Oliver + S

Help needed with shoulder adjustment please

Viewing 14 posts - 1 through 14 (of 14 total)
  • LINK
    Kanatajj @kanatajj

    I could really use some help with a forward shoulder alteration on the Fira dress.

    This is my first Liesl and Co. pattern although I’ve been sewing for 50+ years. I’m making a straight size 10 with an A/B cup. I’ve made a muslin, although it wasn’t intended that way at the start. (I should have known better!) I lowered the bust darts an inch before I started.

    The dress fits really well in the front. I love how it looks and hangs – shaped, but not tight. The back however has some strange wrinkles. Upon investigation, the shoulder seam is about ⅝” back from where it should be.I tried adjusting the dress forward on my shoulders and the back wrinkles vanish, so I think this is the problem.

    I don’t usually need to do a lot of alterations and I’ve never had to do this adjustment before so I may be missing something obvious. I read Lyndsey’s blog post about doing a forward shoulder adjustment and I understand what she is doing. She adjusts the shoulder seam forward in a wedge shape leaving the neck edge in its original position. I don’t think this will work for me as my shoulder seam is too far back at the neck edge also.

    At this point I get confused.I see examples in my books about forward shoulder alterations that include the neck edge, but they’re all on garments with a straight shoulder seam. The Fira has a nice rise at the neck edge and the shoulder seams aren’t straight.I can’t figure out how to cope with that.

    I started by cutting off the seam allowances on both yoke pieces. Then I spread the shoulder seam on the back yoke by ⅝” and attempted to reattach the seam allowance. The seam allowance is too long and I don’t know how to handle that. If I match it up at the neck edge, it is about ½” too long at the sleeve edge. I can probably redraw the sleeve edge, but it feels wrong that I’m losing that ½’. If I match it up at the sleeve edge, I’d have to redraw the neckline – no idea how to do that! I don’t want to mess up Fira’s nice raised neckline!

    I lowered the shoulder seam line on the front yoke piece by ⅝” and reattached the seam allowance, which worked better than the back yoke piece.

    Am I missing something? I’m hoping I can rescue my “muslin” by removing the yoke and attaching a new one with an adjusted shoulder seam.

    Any help would be much appreciated! I’d really like to solve this so I can make some more Firas.

    Thanks very much,
    Kanatajj

    LINK
    Liesl Gibson
    Keymaster
    @liesl

    Hi Kanataji, you sound confused! It’s difficult to make suggestions without seeing how the muslin is fitting on you. Is there any way you can post photos?

    LINK
    Kanatajj @kanatajj

    Thanks for the response, Liesl. Yes, I’m definitely confused. Sorry I got sidetracked last week, but got some photos organized today.

    I’m uploading front, back and side views as well as a photo of the back pulled forward on my shoulders to where I think the shoulder seam should be sitting.

    I know the dart position is not right; I didn’t lower them quite enough initially and had rotated one to a better height when I saw the back wrinkles. I thought I would worry about the darts later!

    Thanks so much for any help you can give!
    Kanatajj

    LINK
    Liesl Gibson
    Keymaster
    @liesl

    Hmm, I’m looking at your photos and you’re right; something is pulling the dress back. I’m wondering if it could be the back neck? Because it’s designed to be quite high I wonder if it’s being forced lower and that’s causing the entire dress to pull back. You could try opening up the center-back seam at the back neck and see if that allows the dress to lay better, just to test the theory. Let me think about this a little more and if I have any other ideas I’ll tell you. I’ll also ask the Advisors Circle if they have ideas that might help.

    LINK
    Kanatajj @kanatajj

    Thanks, Liesl.
    Just to clarify. There is no back seam in the yoke, so I assume you mean to make a cut down the centre back of the yoke?
    Jean

    LINK
    Lyndsey
    Moderator
    @madelouisville

    Hi Kanataji- It does look wonderful from the front! The back view where you have pulled the dress forward looks great, too! That side view picture is really helpful.
    I’m having a little difficulty following your alteration, can you snap and post a pic of the alterations you made?

    A couple of thoughts…

    1. Whenever a garment is riding to the back, my first thought is always a high round back adjustment. I’m not 100% sure I think that is what is happening here, but that is what comes to mind first.

    2. I flipped through my Palmer/Pletsch Complete Guide to Fitting, and I ran across Karin’s case study. Karin’s neckline is choking her. I think yours would be too if this was a crew neckline. For Karin, she had a high round back AND a forward head (similar to the forward shoulder but you move both the interior and exterior points-instead of just the exterior shoulder point as you do on a forward shoulder). I think Karin’s posture is similar to yours.

