Facebook Email Pinterest Twitter Instagram YouTube Icon Headphones Icon Favorite Navigation Search Icon Forum Search Icon Main Search Icon Close Icon Video Play Icon Indicator Arrow Icon Close Icon Hamburger/Search Icon Plus Icon Arrow Down Icon Video Guide Icon Article Guide Icon Modal Close Icon Guide Search Icon

Conversational Threads


AdrienneSimpson | Posted in Fitting on

I really need help. I’ve tried finding this information over the internet, as well as in my own books, but I haven’t been able to find the help that I so desperately want/need, and I’m getting oh so frustrated.

I have been making clothing, mostly for women, and the fit for them has been fine, but whenever I’ve made something for men I’ve had the worst time.

I follow the sewing patterns that I get for men and whenever the men lift their arms the whole shirt rides up/gets pulled up.

What would the solution be? Do I change the shape of the armhole? Do I change the shape of the sleeve? Do I change both, neither? And if I do have to change either the armhole, sleeve, or both, how do I change it/them?

Please can someone help me? I’m literally begging (figuratively on my knees).


  1. margaretinma | | #1

    Do commercial shirts pull up the same way?

  2. simplypat | | #2

    I have made over 50 shirts for my husband. Men like different fit than women. I have found the best thing to do is ask the man to bring the shirt they like best. Have them put the shirt on and ask them what they may like different in the fit/style. Pin the shirt accordingly then use that to adjust the pattern
    Men's shirts have drop shoulders. If the drop and the armhole size are too small/short I believe the shirt will rise. Again measure both the shoulder drop and armhole size against their favorite shirt.

  3. AdrienneSimpson | | #3

    The men that I have been making shirts for (so far only two men) generally wear t-shirts - or some form of knit shirts - and do not have any commercially bought dress shirts that fit well, so I unfortunately don't have the option of using those for guidance.
    The men that I have been making shirts for are generally more muscular in the arms and chest, but I don't know if that would have anything to do with it. Then again I don't have as much experience with fitting men's clothing as I do with women's.
    What I am looking for is assistance with being able to know what I can do to adjust/modify my sewing patterns in order to help make them fit better. Any tips would be immensely appreciated.
    Thank you.

  4. cap4life | | #4

    The easiest thing for you to do is to have your friends buy a thrifted men’s shirt or cheap men’s shirt in their size, take it apart and literally trace the pattern from the shirt onto muslin. You’ll have a better baseline from which to make fitting adjustments than the patterns you’re using.

  5. AdrienneSimpson | | #5

    Okay, first off thank you for the suggestions. Neither of them have commercially bought button-down/dress shirts that fit them to help me in that way.
    Secondly, I think I might not have been as clear as I thought I was being. I have different sewing patterns, for men, that I would like to make for the men in my household, some of which are actually costume patterns. I was hoping to get some suggestions on how I can adjust those patterns to better fit them.
    simplypat, what do you mean by "If the drop and the armhole size are too small/short I believe the shirt will rise."? So far that seems to be the closest thing to what I am looking for, but I don't think that I am familiar with what the context of that is. Could you expand on that for me please? Thank you.

    1. simplypat | | #6

      Look at a picture of a man in a shirt. You will see that the sleeve top seam is not at the top of the shoulder but down on the arm. It will be anywhere from 1" to 3" below the actual shoulder point. This allows the arm to move freely and not pull across the back. The body width across shirt front from armhole to armhole is 3" to 4" more across than body measurement (measure shirt flat not around). When you measure (again with shirt flat) from sleeve to armpit, this should be from 1" to 3" longer so arms move freely. As someone suggested, It would be great to purchase a shirt at a thrift store or yard sale as a stating point.
      If you have already made a shirt and the fit is not great, add a gusset to the sleeve underarm. I am sure there is a online video for this.
      Let me know how it goes.

      1. simplypat | | #7

        Did this help?

        1. AdrienneSimpson | | #14

          Most of the time the shoulders are fine, and the sleeves fit well. It's just whenever he raises his arms the shirt body comes along, and if it's tucked into his pants the hem is pulled completely out of his pants even if it's "blousy". I'm not sure if I'm wording this right though. I was wondering what I would need to do in order to help make sure that that doesn't happen.

