Adjusting a pattern for high shoulders

High shoulder adjustment

Let’s talk about shoulders today.  If you are like me and have “Amazon woman” shoulders, you know how tricky it can be to achieve a good fit in this area.  My shoulders are both wide and high.  Adjusting a pattern for wide shoulders and/or a wide upper back can be done rather easily with a broad back adjustment, but I propose that adjusting for high shoulders can be a bit more difficult, especially on a garment with sleeves.  While fiddling with my Carolyn Pajama top a few weeks ago, I think I gained some new-to-me insight on how to accomplish this.  Hence, the high shoulder adjustment was born.

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Mis-proportioned cowl-neck top

Pink cowl-neck top - collar detail

Today I have a moderately successful project to share with you – a good idea in theory, but unfortunately met with poor execution.  I think my “dissertation brain” is starting to throw off my sewing, as I’ve been diving head first into projects lately without my usual level of prior thought, research, etc.  I can’t help but be reminded of the old adage, “measure twice, cut once.”  Lately I feel like I haven’t been doing any measuring at all, just cutting with abandon!

Here was my plan for this project, a simple knit top for summer:

  • Start with my modified Renfrew pattern
  • Add mini sleeve bands that I drafted last summer
  • Draft a drapey cowl-neck
  • Omit the hem band and add a shirttail hem instead

I thought this combo would make a fun little summer top to pair with skirts and shorts, but instead I wound up with a wrinkly and ill-proportioned mess!

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Granny chic and chambray self-drafted racerback tanks

Chambray and granny chic racerback tanks

Today I’ve got 2 finished summer tops to show you, drafted from scratch by me!  Hooray for actually using my sloper to create some finished garments!  You’ve already seen the chambray tank on the hanger a few weeks ago, and I also sewed up a floral version that I’m calling “granny chic,” since I can’t decide whether this print is granny-fabulous or just plain eye-searing.  I do think it looks good with a white skirt though, so I’m calling it a win!

Project Stats:

Pattern: Self-drafted from my sloper

Fabric: Robert Kaufman cotton chambray dots in burgundy, Bonnie Christine Aves Chatter Voile in Dim, Heather Ross Briar Rose Cricket Clover in pink/white (all 100% cotton).  Embellishments: “vintage” (?) piece of lace from a mystery box of goodies, metallic tailor’s tape.

Modifications: Starting with my bodice sloper, I added a deep V-neck, deepened the armholes, and added an aggressive racerback.  The “peplum” (not actually a flounce) is the top portion of a maxi skirt that I drafted from my skirt sloper.  I added a slight shirttail/curved hem.

Level of crafty satisfaction: Although I fully admit that these tanks look a bit like “my first drafting projects” (which they totally are!) and have a few fit issues, I’m excited to have finally used my sloper to create some finished garments.  I’m sure drafting your own patterns is a journey, and I’ve just started to take my first steps.  Lots to learn!

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Chambray racerback peplum tank (almost done)

Chambray racerback peplum tank - front

There’s something about a quick sewing project that’s really uplifting.  My life outside of sewing has been extremely stressful lately, and I find that diving head first into a satisfying sewing project can be a very healing, restorative process.  I’m sure you can relate.  I whipped up this tank during a day off from work today (a mental health day in the truest form), and I’m quite delighted with the result.  I’d say it’s *almost* done at this point, just lacking a little piece of flair.

This top is self-drafted from my bodice sloper, and I used the modifications I had made for my self-drafted maxi dress that I never got around to sewing in real fabric.  Essentially I took the sloper and added a racerback, deepened the armholes, and added a deep V-neckline.  For the peplum, I simply chopped off the maxi skirt and left the top ~8 inches, adding a slight shirttail hem.

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Self-drafted maxi dress muslin

Self-drafted maxi dress - compilation image

It seems like I’ve been sewing nothing but muslin around here lately!  After my failed attempt at getting the Simone dress to fit properly, I decided to put my newly-drafted sloper into action and draft the dress of my dreams from scratch.  Well, since it’s my very first self-drafted garment, I think “dress of my dreams” might be pushing it.  But you get the idea.  : )  I’m excited!

Self-drafted maxi dress - sketches

I even made sketches and everything.  You know, like a real designer.  Ha!  I wanted a simple summer maxi dress with a fitted bodice and a hi-lo hem, similar to the design of the Simone dress that I liked so much (in theory).  I envisioned using a contrast fabric panel in the center front and center back to add a bit of interest.  I even thought about doing the panel in a solid color with some hand embroidery.  So many possibilities!

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