Adjusting Shoulder Width

Does your shoulder seam hit right at the top of your shoulder? If it doesn't, you will likely need a shoulder adjustment. If your shoulder seam hits in closer to the neck, you will need a wide shoulder adjustment. If your seam falls off the top of the shoulder, you will need a narrow shoulder adjustment. I am going to show you how to do a wide shoulder adjustment, but the exact same technique applies for a narrow adjustment.

***Please note: These are the same pattern pieces I used for the armscye adjustment blog post. The 3/8" addition to the armscye in these pictures is not part of this shoulder adjustment.***

To do this adjustment, you will need your front and back bodice pieces.

Lay your bodice pieces on top of each other, lining up the shoulders. Mark each shoulder at the middle (approximately is fine).

Take each bodice piece and make another mark about 3 inches down the armscye.

Draw a diagonal line connecting the 2 marks on each bodice piece.

Next up, this is important - either mark your pattern very close to the armscye or make mental note to stop cutting close to the edge. The green line represents where you will cut. The red line represents where you will stop. The reason this is important is because we want to leave the armscye intact so we don't have to make additional alterations to the sleeve cap. Cut your line on each bodice piece.

Now if you are widening your shoulder grab a piece of paper to tape under the hinged cut. (If you are narrowing, you will just hinge inward and overlap.) Mark the distance you would like to add to the shoulder. Hinge the cut piece open and tape it down right at that measured mark.

Draw a straight line from the inside neckline corner to the outside shoulder corner. This is your new pattern line. Cut off any excess paper, and you have completed this adjustment!

Questions? Tag me (Jodi WM) in the Sonia Estep Designs Facebook Group! I'm happy to help!

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