Updating a Me-Made Shirt

When I made this shirt almost 3 years ago I had to take it in at the back bodice darts to prevent the front collar from gaping inappropriately. At this point I was not accustomed to altering patterns. The pattern sizes range from size 10-22. In hindsight, this New Look 6104 pattern should have been graded down a size.


It took me almost two years to recognize the other fitting errors.

  • The bust dart was nowhere near my bust. Look at the picture below: the point of the dart ends at the bottom of my bra, not at the fullest part of my chest.
  • I had used the tulip sleeve option, which I like the look of, but which is not suited for someone as broad shouldered as me.
  • Whenever I sat down, the shirt would rise up around my shoulders. This brought back the front gape and I had to be careful how I sat at staff meetings.


One day I pinched the fabric at the point it was rising above my shoulder and looked in the mirror. The rest of the shirt suddenly fit better than it ever had; the bust dart pointed to my bust and the arm hole no longer gaped as much. What didn’t fit was the tulip sleeves. This adjustment made the tulip sleeves too constricting around my shoulders and upper bicep.


  • The alterations:
    Goodbye sleeves. I liked the detail, but they were too bulky under cardigans.
  • Take in the shoulder seam two whole inches. This brought the whole shirt into alignment.
  • The bias tape around the neckline was shortened and reattached. And new bias tape was required for the armholes. The armhole trim revealed how much fading the entire shirt has experienced over the last two and a half years. It isn’t noticeable in this photograph, and probably isn’t noticeable to most people I encounter.


The shirt fits MUCH better now. I am slowly coming to terms with the fact that I should shop in the petite department, I’m not sure what this means for commercial patterns. If I make this pattern again, I do think that in general the pattern needs to be graded down at least one more size.

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