Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Across Chest & Across Back Adjustment

Is your shoulder line falling off your shoulders?  

If so, your neckline and shoulders are too wide and you need to do an Across Chest & Across Back Adjustment to your pattern.

In this tutorial I'll show you how you can make your bodice pattern fit better at the shoulder line.

Let's get started!

Step 1 - First of all work out how much you want to move your your neckline and shoulders in.  eg. the above image needs to move over 2.5cm/1".

Rule a line at right angles to the CF line. (5cm/2" down from the neckline)

Step 2 -  Cut the line so that you've go 2 pieces.

Step 3 - Now, move the top pattern piece over to amount you've decided.  For this tutorial it's 2.5cm/1".
Step 4 - Re-draw your armhole and CF lines.

Your front pattern has been adjusted now it's time to do the same to the back pattern.

Step 5 - Your back bodice pattern will be adjusted the same as the front.  Rule a line at right angles to the CB in the across back region (10cm/4" down from the neckline).
Step 6 - Cut along the line so you have 2 pieces then move your top pattern piece over the same amount as the front.

Step 7 - Redraw your armhole and CB lines.

Your back and front pattern adjustments are now done.  Don't forget you need to do the exact same adjustment to your facing patterns.

Now you have a fantastic fitting bodice.  But remember, after each pattern adjustment you need to do another Toile (pronounced Twarl-meaning mock up and sample) just to make sure you've got your bodice fitting just the way you want.

Happy Sewing!

Ann Martin is the owner/designer of 1 Puddle Lane - Pattern Studio.
With over 30 years experience in the Fashion Industry she brings a wealth of knowledge on everything from Patternmaking and Sewing to Design.
Ann currently lives in Australia and is always working on new pattern designs to create.


  1. Thankyou for explaining this, brilliantly clear instructions!

  2. Excellent explanation, thank you

  3. Hi Ann, thanks a lot for this article. I am new in sewing and wonder how you determined the deep of the line you draw down the neckline (5 cm and 10 cm)? My second question: why haven't you "just" add the 2.5 cm adjustement to the shoulder line and redrew the neckline?
    Thank you in advance for your answers.Hafida

    1. The second part (if I understand what your asking correctly) - because that wouldn't bring the shoulder point in which is what you are trying to achieve. It would simply widen the shoulder strap altering the style line of the pattern but the shoulder would still be too wide.

  4. I did a ‘big 4’ pattern - sleeveless, scoop necked bodice front and back. Front had traditional bust and front darts and back had narrow waist dart - zipped up back. The front shoulder strap was fine, the back had a one inch gap probably at the notch mark at the arm hole. I checked that I cut the pattern correctly but somehow the back shoulder strap was hinky. I couldn’t smooth it up to the shoulder seam and keep a match to the front piece. Any suggestions? I’ve been sewing for YEARS but am just entering this amazing journey into pattern alterations- mostly by force - I got round in my old age.

  5. Vielen Dank. Danach hab ich schon lange gesucht.

  6. Toile is prononce twal not twarl

    1. Is there a reason you feel you have to be so rude? Really is it that important to you that you make her feel badly? You should take a look at yourself and figure out the need to be rude!!!!

  7. Thank you so much. This is so clear and helpful.

  8. If I need to alter the neckline of an existing garment do you have a suggestion for a tutorial?