THE SEWING DIVAS sewing, design, fashion

May 16, 2006

What a Difference an Armscye Makes

Filed under: Fit/Pattern Alterations,Pattern Drafting,Pattern Reviews — Gorgeous Things @ 5:42 pm

by Diva Ann, GorgeousThings 

I just finished making the latest version of HotPatterns’ “Great White Shirt”. I had made a version of this in its first incarnation, and had bad problems with the fit through the sleeve. The bodice fit fine, but the sleeves had huge diagonal draglines from the shoulder to the middle of the upper arm. The draglines went toward my torso. I took a picture of the original sleeve pattern and the muslin I made with it:

Note the flattened sleeve cap and the major drag line, even though the shirt is not closed on the mannequin. It was essentially unwearable. I sent a note off to Trudy, designer of the HotPatterns line, and she responded by redrafing the sleeve. Here’s a picture of my tracing of the new pattern and the resultant garment on the same form:

What a difference it makes! All the draglines are eliminated and the sleeve cap fits me perfectly out of the package. Now I know some of you who read this post have extensive pattern drafting expertise. Not me. I’m a rank beginner, and I’m just now able to appreciate what pattern drafters do. What really impressed me, other than the fit of the new sleeve cap (which has very little excess ease, by the way) is the speed with which Trudy and the HotPatterns team responded when this problem was pointed out to them. I wasn’t the only one to notice this, I’m sure. They turned right around and fixed the problem, then sent out the revised pattern to everyone who had received the first version, at no charge to their customers. That is the kind of customer service that makes me want to buy from them again and again. And I will!

You can see the complete review of this pattern at



  1. Thanks for the pictures and review Ann. I can’t wait to finish mine once I receive the revised sleeves.

    Comment by jemgirlca — May 16, 2006 @ 3:05 pm

  2. That’s beautiful, Ann! The new sleeve looks perfect.

    Comment by Gigi — May 16, 2006 @ 8:01 pm

  3. I knew that flat sleeve cap was unlike any I had seen in blouses/shirts without a dropped shoulder, but like you, Ann, I didn’t know what to do about it. Procrastination pays off again: Trudy appears to have perfected the sleeve, and I can’t wait to get the modified version. It looks exactly like I hoped it would. Thanks for the rave review and the pictures that prove what a great pattern this is.

    Comment by Karla — May 16, 2006 @ 8:19 pm

  4. I can’t wait to start mine….! This shirt look so great in person – I got to see Ann wearing it tonight. It’s a winner.

    Comment by Phyllis — May 16, 2006 @ 8:45 pm

  5. Thanks for blogging about this, Ann. Patternmaking is mathematics,art, experience and the patience to get things right! It’s great that Trudy could get this sleeve right and that HP had the wherewithall to get new patterns printed relatively quickly. Most importantly – YOU have a great shirt and everyone has a reliable shirt pattern.
    (No affiliation with HP, of course.)

    Comment by Anonymous — May 17, 2006 @ 7:50 am

  6. Wow! Great blog. I just found you yesterday when I read Ann’s review at PR. I’m having fun reading back through the entries and trying to guess who wrote it before I get to the end. (Hmm…that looks like something Gigi would make.)

    Thanks y’all!!!

    Comment by Beth H — May 17, 2006 @ 7:58 am

  7. I can’t see the pictures you posted of the original muslin but the shirt looks great. It’s definitely going on my pattern wish list.

    Comment by Robinson — November 6, 2006 @ 12:55 pm

  8. hi gigi
    i have a lot of trouble shaping my armholes and have been looking for some good curves for a while now just stumbled on your site and was impressed with all the info is it possible to get a drawn pattern of your wooden rulers please

    Comment by yemi — May 16, 2008 @ 2:26 pm

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