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Need fitting advise

lwsews | Posted in Fitting on

I need help from all you fitting experts out there –

I am an experienced sewer but this one problem has me stumped.  When I sew a semi-fitted garmet, either jacket or blouse, I get a horizontal bubble in the fabric just below the back of my neck.  My garment does not seem to be too tight across the shoulders so I cannot figure out what exactly to do to solve this.  My reference books say if there is a horizontal line in the fabric it means there is not enough fabric so where exactly should I be adding it?  Should I lower the back neckline?

I have fairly square shoulders and I think my shoulders are forward just a bit (but I am not sure about this either!)

Any suggestions would be appreciated!


  1. Elisabeth | | #1

    You would get horizontal stretch lines if there was not enough fabric for the width of the back as your books are saying. A horizontal bubble of fabric sounds like too much vertical length. Try pinching and pinning out a fold there and see if it makes it better. Patterns are made for that mythical standard body (the average of all of us!) so things like the slope of the shoulder line aren't going to fit so well if your shoulders are more square. That's one place to look for the source of the problem. Lowering the neckline may work as well, if you hold your neck more like a dancer than most. I'm sure there are more suggestions from others here. You'll have to experiment to find which works for your fit.

    1. SewNancy | | #6

      A bubble sounds like too much fabric.  I have this.  I have a straight back and need less length from neck to waist.  I also have foward shoulders which needs to have the shoulder seam moved to front.  This shows up well on a muslin and easy to pin out and move the shoulder seams then you can easily transfer to pattern.


  2. suesew | | #2

    I agree that you probably have a little bit too much length. If you have a muslin, it would be interesting to slice down from the neckline either in the center or in a couple of places to see if you could get that bubble to deflate. If your slices pull apart that would tell you you need to add a little more width. If the slices flatten and extend upward you could lower the neckline. This would have an effect of any collar you might want to fit into this new neckline. I like to use back shoulder darts to add a little more back ease and still get things to fit.

  3. mem1 | | #3

    I would just pick up that bubble and then see which seam it crosses and that is the one which will need to be shortened . It seems likely that it will be the center back seam.You would take a dart shaped which would fade to nothing as you move toward the shoulder pin this out on your muslin and then redraw the pattern.It could also be that you have a poking chin so that your neck is habitually forward on your body. You would have the upper back of the neck sitting away from your neck .This will mean that you might need to take a dart shaped vertically out of the center seam and then lower the back neckline a bit.Just some ideas.

  4. alotofstitches | | #4

    The square shoulders may be the problem--try adding to seam or make seam 1/4" at the sleeve seam.  Use a ruler to draw new cutting line from neckline to sleeve seam & add small amount to front and back patterns.  It sounds like your square shoulders need more fabric and are drawing the "back" up to get the fabric.  You may need to try fitting on a fairly stable fabric to find the solution to this.

  5. Teaf | | #5

    I have this problem too, even with sloping shoulders. I found that I am much shorter in my upper back than most patterns, so there's too much fabric vertically there; you would have even more because you don't need the slope up to the neck.

    An easy way to adjust the pattern would be to cut out the area around the back neckline, slide it down a bit, then re-draw the shoulder seams from to match your straight shoulders better. Your neckline will be lower in the back bodice, and the shoulder seams will be more horizontal.

    If your new shoulder seam ends in its original spot on the outer edge, you won't change the armhole size or have to change the sleeve cap. Try it out in a sample fabric first, of course!

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