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Square Shoulder Adjustment

fearyenot | Posted in Fitting on

Hi “All”:

I’m working on a muslin with hopes of eventually finishing several blouses using Vogue pattern 7903.  I always have to alter the pattern using a square shoulder adjustment. 

To begin with, I’ve slashed the front and back pieces from the armhole edge, beginning about 2 inches below the seam allowance for the shoulder seam and to where the shoulder and neckline meet without going into the seamline.  My first question is, do each the front and the back need to be slashed equally?  I’ve opened them both up about 1.5 inches. 

Next question–at what point of my shoulder does the shoulder seam need to meet the top of the sleeve?  The muslin shoulder seam looks okay at the neckline but as it reaches the sleeve/armhole seam, it looks like it’s a little “back”.  That, I’m guessing, may be related to my first question.  Also,  I now  have over 1 inch of fabric, maybe even up to 1.5 inches of fabric of the shoulder seam hanging over my shoulder onto the top of my arm.  This extra fabric gradually decreases approaching the side seam to join the front and back.  I have a French curve.  My question is, how do I draw a new armscye? 

Also, does the top of the sleeve need to be slashed the same amount as the front or back?  What I mean is to slash near the top of the sleeve cap perpendicular to the grainline 1.5 inches across so the total changes made equal that of the bodice front and back changes combined.

I’m looking forward to some assistance.

Thank you very much.











  1. HeartFire | | #1

    I'm going to try and answer some of your questions, there is one point I don't' understand what your asking.
    1. No you don't have to spread the front and back the same distance, its whatever it takes to make it fit the shoulders better, just make sure that the shoulder seam line remains 'balanced' where it belongs on the top of the shoulder.
    <<Next question--at what point of my shoulder does the shoulder seam need to meet the top of the sleeve?>>
    2. put your finger on the tip of your shoulder where it meets the arm, now raise your arm, you should be able to feel where the arm pivots, the 'high bump'at the end of the collar bone is where the arm hole seam should start.
    <<The muslin shoulder seam looks okay at the neckline but as it reaches the sleeve/armhole seam, it looks like it's a little "back". >> if the seam is falling too far back of the shoulder line, then you may need to spread the back a little more to bring this line forward, and then, you may need to narrow the spread in the front so there is no gapping (see answer no1.)
    <<Also, I now have over 1 inch of fabric, maybe even up to 1.5 inches of fabric of the shoulder seam hanging over my shoulder onto the top of my arm. This extra fabric gradually decreases approaching the side seam to join the front and back. >> Sorry this is the part I'm not clear on is the shoulder seam too long? that its hanging over the top of the arm? if so you would need to trim this back to the shoulder point I mentioned above, and then YES you need to redraw the armhole with a french curve,

    The next thing you will need to do is once you have the bodice fixed is fix the sleeve, carefully measure the armhole opening (and I would do this before you start altering it,and measure the sleeve head to see how much ease is incorporated into the pattern, then, once the bodice is adjusted, you need to increase the sleeve head to include the added ease.
    The best I can do to help you with the sleeve is refer you to here http://vintagesewing.info/1940s/42-mpd/mpd-04.html
    this site is actually a complete pattern drafting book that is fabulous, but will show you how to place the french curve to re-draw the sleeve.

    Hope this helps, good luck

    1. fearyenot | | #2

      Dear Judy:

      Thanks for responding to my questions!  This morning before I found your email, I told myself, "Self, you need to slow down and not try to fit and adjust everything at the same time!"  I appreciate your encouragement and advice. I took a peek at the link you provided-what great detailed information--much better than the book I have here at home, and better than the books I found at the library.  Thank you sharing for that. 

      I'm clear on all three responses you provided.  You're right on my third question-the shoulder seam is too long and hangs over the top of my arm.

      Thanks again, Judy.



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