Oliver + S

Fitting Help – Shoulders & Back

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    LaurenF @LaurenF

    Hi Everyone, thank you in advance for your help!
    I’m on my third muslin now for the classic shirt and I’d love some input before I go any further. I’m relatively new to sewing and pattern adjustments, but have taken a few pattern alteration courses this fall so if I only know which adjustments I need then I think I can make it work on the pattern! Here is an overview of what I’ve done:
    My measurements are B/W/H = 35.5”/30”/38” and I’m 5’10” so I chose Size 6 to start with. My high bust also measures 38” so I used the A/B pattern (even though I’m a C cup). Having taken a bodice pattern course and knowing my shoulders are broad, I measured the pattern shoulder width and mine and decided to increase the shoulders via a broad shoulder adjustment by 5/8”. I also increased the length by 1.5” (and have since decided only 1” is needed). In the first 2 pictures you can see this muslin. Since I have never sewn a button up before I went through most of the steps for practice (I also pleated the back the wrong way in this one…oops!) I should’ve pinned all the way to my neck, but the shirt was very tight through the upper back and there were diagonal pull marks from the bust through to the shoulder. I then thought that perhaps I made the shoulders too wide, so I re-set-in the sleeves to what would be the equivalent of only having added 1/8” to the shoulders (this was rough to see what would happen). I still had fit issues (pictures 3&4). My third attempt was to cut a size 8 to give myself more width through the shoulders and back. This is the third muslin (pictures 5-7). I graded to a size 4 beneath the front darts and I’m happy with the fit through the waist. However, the main problem I continue to run into is that the sleeve cap is restrictively tight, the yoke is tight, yet the back bodice balloons out and is totally unflattering. Also there are drag lines in the front shoulder area and I feel as though my shoulders are being pulled inward.
    My thoughts are that I should add back in a broad shoulder adjustment and that perhaps I need to adjust for a square shoulder. I think a C cup may also help. The part I’m stumped on is what to do about the back yoke and bodice and how to rectify the tight sleeve cap. Any and all help would be so very much appreciated! I’ve also included pictures of ill-fitting button up shirts currently hanging in my closet from box stores.

    • This topic was modified 4 years ago by LaurenF.
    Liesl Gibson

    Ok, here’s some quick feedback! A couple of things to keep in mind here and with some of the shirts in your closet: this style of shirt is not a fitted blouse. It’s meant to be somewhat loose-fitting with a slightly dropped shoulder. In other words, I think you might be trying to make a fitted blouse with a shirt that’s designed to be more relaxed. And I think that’s where you’re running into trouble with your sleeve caps, etc. A fitted sleeve will have a much higher cap than this style. My measurements are 34-28-38 and I sew a size 8 for myself, so I think you’re correct to sew a size 8 as well. This will give you a more relaxed fit, but if you want to fit the back a bit more you could always add darts like the ones in our Recital Shirt, which are interchangeable with the Classic Shirt. (You can always just pin out a bit to create your own darts if you don’t own the Recital pattern.) Does that help? I’m not addressing more specific fit issues because I think you need to “go bigger” here. I hope that makes sense and doesn’t disappoint too much. Over-fitting is a common mistake when you’re new-ish to sewing, but for this style it works best if it’s left a bit looser. I’ll check back in a day or two to see how that’s sitting with you, ok?

    LaurenF @LaurenF

    Thank you @liesl! I feel as though you may be right with simpler being better! I’m going to try a C cup in Size 8 with the shoulders broadened again. Knowing it’s supposed to have a slightly dropped shoulder is helpful. I’ll let you know how it turns out in a couple of days. Thank you!!!

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