How to re-shape armholes

Reshaping armholes to facilitate proper range of motion is probably my least favorite thing to do. After setting it all up -aligning pattern pieces along the grain and matching join points- this is what my pattern looked like today:


…and if you don’t know what the above is, that is one ugly armhole …after which I decided I had something -anything- more pressing to do. Like, going to see if the dogs were out of food. Or checking my email to see if anything interesting came in. Maybe somebody will call me? Yes! Sean did (that’s why I was really long winded Sean, I didn’t want to do this). So now I’m back with this ugly armhole staring me in the face.

add_CF_to_sidepanel_sm_step_two_displayIf you have no idea what I’m blathering about, you can find more in sleeve cap ease is bogus. If you do the heavy lifting of redesigning your armholes to match the range of motion, you don’t need sleeve cap ease to compensate for a poorly made armhole and or sleeve. And an idea of how you might go about doing it for this style is shown at right.

This makes me uncomfortable. I don’t like making big changes to a draft. This new shaping (red lines) will require cutting a new back (actually two of them because this has a vent and each side has its own pattern piece) and a new side panel  (see black lines). Actually probably the front too because it needs to be scooped out some. In the forum thread where we are discussing this, there was a too large fold of fabric in the front armhole.

Then of course, you have to cut a new sleeve. Scratch all the above. My absolute least favorite thing to do is fixing sleeves. Second least favorite is fixing armholes but you have to do the second least liked thing before you are subjected to doing the least liked thing. Complain complain complain… I’d never complain like that if I were working for someone else though. This is a pattern for Mr. Fashion-Incubator because he’s ready to learn a new sewing project.

If you’re going to do something like this, you have to lay out your pieces correctly to get an idea of the armhole shaping. Here’s how:

1. The first step is to align the back on grain.

2. Mark off the seam allowance to find the match point of the side panel (see below)


3.  Find the match point on the side panel Then lay the side panel on grain to match that point at the back (below). I have mine joined with a push pin so I can pivot the side panel freely until the grain is just right.


4. Then rinse, lather and repeat for the front piece as shown below.


These are the essentials; I will be posting a deeper discussion of this on the forum because I don’t want to bore anyone with this if it’s not of interest or is too technical.

Feel free to post questions and discussion as appropriate, hopefully it is clear.

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