The Blog of The Bride of Sesshomaru


Welcome to my sewing, historical reenactment, and CosPlay blog! Here on this blog you will find all of my random thoughts about sewing, the SCA, manga, anime, CosPlay, costume making, embroidery, sewing historically accurate Japanese costumes, and my fandom of Lord Sesshomaru whom I CrossPlay as.

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Monday, May 19, 2008

Altering Armholes on Garb


I found the following question on, and as it is a problem I have often dealt with myself, I'm going to save my answer here on my blog. Here is the question:

    Hey does anyone know how to widen a armhole because somehow I made the sleeves way bigger then the armhole for my Lucky Star cosplay blouse. Can some one help me? Please and thank you.

I would try on the bodice to make sure it fit, first, and if the armholes were okay, I'd work instead on the sleeves.

Here are some things I might try if it was mine:

What I'd most likely do (and have done in the past) is this: on the top of the sleeve head, sew a double row of basting stitches (leaving about a 4 inch tail of thread on each end of each row) , than gently pull the ends of the threads, while adjusting the fabric into enough of a "gather" so that the sleeve now fits the arm hole.

I have found that adding the gather is the quickest solution, and the easiest to do, but it also will add a slight "pouf" to the sleeves and if you don't want that, than you may not want to use it. Using this method is recommended for a blouson sleeve look.

If the gather method, would alter the end result look too much for the look I'm trying to achieve, my next method to try, would be to add a few tiny darts: say, one at the front, one at the top, and one at the back; or maybe 3 in a row all right on top. Where I'd place the darts would be determined by the "look" I'm going for. Using this method is recommended if you are going for a fitted sleeve look.

If you have REALLY REALLY gone over board and there is just WAAAAY too much fabric in the sleeve, I would try to recut it instead, as if you've gone too big, you should be able to cut it down to the correct size. You'll have to be careful here, though cause if you cut off too much than you'll be in a worse boat than you are in already! You can take of too much fabric, but it's nearly impossible to add on extra, so be careful if you decide to trim it down, and trim down only an 1/8 inch at a time, and check between each cut.

Working with changing the armhole itself, is a bit trickier, and will likely require you to cut it down, but again, if you start cutting it down, cut in 1/8 inch slivers and check between each cut. Cutting off too much could be a disaster!

The problem with changing the armhole, it that it could change the "fit" of the garment, resulting in a tight pull across the chest, across the shoulders, or both!

If you have extra fabric, a better alternative, to cutting into the armhole, would be to cut a 1 - 2 inch wide strip of fabric, and sew it to the front side seam, thus making the entire bodice a little bit wider and widening the armhole at the same time, without creating a "pull" across the chest or shoulders.

I'd try changing the sleeve first, and only change the armhole if changing the sleeve doesn't work.

Alternately, if you have enough fabric, you could just recut the sleeve entirely.

In the future to prevent this problem, you could do what professional dressmakers and fashion designers do, and make 2 outfits. First you cut all of your pattern pieces out of a plain muslin, and sew it up, than do all the alterations to the muslin dummy. than take the stitches out and use the muslin pieces, as the pattern pieces that you use to cut out your real fabric. This way you can get all the editing and changes down before you ever cut into your more expensive cloth. This is an especially good thing to do if it's pattern you plan to make more than once too, because all you have to do is save the muslin pieces, and keep reusing them. If you plan to use them a lot, though you should sew around the edges to prevent fraying.

What's your take on this? I'd love to hear what you have to say about this post. Leave a comment and share your views!


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