KathleenFasanella | | #8

        Hi Marianne
        Okay, I'll do what I can. If you could email me directly as a reminder; send me the specifics then I'll see to it. Also, as I was saying to someone yesterday, sleeves are hard. That's not to say you can't do it just that you'll have to be patient with yourself. For that reason, patternmakers keep a selection of them around to stick in different bodies.

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