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OTM shoulder alteration

November 24, 2013

I was asked how I altered the shoulder on the Of The Moment jacket so I’ve put together some diagrams to show my process. I think the pictures are clearer than photos, even if they aren’t exactly to scale. Got to add a disclaimer: I am no expert, and YMMV!

typical T shape

typical T shape

The problem – I have sloping shoulders and patterns that have the kimono-type T shape don’t do me any favors. They end up with excess draping under my arms. It’s the nature of these styles to have some of that draping, but too much is overwhelming. One solution would be to wear shoulder pads. I’ll do that for dressier versions, but don’t like to wear shoulder pads for everyday.

So…here goes. The blue is an approximation of one of the OTM front pieces, with the center front and the underarm dot marked. I didn’t draw the sleeve piece, but it joins the fronts and backs with very very little, if any, shaping to the sleeve cap and armscye. It’s basically a kimono T-shape that just happens to have the sleeve as a separate piece.



Pinkie represents the Paco Peralta asian jacket that I have made before and like the way the shoulder fits on me.

Paco pattern that has a shoulder slope

Paco pattern that has a shoulder slope

First I copied the portion of the OTM pattern that includes the end of the shoulder seam and the underarm dot. This is to be able to position the underarm dot correctly later on – so that the sleeve will still fit.

a little tracing

a little tracing

Now I laid the OTM pattern piece over the PP pattern I’m copying from. Align the center fronts and shift up or down until the points at which the neckline and shoulder seam intersect are on the same latitude.

patterns overlaid

patterns overlaid

Trace the shoulder line.

altered shoulder

altered shoulder

Lastly, get the little tracing and lay it on the altered pattern piece to determine the new location of the underarm dot.

white dot shows the new location

white dot shows the new location

The differences between the patterns are exaggerated for illustration purposes. They weren’t that extreme in reality.

Repeat with the back and the other front piece and you are ready to go. I hope this is of help!

9 Comments leave one →
  1. marcia permalink
    November 24, 2013 5:56 pm

    Robyn – thank you for the tutorial. That’s exactly what I need! Now to just remember it when I have the time to sew again.

  2. Towanda permalink
    November 24, 2013 8:31 pm

    Thanks for the tutorial. I’ve made the OTM jacket but wasn’t happy with the excess fabric under the arm. Now I will try to remake it using your instructions.

  3. November 25, 2013 1:55 am

    I have that problem, too. Thanks for the solution. Where do you find Paco Peralta’s patterns? Everyone raves about them.

    • November 29, 2013 5:16 pm

      Paco sells his patterns via Etsy. You can find his shop via Google or check out my previous posts on his patterns. Links are included. I’d give you the link here but my computer’s Internet connection is down, and I’m not smart enough to do it by phone. O_o

  4. Martha permalink
    November 25, 2013 2:55 pm

    Brilliant, Robyn. Thanks for sharing all the detail. Though I’ve always had square shoulders, I am seeing more of a slope these days. I love the CLD designs but struggle with the dropped shoulders and excess fabric. I will return to this and try your ideas. Oh, and I love that Paco jacket. Great design.

  5. November 25, 2013 8:17 pm

    Such a simple idea – take a pattern you like and know fits, lay it over the new ‘not quite right’ pattern and identify the differences.
    Thank you for showing us your method Robyn.

  6. Terri K permalink
    November 29, 2013 4:17 am

    Thank you for this post about your method Robyn. Like Martha, I’ve also always had square shoulders but now benefit from this modification on similar patterns. At the sewing retreat in FL I attended a year ago in October I asked Sandy to show me how to make the same alteration on the Take Me Anywhere pattern which also has very square shoulders.

  7. April 28, 2016 3:52 am

    This was helpful to me as I try to alter StyleArc’s Maris top (at for narrow, sloping, forward tilt shoulders. It looks like my shoulder alterations will change the size of the sleeve opening, and I have been trying to figure out if I should drop the bottom of the armscye to compensate… or not. I think you’ve answered my question (I will drop it). Thanks!

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