Are We There Yet? Step 5

Here is what we finished with last time…a bigger side bust dart but still left with some bunching in the armhole area.

Drawing a 3/4 inch wide dart that will be moved. Still using the red ink lowered and widened dart, let’s slash that side bust dart open again and see what happens.

Closing the 3/4 inch armhole dart and allowing the side bust dart to widen more to 4 inches. The excess 3/4 inch fabric is now transferred to the side dart. We could have put it anywhere but my goal was to see how wide the side bust dart needed to be to make everything nice and flat.

We end up with a distorted/smaller armhole but knowing that the side bust dart needs to be a 4 inch one is important.

Lay the original armhole over the distorted one for comparison. How will we get that to work???

One way to handle this is to close this little armhole dart and transfer the excess to the side bust dart more.

Thinking about how a sloping shoulder affects the pattern, I decided to measure the full length from the back waistline to each of the shoulder seams. Are they different?

Below you can see that they both measure 18 inches to the shoulder, but then the big difference is from the shoulder to the front waist.

The sloping right side front needs 19 inches to reach the front waistline but the left shoulder needs 20 inches to reach the waistline. After the sloper/muslin is made, I can decide how to remove the one inch extra from the right shoulder.


Maybe you don’t have this issue and your shoulders are more balanced or more square. Where it really shows up, the pesky missing inch, is in the paper pattern on the mannequin. Here is the right side with still some bunching issues:

Flipping the pattern over to the left side, non-sloping, it fits much better.

So let’s go back to the armhole dart to remove some excess fabric. Using  3/4 inch overlap was not enough so I increased it to 1.25 inches. Again this distorts the armhole curve but we can fix that later.

What we get is now a 5 inch dart.

Time now to draw in the 5 inch wide shoulder seam and the new armhole curve using the original pattern piece. 5/8 inch seam allowance lines will be added later.

Once everything is moved and redrawn, we can trim off the excess.

A new sheet of tracing paper is placed over this crazy mess of lines to make a clean paper pattern.

Ta da…finally a finished paper pattern! Next step is to use it to make a gingham sloper/muslin and see where we could use more wearing ease.

Thank you for following along and learning more things about your own body and how to change the pattern to fit you better! Some veggies to share that Mr. Mole has brought in:



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12 Responses to Are We There Yet? Step 5

  1. JenL says:

    This is really helpful— thank you. I’ve never been quite sure how to handle the distorted arm hole situation.

  2. Thanks again for this information. The light bulb moment for me was the difference in length from the sloping shoulder to the front waist. It should be obvious of course but I’d never really thought about it.

    • mrsmole says:

      I have never thought about it either until I have to figure out how to make the paper pattern sit flat. Making up muslins with fabric or buying ready to wear, I just got used to putting a small shoulder pad in that right side.

    • erniek3 says:

      (points up at this comment) I just…never had to think about it until right now. This is what happens when all I do is pants and hems. But I do make shirts for my sister and she has this issue (carrying too much on one side for years) so thanks. i will go fix those patterns for her.

  3. Sue says:

    This is awesome information. Thank you so much for sharing.

  4. Cathie says:

    Thank you so very much for everything! This post is a true gem, especially the armhole modification, and shorter shoulder seam! Cathie!

  5. upsew says:

    Thank you so much for sharing …I am only catching up on your last four posts now. They are great…..I often wondered about the duct tape mannequin….yours is so well done….would love to have my legs done too!!! as the tiny trousers leg adjustment drive me nuts!

  6. mrsmole says:

    You need 2 friends who want to make one as well so one is cutting the duct tape strips while the other 2 are applying the tapes. Or you could buy an inexpensive dress form and put your bra on it and stuff it. You can add padding where you need it and then pull a tight t-shirt over it to make everything smooth that you can pin things to.

  7. Pat says:

    Thank you! I always have that extra fold of fabric going from the armhole to the bust. Now I know what to do! I will try this out soon.

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