Jacqueline Cieslak is a body positive maker and teacher at Ewe Fibers (one of our wonderful stockists), as well as a PhD student in anthropology. We adore her amazing sense of style and her new sweater pattern, Ursa.
The Shift Dress + Top is designed to have an oversized, relaxed fit in the body and the arms, but depending on your proportions, the size that fits your body might not work for your upper arms. In this post, I’ll walk you through the steps to do a square shoulder adjustment for your dress or top, giving you extra room in the bicep and shoulder at any of the sizes offered in the pattern.
Here is what the adjustment will look like:DETERMINE IF YOU NEED A SQUARE SHOULDER ADJUSTMENT
- Determine what size you want to make.
My measurements are 48-42-52 so I made the size 22.
- Measure your bicep circumference by wrapping the tape measure around the largest part of your upper arm.
My bicep is 19”.
- Find the number for bicep circumference from the “Finished Garment Measurements” chart.
For the size 22, the finished garment measurement for bicep circumference is 19 1/8”.
- Subtract your bicep measurement from the pattern’s finished garment measurement for bicep circumference. If the difference is less than 1” (or negative), you probably need an adjustment.
The difference between my bicep and the pattern’s finished garment bicep is 1/8”.
- Determine how much ease to add. By subtracting the pattern’s given bicep body measurement from the bicep circumference for finished garment measurement, you can determine how much ease is suggested for your size. However, you can choose to have less ease if you prefer.
For the size 22, the bicep ease suggested by the pattern is 3 1/8” (19 1/8 – 16). However, I muslined the size 22 and determined that I only needed an additional 1” of ease, not the full 3”.
NOTE: The pattern’s finished garment measurements for the bicep are taken at the point where you attach the sleeve, but your fullest bicep measurement will probably be higher on the arm than that point. So, at the seam, you will have more ease than determined in step 5 above. For example, by adding 1” to the armhole with a square shoulder adjustment, I ended up with about 4” of ease at the sleeve seam.
SHIRT AND DRESS FRONT AND SHIRT BACK
1. Begin with the front piece. Draw a line from the top neck corner to the bottom armhole corner.
2. Cut the pattern piece along that line, then rotate it out from the top corner until you have half the amount of additional ease you want to add to armhole (I added 1/2” because I wanted to add 1” ). Make sure you measure the ease where indicated by the red bracket in the illustration.
3. Use scrap paper and tape to fill in the space created in the pattern, and add some extra paper under the underarm. Use a French curve or just eyeball it to redraw the underarm to meet the side of the body.
4. Cut along the curve. Your new pattern piece is ready!
5. Repeat steps 1-4 for the shirt back piece, tracing the underarm curve from the front piece when you get to step 3 so they match. IMPORTANT: You must do this step EVEN IF you are making the dress.
1. Draw a line down the center of the sleeve pattern piece. Cut along this line.
2. Rotate both sides of the sleeves out from the center bottom point until you have the full amount of additional required ease at the top (twice what you added to the front and back pieces; I added 1”). Make sure you measure the ease where indicated by the red bracket in the illustration.
3. Use scrap paper and tape to fill in the space created in the pattern. Draw a line along the top of the sleeve, from corner to corner. Cut the excess paper off, and move it to the bottom, where you can use it to fill in the space from bottom corner to bottom corner. Cut excess from the sides of the sleeve.
NOTE: You need to have a modified shirt back piece before starting the dress back, even if you are not making the shirt.
1. Place your yoke piece over the top of your modified shirt back piece. Make sure that the piece is perfectly lined up over the back piece at 3 corners: the top of the neck, the bottom of the neck, and the bottom of the yoke (indicated by the red arrows in the illustration).
2. Draw a line on the yoke piece from the top left corner to somewhere a few inches in on the bottom of the piece. Cut.
3. Rotate the side piece out from the top left corner until it lines up with your modified shirt back piece.
4. Create your new pattern piece either by: a) tracing an entirely new pattern piece over the top of both pieces, or b) adding and taping scrap paper to the top and gap of the yoke piece and trimming the bottom edge of the rotated side.
5. Place your dress back piece over the top of your modified shirt back piece. Make sure that the piece is perfectly lined up over the back piece in 2 places: the underarm curve and the right edge of the pattern piece (indicated by the red arrows in the illustration).
6. You will add to your dress back piece so it matches the modified shirt back piece at the armhole and underarm. You can do this either by: a) tracing an entirely new pattern piece over the top of both pieces, or b) adding and taping scrap paper to the armhole and underarm.
That’s it! Congratulations, you have completed a square shoulder/full bicep adjustment for your Wiksten Shift Top + Dress!
Jacqueline is wearing the Short Shift Dress with 3/4 Sleeves made from the Linen in Pink Clay from our website.