  6. user-2578864 | | #8

    I wonder if David Page Coffin's book "Shirtmaking" might help. I don't have access to my copy at the moment, but I remember that the author touches on fit. (I would suggest getting it from the library because I'm not sure whether it addresses your problem.)

    1. AdrienneSimpson | | #15

      Thank you. I'll have a look at the book as soon as I can.

  7. user-7149427 | | #9

    I too had many problems fitting a man in a shirt. After many attempts I realized that, just like women, he is not just one size all around. A thick neck, very narrow waist, and meaty hands. So, a combination of 3 different sizes. I started testing for size using paper. I bought paper tablecloth material from the thrift store for about a dollar or two, for each size (dollar stores carry these also.). When I finished I had him try them on very carefully until we figured out which fit best. The neck was 46, the chest 44, the arms and body length was adjusted using the HBL on the commercial pattern. This I had traced onto the paper patterns, and then I adjusted the arm length. Also the shoulder seam was shortened to 38( but remember to add back in the sleeve cap by "walking " the circumference of the armscye to match the sleeve or your sleeve will become too short! )Then he decided he didn't like the hidden button placket so I got rid of that, and the collar was too narrow so I "borrowed" one from another pattern which had collar stays, and the side panels were eliminated in favor of just straight side seams. Lots of alterations. I had made 3 paper shirts and two fabric shirts from thrifted material costing less than a dollar a meter. But by the time I had to make the actual shirt in the fashion fabric, I had made so many practice runs that the finished product was a breeze. I learned a lot in the process and am thrilled to be making more shirts for him. I have not had any tailoring classes, all is learned from patterns and Threads magazines. Remember too, their buttons go on the opposite side of our shirts!

  8. user-7787735 | | #10

    This is strange- I have made around 100 shirts 75 period 25 modern and have only had this problem once on very fleshy actor (fat, particularly across the back takes up fabric and makes armholes too tight and length too short) and the shirt rides up when the arms are raised. I think it might be worth while trying a different pattern. My advice for the fleshy problem- if that's the likely reason is to make the armhole deeper and the sleeve bigger as well as putting more ease at CB (don't forget to make the collar and stand bigger to fit.)

  9. Quiltmaster1 | | #11

    I had that issue with one of the first shirts I made for myself. The sleeve cap is likely to be too high. The lower a sleeve cap, the more mobility in a garment. Men's sleeve caps are not as high or as rounded as women's. Also, Men's shirt sleeves are drafted 1-to-1 with the armscye. There is little to no ease. Hope this helps. Happy sewing.

  10. simplypat | | #12

    Yes, you should lower the sleeve cap and, maybe, spread the sleeve width with a pivot from the center of the sleeve cap. These 2 adjustments will add more flexibility to the sleeve.
    Also adding or increasing the center back pleat will increase mobility.
    Happy shirt making.

  11. User avater
    ruthyleee | | #13

    As far as I know, if the shirt rises after raising the arm, the armhole is too deep. If inlay allows, you need to raise the lower point of the armhole and lower point of the cap of sleeve.
    Moreover, a small fitted shirt should have a small armhole.
    Can I be curious about where the pattern was taken from?

  12. staytmentstyle | | #16

    The armscye (hole) needs to be as high as possible, narrow, and possibly even a flat bottom rather than the usual oval. Any tshirt worn under also needs a closer armhole or it will bunch under the shirt. It also means the shirt may get sweatier - presoak in vinegar to prevent stains after wear. This cut will give more movement and a slimmer look. https://www.parisiangentleman.com/blog/the-armscye-height-secret-a-crucial-detail is a tailor'sexplanation. see this:

    1. LAMovies | | #17

      Excellent explanation! Thank you!

Log in or create an account to post a comment.

Threads Insider

Get instant access to hundreds of videos, tutorials, projects, and more.

Start Your Free Trial

Already an Insider? Log in

Conversational Threads

Recent Posts and Replies

  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |

Threads Insider Exclusives

View All
View All


Shop the Store

View All
View More