Forward sloping shoulder adjustment for a cut on sleeve

I have been sewing Cake Patterns since the very first pattern release.  There are a few common features to these patterns:

  1. Usually stretch/knit fabric
  2. Kimono Sleeves!!
  3. Modern interpretation of a vintage aesthetic
  4. Unique sizing method meaning everyone from a A-cup to a GG (or bigger) can get a good fit
  5. No gape

This means that for many who sew, a number of fitting issues are addressed straight up.  However, we are all unique shapes and shoulder size and slope is one of those things that are different for many of us.  I am in the category of small, very forward, very sloping shoulders combined with a small bust.  This means I have had to learn to make make significant adjustments to everything I make if I want to get a good fit.  And a good fit is the reason why I sew.  I am pretty obsessive about it.

I posted a while back about how I do this adjustment in this post here.  One of the things I didn’t do in that post was to move the angle of the shoulder seam forward prior to cutting.  I achieved the angle change by adjusting the front bodice only, which pulls the back piece forward.  This works well in super-stretchy fabric but when working with a less stretchy two way stretch fabric, I thought I would try a “proper” forward shoulder adjustment to the back bodice piece and see the difference.

When making my second casual version of Red Velvet I used a two way stretch cotton jersey (I think it is intended for children’s clothes) from Spotlight.  Its not hugely stretchy.  Sorry, can’t be more technical than that as Spotlight is not the greatest at providing fabric specifications on the label or anywhere else for that matter.

Rather than cluttering up the dress post with details I thought I would do a separate post on the issue for my reference and also for anyone else that would like to make this adjustment on this pattern. While I am talking specifically abou the Cake Patterns Red Velvet pattern, this information would apply equally to any cut on sleeve type that needed an adjustment, although the starting and finished angles may slightly change depending on the pattern.

Adjusting the Back Bodice:

I added a wedge of fabric to the back shoulder line and redrew the arm seam up to meet it, which also moved the shoulder “apex” point back about an 1″.  This adjustment is about 1/2″ forward which was a little too much but you can see the change to the angle of the shoulder seam.  This bodice size is the 35. The size 30 is the solid black lines you can see there.  My lines are in pencil so you can see I drew a few different options playing around with angles and such before I settled on this one as the best fit.

A different angle because , hey, lets just all geek out about forward shoulder kimono sleeve adjustments.

Adjusting the Front Bodice

In the front you can see the size 35 front bodice.  I have drawn in my new shoulder line in black dashes.  I’ve left the original shoulder line in place for these photos so the adjustment can be clearly seen. If you need to see this bigger you can click on the photo and see the full size image.

I moved the shoulder apex back the same amount as the back bodice piece –
roughly 1″.  I then drew a forward shoulder line for the shoulder and
joined it up to the sleeve hem to create a much flatter shoulder curve.

In this photo you can see the difference in the front and back. The back piece is more angled, the front piece is less angled, by roughly the same amount.

This is the front bodice with the excess fabric trimmed away leaving a much flatter shoulder line.

This adjustment is a great idea for anyone if you find your tops feel like they are sliding around and you need to constantly give them a good pull foward all the time as the shoulder seam struggles to find its natural spot.  Since I have been making this type of adjustment to everthing I make, I never have to pull or tug my tops into position and they feel significantly more comfortable.

Here is a closeup of the adjusted forward shoulder line on the finished dress.

While I was nutting this out I wondered to myself what a “standard” forward shoulder adjustment for a kimono sleeve should look like (ie: without the extra adjustment for a sloping shoulder or for a narrow shoulder).  Here is what I came up with:

This is essentially the one I did, with an added small shoulder adjustment. This method keeps the arm seam in the same place at the hemline.
This method will shift the entire arm seam forward as well, which is something you may or may not want.

This is based on the method I use for a standard forward shoulder on a set-in sleeve or sleeveless top which is take from the shoulder seam in the front and add to the back a wedge that adjusts the angle of the shoulder seam to point forward.  What do you think? Method #1 or #2 or is there another, better way?  Looking at the slight “backward” looking angle of my arm seam I think the second way might give a better result, but I have not tried it yet.

If anyone else has a method they use for this adjustment that is different to this please share it in the comments.