    I’ll keep thinking on it, too.

    • This reply was modified 2 months ago by Lyndsey. Reason: removed reference to pic that didn't upload
    LINK
    Kanatajj @kanatajj

    Thanks, Lyndsey,for your thoughtful response.

    I have the Palmer/Pletsch book also, so I’ll read that part. I think that may be the alteration I was trying to do – move the interior and exterior shoulder points forward. I ran into trouble because the shoulder seam incorporates the raised neckline. I couldn’t figure out how to add/subtract the extra length from the neck edge because the seam length changes when length is added/removed and then I got confused… I understand how to do the shoulder edge adjustment.

    I agree that’s what the side view looks like. Funny I haven’t noticed it on other garments? Perhaps too much sewing on forgiving knits?

    LINK
    Lyndsey
    Moderator
    @madelouisville

    I was thinking about how to approach that “forward head adjustment” last night and looking at my Fira dress. I think it is easier to see what to do from you muslin rather than the flat pattern. I think of that adjustment taking a tuck across the entire shoulder. Could you try pinning out 5/8″ and trying it on? That may help to show you what the new stitching line would look like. It is tricky. I know when I did the forward shoulder adjustment I had to think through where to start that adjustment.

    LINK
    Kanatajj @kanatajj

    Yes, I’ll try that! Thanks for thinking it about it.

    LINK
    Kanatajj @kanatajj

    I read the section of the Palmer/Pletsch book you suggested. Thank you. It sure looks like it addresses the issue I’m seeing.

    I tried pinning a 5/8″ tuck on the back yoke as you suggested. I tried a few locations, but the best is actually the first one I tried.I pinned a 5/8″ tuck folding on a line at the bone at the base of my neck. The line is 1 1/4″ down from the back neck edge of the yoke… photo attached. BTW I actually made a size 8 A/B cup, not a 10 as I originally said.

    The dress is snugged up nicely against my back neck and the back is hanging pretty much wrinkle free as it did when I pulled the unaltered dress forward on my shoulders. The side seam is also hanging straight and the front is still fine. a big improvement for 5/8″!!!

    The shoulder seam is still forward at the armhole edge, but I think that needs to be addressed separately if I understood the P/P description correctly.

    I didn’t manage to get a back view photo yet. – Im not having much luck with my mirror technique for back views!

    LINK
    Kanatajj @kanatajj

    adding yoke photo

    Attachments:
    LINK
    Lyndsey
    Moderator
    @madelouisville

    It is looking good!

    LINK
    Kanatajj @kanatajj

    Thanks, Lyndsey!
    I’ll alter the pattern pieces as P/P suggest and try a real muslin this time!

    I have one other question…
    I assume that the tuck was just to establish the right place for the high round back adjustment? It certainly seemed to fix how the back neck sits.

    The high round back adjustment adds length to the upper back, which seems to make sense since there is more body to cover in that area. I found this confusing since the tuck which removes length also seemed to fix the neck area and upper back. I’m not very good at these 3D things, so maybe I’m missing something.

    Thanks so much for your help and setting me on the right track!
    Kanatajj

    LINK
    Kanatajj @kanatajj

    I’m pleased to report that my blue tencel denim Fira dress is good to go!

    I did the high round back and forward shoulder adjustments as suggested. I also pivotted the bust dart down by another 5/8″.

    I made a muslin which was good except a few drag marks on the back which looked like the waist was too snug. I straightened the waist curve out by 1/4″ on each side for a total of 1″ – my waist is bigger than the size 8 although I thought there was enough waist ease that it wouldn’t matter. Anyhow, that seemed to fix it. The dress is easier to pull on and seems looser around the waist area.

    Back to rescuing my original attempt…. I removed the yoke from my blue dress, added a new adjusted yoke, adjusted the darts and waist seam. All good and I am very happy. Photos below. Some wrinkles in the photos, but I don’t see them when I’m looking in the mirror, so perhaps the stress of having photos taken :). Looks like the front needs pressing on the right side also….

    Next I cut out a back and white polyester fabric that I have sewn before. A substantial, slightly shiny woven with a lovely drape. It sewed up beautifully. I used French side seams this time to avoid clipping the underarm as the fabric frays quite badly on the vertical. I left out the pockets on this one as I’m not comfortable enough yet with French seams to attempt the pocket seams! Maybe next time as I love the French seam finish on this. Very pleased with this one also. A bit dressier, but very wearable. Photo below.

    Now I just need summer to arrive so I can wear these dresses…

    Many thanks to Liesl and Lyndsey for all their help! so much appreciated!!!
    Kanatajj

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