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Can low armholes be raised?

skyvue

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2,221
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New York City
A couple of years back, several of us bought some linen sportcoats that had vintage flair at reduced prices from Macy's. I took the plunge for one in each of three colors.

The problem is, the armholes are laughably low. It looks almost like there's webbing between the arm and the torso if you raise your arms even a little.

So I'm wondering, is there anything a good tailor can do to raise armholes even a little bit? I'm guessing there isn't, but I'd sure be pleased to be corrected. As it is, I'll likely end up rarely, if ever,wearing these jackets, and that'd be too bad.
 

Tailor Tom

One of the Regulars
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131
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Minneapolis, MN
My little bit....

The answer is no. Even if you start with a large coat, the answer is still no. As it is a matter of the height of the side panel that determines the depth of the armhole. and there is not a way to make in taller.
 

resortes805

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SoCal
Just pad the shoulders 'till it fits!
shoulderpads.jpg
 

skyvue

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New York City
Tailor Tom said:
The answer is no. Even if you start with a large coat, the answer is still no. As it is a matter of the height of the side panel that determines the depth of the armhole. and there is not a way to make in taller.

Thanks, Tom -- I was afraid of that.

It's a darned shame. I like these jackets otherwise, and I can deal with a modern armhole in a pinch. But these go beyond the pale.
 

Edward

Bartender
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London, UK
I should think it depends upon patterning and whether there's enough material.... that said, I should also think that getting it done right by a tailor will end up costing far and away more than the jackets are actually worth.
 

Mr Thompson

New in Town
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4
Location
Belmont, North Carolina, USA
Possible, but difficult, and not perfect.

It is possible to make the armscye smaller, but it requires a lot of re-working of the jacket, and removing the sleeves. Since reducing the scye requires "adding" fabric instead of cutting it away, it takes some tricks to "reclaim" the fabric in that area. (Depending on how much extra seam allowance has been left at the bottom edge of the jacket, and around the scye itself, it can range from merely difficult to well-nigh impossible.) There is, of course, a limit to how tight you can go: a loose, baggy sleeve can never be re-made into Fred Astaire's dance wear.

Taking in the shoulder seam will raise the stance of the entire jacket, including the armscyes, if there is enough extra stuff turned in at the bottom hem to compensate. (The collar will have to be removed and re-set, but the jacket's balance --and many other flaws in the fit-- can be perfected at the same time, by adjusting the shoulder seams.)

If the jacket is a bit loose around the middle, the side panel can be taken in at the underarm seam, as well. Depending on how the bottom of the scye is shaped, this can raise the scye further as it tightens.

Finally, if there is extra material anywhere on the jacket at the seam allowances, it can be re-claimed, to make a crescent-shaped gusset at the bottom of the scye. If sewn carefully, the seam is nearly invisible; not to mention being hidden under the arm.

The sleeve is much easier to tighten: just take in the underarm seam until it matches the jacket's scye. It will narrow the sleeve, of course, and some re-stretching may come into play to restore the proper hang. It also may require a small gusset at the base of the scye.

As to whether it's worth it; that's up to you. But as you well know, it doesn't take a lot of difference in the scye circumference to make a world of difference in how the jacket feels on you. :D
 

Tailor Tom

One of the Regulars
Messages
131
Location
Minneapolis, MN
Mr Thompson said:
It is possible to make the armscye smaller, but it requires a lot of re-working of the jacket, and removing the sleeves. Since reducing the scye requires "adding" fabric instead of cutting it away, it takes some tricks to "reclaim" the fabric in that area. (Depending on how much extra seam allowance has been left at the bottom edge of the jacket, and around the scye itself, it can range from merely difficult to well-nigh impossible.) There is, of course, a limit to how tight you can go: a loose, baggy sleeve can never be re-made into Fred Astaire's dance wear.

Taking in the shoulder seam will raise the stance of the entire jacket, including the armscyes, if there is enough extra stuff turned in at the bottom hem to compensate. (The collar will have to be removed and re-set, but the jacket's balance --and many other flaws in the fit-- can be perfected at the same time, by adjusting the shoulder seams.)

If the jacket is a bit loose around the middle, the side panel can be taken in at the underarm seam, as well. Depending on how the bottom of the scye is shaped, this can raise the scye further as it tightens.

Finally, if there is extra material anywhere on the jacket at the seam allowances, it can be re-claimed, to make a crescent-shaped gusset at the bottom of the scye. If sewn carefully, the seam is nearly invisible; not to mention being hidden under the arm.

The sleeve is much easier to tighten: just take in the underarm seam until it matches the jacket's scye. It will narrow the sleeve, of course, and some re-stretching may come into play to restore the proper hang. It also may require a small gusset at the base of the scye.

As to whether it's worth it; that's up to you. But as you well know, it doesn't take a lot of difference in the scye circumference to make a world of difference in how the jacket feels on you. :D

Mr Thompson, is correct, to a point. And all of the labor involved is the main reason I didn't mention it earlier. It would be an easy $400-500 worth of alterations to do the above mentioned items. And it would drastically change the overall look of the coat. By raising the shoulders, and shortening the collar, it would raise the gorge line, the waist line/shape, the pocket placement, and the hem of the coat. It involves dealing with the canvas, the pads, sleeve heads, and so many parts, it really isn't worth the small amount of change. Lengthening the coat to compensate is out, because the front edges are clipped close, so there is no fabric in that area to let down.

You would also need to recut the top of the sleeve-cap, in order for it to be put back in, that would lead to lengthening the sleeve at the cuff end to put it back to the correct length. It complicates things even further if it is a patterned garment.

For all of those reasons, I still say NO !
 

Mr. Rover

One Too Many
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The Center of the Universe
I've tried to do this operation myself, recutting the collar and taking in the shoulder seams to raise the jacket (and thus the armholes). Honestly, it created a lot of controversy here and even caused the gentleman formerly known as Wild Root to send me an irate message ending our friendship.
At the end of the day, my advice is don't do it. Firstly, as a matter of engineering, the alteration alters the balance of the jacket and the placement of the lapels...it just doesn't look great, or as great as you'd hope it would look.
My new rule of thumb is if you don't like it, don't buy it. There will be others. I promise.

And in the meantime, this is the blog "Permanent Style"'s take on how to make armholes appear smaller.
Shoulder pads for smaller armholes
 
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