Across Shoulder: The Gotcha

across-shoulder

The Across Shoulder measurement is usuallydefined as;  Shoulder Tip to Centre Front Neck.

The image that would accompany it would be something like the introductory image on this page, showing the Centre Front Neck to be the pit of the neck which is the top of the Bodice Block.  This measurement which is found in other patternmaking instructions (sometimes with a slightly different name) is usually shown in images as a straight line, or sometimes with a slight tilt upwards to the neck.

This caused me a lot of grief.   I couldn't understand why my Bodice Front seemed wide in the neck with the shoulder slope too slanted.  I was using my measurements, and I checked them again and again.


across-shoulder-gotcha

The Across Shoulder sets the width of the block, and if that measurement is wrong you will get the following problems: neck too wide, incorrect shoulder slope, and the sleeve edge too far off the shoulder.   See the image titled: Incorrect Across Shoulder for an example.

I eventually figured out that measuring from the Shoulder Tip to any part of my neck wasn't working for me because of my body shape. The measurement from the Shoulder Tip to the Pit of my Neck was on a downward slope and ended up being 1.5cm longer than my actual Across Shoulder width.  Measuring across to my neck didn't work out any better because my neck is on a forward angle, and so that also resulted in an incorrect measurement.

I needed to measure from my Centre Front, quite a distance down from my neck,  to what would be the shoulder line.  See the example in the following image.  Compare the standard way to measure (Across Shoulder A), to how I had to measure (Across Shoulder B).

across-shoulder-for-me

body-forms

Be careful if....

If the measurement from your shoulder tip to the little dip in your neck is on a very downward slope (and this may apply to very upwards slopes??) and you measure the standard way, you end up with a much larger neck and the sleeve edge too far over the shoulder.  In this case measure as I did - see the third image on the page marked Across Shoulder (B).


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This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Hi. just a suggestion,
The measurement which you are mentioning as "across shoulder" which is few inches below the neck point on CF line across to the armhole curve seems to be a little confusing.
Across shoulder would mean shoulder point to...

Hi. just a suggestion,
The measurement which you are mentioning as "across shoulder" which is few inches below the neck point on CF line across to the armhole curve seems to be a little confusing.
Across shoulder would mean shoulder point to shoulder point.
The measurement area that you are indicating would actually be across front /chest front.
I have studied little bit of pattern making and also worked in the export industry working with countries like USA, UK, Australia.
I would also like to add that I had been looking for a very long time, 1 single place where I could understand pattern making and things surrounding it and I must say that I'm thoroughly enjoying your website. It has a LOT of information available and one doesn't have to google search every term and go dive deeper into it on some other website.
So thank you for all your work

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madhubani
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Hello Madhubani

The issue is that the measurement is SUPPOSED to be Shoulder Point to Centre Neck (or half of shoulder point to shoulder point). That is the measurement that is needed. My point on this page is that if some people - those who...

Hello Madhubani

The issue is that the measurement is SUPPOSED to be Shoulder Point to Centre Neck (or half of shoulder point to shoulder point). That is the measurement that is needed. My point on this page is that if some people - those who have forward jutting necks - take the measurement that way, they get an incorrect result. These people need to take the measurement a different way, and it is NOT the same as Across Chest - which is a different and separate measurement that is also needed to draft the block.

This Across Shoulder measurement shown in (B) is not to the armhole - as it would be for Across Chest - it is across to the Shoulder Line.

I hope you can understand the difference.

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Comment was last edited about 1 year ago by Maria Maria
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Right. I got what you said.
I re-read your article again and completely understood your point now.
Thank you

madhubani
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I just discovered your site. I have been teaching myself moulage for a couple years (yes longer than I would like) but I think I'm finally understanding. Today I was looking for articles about what people think about customizing right and left...

I just discovered your site. I have been teaching myself moulage for a couple years (yes longer than I would like) but I think I'm finally understanding. Today I was looking for articles about what people think about customizing right and left blocks. Your discussion of this made so much sense. I can see that you understand what the limitations are and how ones goals for doing this work can't be separated from the process. Accept that some styles won't look like you want or feel like you want; be willing to do the work if you want customized right and left fit; understand how the measurements you take are being used in creating the block and understand how something like a forward neck could alter your result (and be creative about where you take the measurement) etc. I'm so glad to have found your site!

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Jan Macleod
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Hello Jan,

I'm pleased you have found my website, and that the content is useful. I would really like to make a video about Fit, it is a topic close to my heart. Although I may look 'normal' (When talking about the problems about the fit of...

Hello Jan,

I'm pleased you have found my website, and that the content is useful. I would really like to make a video about Fit, it is a topic close to my heart. Although I may look 'normal' (When talking about the problems about the fit of ready-to-wear clothing, so many people say "but you look normal, you don't look like you'd have any problems finding clothes that fit"), I seem to have the Perfect Storm of Fitting Issues.

