nancy's notions logo

The Quilting & Sewing Resource Library

For quality quilting & sewing supplies, visit our sister-site Missouri Star.

Home All About Sewing Sewing the Perfect Armhole is Easy!

Sewing the Perfect Armhole is Easy!

by Beth Cooper

Are you super intimidated by sewing shirts because you’re scared of screwing up the armholes?? A lot of people stress about this, but no worries! Following a few simple tips will have you making perfect armholes every single time!

1. Accurate Measurements: The Foundation of Success

Before you start sewing, ensure you have accurate measurements of the wearer’s armhole circumference and arm length. This foundation will guide your pattern adjustments and fabric cutting, ensuring that the final garment fits comfortably and looks professional. Always remember that a well-fitted armhole allows for ease of movement without being too tight or too loose.

2. Choose the Right Pattern:

Selecting a pattern that suits your skill level and desired style is crucial. Patterns that offer various sleeve and armhole options will give you the flexibility to choose what aligns with your design vision. Make sure to carefully read the pattern instructions and study any recommended adjustments for a proper fit.

Looking for a great tunic or dress pattern? This one is fantastic! Find it here!

3. Make a Muslin Mock-Up:

Creating a muslin mock-up or toile allows you to test the pattern and make necessary adjustments without using your precious fabric. Focus on the armhole fit during this stage, as you can make alterations to achieve the desired comfort and mobility.

4. Precision Cutting:

Cutting the fabric accurately is as important as stitching it. Pay close attention to the armhole edges while cutting, and use quality shears to prevent fraying. If your fabric tends to fray easily, consider using pinking shears or applying a fray-stop product to the edges.

Need a great pair of dressmaking shears? Check out the entire selection at Missouri Star. Click here!

5. Staystitching:

Before you start assembling your shirt, reinforce the armhole edges with staystitching. This prevents distortion and stretching during the sewing process. Staystitch just inside the seam allowance, using a regular straight stitch.

6. Clipping and Notching:

After stitching the shoulder and side seams, carefully clip or notch the seam allowance around the curve of the armhole. This reduces bulk and allows the fabric to lay flat when turned right side out.

7. Seam Finish:

Choosing the appropriate seam finish for your armholes depends on the fabric you’re working with. French seams, bias binding, and serging are all options to consider. The finish should be neat and comfortable against the skin.

8. Ease the Sleeve:

When attaching the sleeves, remember to ease in the sleeve cap to the armhole. This distributes any excess fabric evenly, preventing puckering or gathering. Use gathering stitches or tailor’s tacks to help guide the placement.

9. Pressing Matters:

Pressing your seams at every step is crucial for a professional finish. Use a tailor’s ham or sleeve roll to press the armhole area smoothly. This step helps set the stitches and encourages a clean appearance.

This Petite Press Iron is perfect for pressing those armhole seam allowances. It heats up fast
and holds its heat. You can find it here!

10. Final Fit Check:

Once the shirt is mostly assembled, have the wearer try it on for a final fit check. Assess the armhole fit, ease of movement, and overall comfort. Make any necessary adjustments before completing the final stitching and finishing touches.

You Can Do It!

Mastering the art of armholes when sewing shirts is a skill that combines precision, patience, and a keen eye for detail. Remember that practice makes perfect, and with each shirt you sew, your expertise in creating comfortable and stylish armholes will grow.

Want to read more Sewing 101 articles like this one? Click here!

You may also like

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments