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Topic: *Need help altering sleeve patterns for big upper arms*  (Read 8433 times)
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Psycho Sue
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« on: January 25, 2010 05:50:54 AM »

I am a curvy woman with bigger upper arms. They measure 20" at the widest point. The patterns from the big 4 do not fit my arms at all. I need to modify them.

Last weekend I tried the slash and spread method. I slashed across the armpit, and down from the cap to the hemline. I left hinges at the slash point. From my calcs, I wanted 22" for upper arm width. the pattern was somewhere around 19" So I spread until the seam line across the pit area measured 22" . The cap lowered a lot, and deformed quite a bit.

I had traced the shape of the cap before I spread, so I used the original cap height and shape and just lined up the spread pattern with the dots on it. Then traced from the armpit area down to the hemline. So ended up with the old cap shape drawn onto the larger upperarm shape.

The new pattern was same height and shape as the original, but I see that between the last clip mark and the underearm seam there is the added 1" on front and back.

So it says everywhere that the doing alterations this way does not alter the seam cap length so it should fit into the same armsynth.....but I dont see how that happens it is clearly bigger by 1" in the area between the last tick mark and the underarm seam!
What am I doing wrong?

So I thought that maybe I just have to ease in the extra 2" under the arm?

I had another thought:
 I could add more room to the arm synth by spread the garment side seam out 1" (on front and back) graduating from the waist up to the arm synth....so I tried that. When I test fitted the pattern piece it created a "pooch" under the arms. I dont think that is right?

HELP!
« Last Edit: January 25, 2010 05:57:10 AM by Psycho Sue » THIS ROCKS   Logged

professionalpineapple
« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2010 08:35:06 AM »

In FFRP, it mentions this, and your sleeve cap seam is actually longer than before. With the original (flattened) cap, it was the same size, but once you add the height back in, it actually makes it quite a bit longer. If you have two lines that go between the same points, the curvier one will be longer, because it goes up and down more. :3

In order to fix this, FFRP recommends that you deepen the armholes (although it doesn't say by how much) or let out the bodice underarm seams. I'm not sure what you mean by a "pooch" under the arm, but if it's sticking out, then you should probably try deepening the armhole instead.
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Psycho Sue
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« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2010 04:17:40 AM »

Oh thanks for this info! I can def see that it was longer by 2 inches, despite what I had been reading on the internet, hahaha. And like you said it makes sense!
I need to try deepening the armholes next, I agree. I assume by 1 inch on the front and the back. I also have read deepening the armholes can restrict motion when raising your arms, so I am a bit trepidatious about doing it, I just don't see any other way to get fitted sleeves, sigh.

The pooch is my way of describing the look when I extended the underarm seamline out by 1". It curved out from my body and stuck out under my armpit. It was a pattern paper fit, so maybe it was just the paper making it do that. I have muslin to try.

Thanks so much again and may I ask what is FFRP? I have the Readers digest on sewing book...
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professionalpineapple
« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2010 03:03:27 PM »

Fit For Real People. It's my bible for pattern alterations, just because pretty much *every* fitting issue I've ever had is addressed in there. It's definitley worth getting, or at least picking up from the library.

Messing with the armholes will definitley make the garment a bit more restrictive, especially if the arms are supposed to be fitted. In that case, two piece sleeves would make the alteration a lot easier, because you can add to the middle without deforming the cap. The picture illustrates it better than I can with words, because I pulled it out of the book. Ssshh, don't tell anyone.  Wink


(They also added to the underarm seam, because they were letting out the side seams of the bodice too, but you don't need to do that.)
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Psycho Sue
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« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2010 10:34:41 AM »

Hey that's a good idea!  Cheesy

I saw another person does this too. I could:
- cut sleeve pattern in half down the center.... make a front and back sleeve.
- add 1" to center on front and back sleeve
-add 5/8 to the new center sleeve seam on front and back sleeve
- add 1" to the bodice front and back shoulder seam

then i suspect that doing this will require a neckline adjustment to bring the neckline back up to where it should be right?
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Maggiedoll
« Reply #5 on: March 01, 2010 02:14:43 PM »

After having just cut a top a couple sizes larger than my bust size and still had the sleeves too small, I had an idea.  I'll go even larger, but take out some of the middle of the front and back-- use an entirely larger size, but fold the paper of the pattern so that the body is still the width of my body, but everything else is bigger.  (I'm not sure if this would work for you or not-- as well as having large arms on an otherwise small top half, I'm also tall, so this should be a good all-around fix for me, especially because my upper thighs are wider than my hips and we determined in another thread that wearing a longer shirt to make the hips look wider would make the legs look thinner.)  Anyways, when I had this idea, I remembered this thread and hadda find it to add this idea.  That way you can cut a bigger size and just narrow the body so that you don't have to alter the armscye or the sleeves at all. 
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Psycho Sue
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« Reply #6 on: June 15, 2010 11:36:00 AM »

Maggiedoll, that's pretty cleaver! But in my case I am already at the largest pattern size.  Tongue
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« Reply #7 on: June 20, 2010 09:10:31 PM »

I have a Better Homes & Gardens sewing book from 1961 that shows how to do this, but my camera died.   Undecided

Here is a quick drawing: 



To make the sleeve bigger, just slash through the center and spread.  Take darts from the slash to the cap to make it lie flat.  The darts just taper off and keep the armhole the same size.  This can be done on short or long sleeves!

Also, I found this link to a blog, which might be helpful.  She uses a different method. 

I hope this helps you out!  I haven't tried either method, so let me know.  Smiley
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Psycho Sue
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« Reply #8 on: June 21, 2010 05:28:46 AM »

i do the slash down the middle like you have drawn, but never thought of doing the darts to keep it flat! That's a neat idea, thanks!  Shocked

on your link, the short sleeve method that she shows, i HAVE done, and it works PERFECTLY. I add at least 3 inches this way.

 Huh  Huh  But you know what, kimono sleeves is a complete other story.... DOES ANYONE KNOW HOW TO DO LARGER KIMONO SLEEVES? (by kimono I mean sleeves that are not sewn onto, but cut out as part of the bodice)
« Last Edit: June 21, 2010 05:31:49 AM by Psycho Sue » THIS ROCKS   Logged

KarinDelin
« Reply #9 on: March 07, 2014 05:59:37 PM »

Kimono sleeves can be altered by adding to the bottom and changing the size or or adding a gusset. Kimono sleeves are attached to the bodice in one piece.

Raglan sleeves are a separate piece. Rather than join at the bodice at the circular-like opening called the armseye, they form the shoulder of the garment and come up to the neckline.  They are altered similar to a regular sleeve.  The old versions of The Vogue Sewing book from the early 1970s is a great resource and can be inexpensively acquired from used book stores. It demonstrates these techniques and other fitting techniques.

Another method of adding ease and movement to a sleeve for a large arm with woven fabric is to cut the sleeve on the bias.  This can add variety and beauty to a garment, especially with plaids and stripes, and in fabrics where the colors vary with differences in grain.  You will see this technique quite a lot in 1800's dresses. 

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