I have learned so much that I would like to share. I have a long list of things I want to address, and a video on Fit is one of them. The problem is finding the time...

Good luck with your patternmaking and I hope you persevere. I am so, so, very glad that I 'fell into' patternmaking. I can't tell you fantastic it is to be able to make clothing that fits, that is comfortable. Just sewing would not have got me there...

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Comment was last edited about 11 months ago by Maria Maria
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Hi,

From how far down on your CF neck did you measure? I'm guessing that the measurement was above your cross front?

Thanks

Cee
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Amazing
Bundle of thanks for sharing such an informative content

jennifer77
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Hi Maria - have begun watching some of your videos on making bodice blocks. Very informational and helpful especially to the newbies in the world of pattern drafting. I am struggling with the shoulder slope for front and back versus the length...

Hi Maria - have begun watching some of your videos on making bodice blocks. Very informational and helpful especially to the newbies in the world of pattern drafting. I am struggling with the shoulder slope for front and back versus the length of the back at the armhole in relation to the shorter length of the front at the armhole. My bodice pieces were coming out at the same length which I know is not correct- the back piece should be slightly higher than the front at the shoulder point. My thought was I need to "compromise" by making a deeper amount of slope for the front and a lesser for the back. If my front is roughly a 2" slope, then to achieve say a half inch difference between front and back lengths, then increase the front slope depth to 2 and 1/4" and decrease the back to 1 and 3/4". Am I on the right track or ?? thank you for any guidance in this area.

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Dianne Underwood
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Hello Dianne

It's hard to give an exact answer without seeing your draft as I'm not 100% sure what you mean by 'the back should be slightly higher than the front..." However, let me say this: sometimes what the textbooks say you 'should' do...

Hello Dianne

It's hard to give an exact answer without seeing your draft as I'm not 100% sure what you mean by 'the back should be slightly higher than the front..." However, let me say this: sometimes what the textbooks say you 'should' do doesn't work for every individual figure when you create a custom blocks based on one individual person's measurements. This is because a lot of the 'rules' are made within the context of the mass production of garments, where the sizing and grading rules and everything in between are necessary to get consistent results from size to size. Consistency is essential in that context. (i.e. In garment production it is essential to have a 'Standard' and all sizes follow certain rules so that patterns can be made in one size and graded to all other sizes).

But as I said ... these 'rules' don't always work for individual figures. My figure refuses to follow all the rules.

I'm attaching an image that I created a while ago for someone else, who was asking a similar but slightly different question.. The image shows how, if I try to keep one rule, I break another....

With standard figures, the Full Length Front (which affects the shoulder slope*) is only slightly (about 1/8 inch) more than the Full Length Back, The Full Length Front does increase the larger your bust cup, so according to that my Full Length Front should be about 3/4 inch more than my Full Length Back.

In actual fact, my Full Length Front is 1.25 inches (4cm) longer than my Full Length Back. If I try to even it out (decrease the front length, decrease the back), I get an almost horizontal line for my front shoulder slope.

The other issue is my shoulder slope. The standard figure has a slope of 2 inches for the front and 1.75 inches for the back. Mine is 3/16 inch for the front and 1 inch for the back.

Why don't I just decrease my Front Shoulder Slope measurement and increase the Back Shoulder Slope Measurement? if I do that my Front Armhole becomes even smaller and my back armhole even larger. (The rule as I remember it is if you line the blocks up at the armhole,, and draw horizontal lines at the shoulder tips, the back armhole is 1.5cm higher than the front...)

As is my front armhole is far smaller than my back. If I followed the armhole rule, I would, again, end up with a completely horizontal line for my front shoulder..

My point is I cannot follow all the rules; if I follow one, I break the other. It seems that I can only follow one rule, and in so doing break 2 others.

In the end this block makes clothes that fit me. HOWEVER (and a fairly bit 'but'), there are times when using my block does produce strange or unusable results when following instructions that are created on the assumption of a certain shape and consistency that my block does not 'fit'. This just means I have to think through and solve the problems that arise. I do hope eventually to pass on what I have learned about these issues, but I have only so much time and there is so much to get through....

* The actual Shoulder Slope (rather than specific the Shoulder Slope measurement used in the instructions) is determined by the interplay of 3 different measurements: the Full Length, the Shoulder Slope and Across Shoulder.

2 images attached = the second showing that regardless of the rules I break, I can make clothes that fit me with my block. My clothes fit me around the armhole and neckline far better than ready to wear clothing has ever done.

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Comment was last edited about 3 months ago by Maria Maria
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