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Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Fitting Tip - How To Determine What You Need For Forward Shoulders

Fitting Forward Shoulders

Sewing Friends:

Do your shoulder seams fall to the back? The neck point seems OK, or maybe not. But the shoulder point definitely falls back. You most likely have forward shoulders and need to make a shoulder alteration.

Most fitting books address the problem, however, here is a tip to help you determine how much you need to alter your sewing pattern for forward shoulders.
  • Make up a top using 2 different colors of fabric.
  • Use a light color for the front and a dark color for the back.
  • Cut it so that you have 1" shoulder seam allowances.
  • Baste it together and press it.
  • Try it on.
  • Now stand in front of a mirror and look straight on at the outline of your shoulders.
  • Check out your shoulder seam front and back.
  • Look in a mirror to check the back.
The shoulder seam should sit exactly on top of your shoulder.

You shouldn't be able to see the other color of the front or back if you are looking straight on.

Someone else looking eyeball level to shoulder level may be better able to help you with this. You don't want them looking down on your shoulder. You want to look at the silhouette or outline of your body.

It may help to see this difference if you have someone take a photo of you front and back.

Open the shoulder seam allowance.

Add to the back and substract the same amount from the front shoulder points tapering back to the original neck point until the seam sits on top of your shoulder and you can't see the other color anymore from either the front or the back.

Some of you may need to change the neck point. Many people find this point rides to the back also. You may need to add to the back and take off the front here. However, if you have a high round back, you should do that alteration before you change the neck point. The high round back alteration may take care of the neck point problem for you.

By having two different colors for the front and back, it makes it easier to determine what you need and how much you need at your shoulder to have it be on top of your shoulder where it should be.


Some people move the dot on the sleeve to match the shoulder point change. Other people find the sleeve hangs better if they leave the dot alone. The underarm seams may not necessarily match. It depends on how the sleeve hangs on your arm.

Before you actually stitch your sleeve to your garment, try it on and pin it to your bodice where it hangs best on your arm.

Don't worry about matching dots or underarm seams at this point. Pin it where it hangs nice and looks good.

Now baste this sleeve into the armhole and check out the fit. If it hangs correctly, make new matching points on this test sleeve to your new shoulder seam. Then, make the corresponding changes to your sewing pattern.

You will most likely need to make these shoulder alterations to all of your sewing patterns.

Hope this fitting tip helps you determine what you need for your forward shoulders.

Get your fit in some classic styles that you wear most often and enjoy sewing.

It just makes sense!

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