narrow shoulders

Through both pregnancies and all the weight loss and gain that goes with that the one consistent measurement has been my shoulder width.  I’ve been a 34 in Burda though my weight has been all over the map.  Period.  But I’m starting to think that I need to revisit that measurement as tops are starting to fall off of the edge of my shoulders.

I wonder if in all of my working out that I finally lost some width in my arms themselves that apparently brought in the edge of my shoulders (because it would appear that my shoulder width has not changed by much even though shoulders are too wide on me these days).

Take this top for instance.  It is Burda 7433 in a nice wool jersey from Denver Fabrics.  I’m happy with the width and reasonably how everything fits in general, except that the top of the sleeves are falling off of my shoulders.  Because of the width of the shoulders, the princess seams are falling outside of where they should be as well.

So I’m asking for help.  I know that I need to do a narrow shoulder adjustment of some sort, but can I do that though I’ve made the garment minus hems?  My idea was to split apart the princess seam and make a dart of sorts in the front to take out some width, easing in the back shoulder to match.  Is this a legitimate way to retrofit?
Elizabeth Made This

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  1. Place your top on, inside out, and pin at the top of the shoulder where you would like for the shoulder seam should be. Then carefully, turn it right side out, and try it on (don’t stick yourself). I think you will see a noticable difference with just this simple “fix”.
    See if thay will work for you….I think it will look nicer all the way around.

  2. Forgot to make myself clear, pin the top of the shoulders where the arm of the garment and the armhole meet as you would when making the garment.

  3. I love the style of this top! I think it has great potential.
    My first thought is: If you like the top, I don’t think you’ll regret going to the little extra effort to narrow the shoulders a bit, even if you don’t get it neatly finished on the inside again.
    But on the other hand, the top fits you looser than it does the model in the pattern photo. Maybe it’s the drapiness of the fabric, or maybe you could stand to downsize in the next Burda pattern you try. OR (here’s the third thought!) the folds in front of the shoulders make me think something like a hollow/narrow chest or petite adjustment between shoulder line and bust. (Sorry to throw all those things at you!)

  4. I am all about quick and dirty. Unpick the sleevecap at the shoulder and cut some width off the shoulder of the top. Then sew the sleeve back in. I looked up narrowing a shoulder in some resource (maybe FFRP, since it’s what I have) and was surprised to see this is what they have you do, just cut the excess width off the edge of the shoulder. I assumed you were supposed to do some sort of complicated maneuvering in the middle of the shoulder.

  5. Linda (mock ups) Reply

    Cutting off at the end of the shoulder doesn’t always work. This makes the armhole bigger because the length of the armhole gets longer as you move it in. (Try it on paper). If there isn’t enough ease in the sleeve to start with, the sleeve will be too small to put in. I suggest pleats on top of the shoulder to save this top.

    • You do both at the same time, the armhole and the sleeve where they meet at the cap of the sleeve. Take them up about 1/2 in or so, and stitch them with a whip stitch and then check it out BEFORE cutting. Remember the old adage, measure twice, and cut once!!!

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