Desperately seeking a sleeve/bodice fitting instructor – Burda Peplum Top

A slightly different post today!

I am turning to you for help finding a sleeve/bodice fitting instructor!

Sleeve fitting has been my biggest sewing nightmare so far. And I am yet to find a solution despite numerous attempts.

I’ll try to explain and illustrate (sorry for the pictures…)

Below is the bodice of Burda Peplum Top 08/12 114 Size 38 straight from Burda magazine pattern with forward shoulder adjustment.

bodice back muslin 1

bodice back muslin 1-raised

Problems I could detect in above muslin:

  • Poor arm range of movement,
  • Poor fitting at the back armhole area
  • Shoulder point too low
  • Wide at side seams
  • Forward shoulder and gaping at the front (you don´t see it above but I had to fix that)
  • Sleeve is too long and wide
  • Elbow dart is too low

How did I fix it:

  • I raised and reshaped the armhole. I find all patterns have a very low armhole.
  • I widened the front dart and shaped the last part as a diamond for better fit (I used a basting stitch that´s why the bust seam is not perfect).
  • I have also been adjusting the forward shoulder using fit for real people.
  • In this particular pattern I took in the side seams
  • Removed the gaping by slashing, reshaping the armhole and transferring the width to the waist dart.
  • Shortened the sleeve
  • Raised the elbow dart

Below is the result:

Burda peplum top bodice front muslin 2

bodice back

What is the issue now?

  • The front fits much better
  • The back armhole seems a bit tight. Although there are wrinkles in the back area it does not feel tight.
  • I should set the sleeve better (it’s hand basted) or there is some rotation needed.

What am I looking for?

Since all my attempts so far have failed, I am looking for an experienced sewing instructor who could assist me.

  • Location could be London, Rome, Milan, Barcelona, Brussels, Luxembourg or other city in Europe (as long as there is a low-cost flight to get there!). I´d be happy to do it via Skype/Facetime if you have a webcam.
  • I would estimate 2 hours private tuition or something along those lines (haven’t been able to find a two-day course I could attend).
  • Languages can be: English, Italian, Spanish or French
  • I would like to get some help fixing all the above once and for all, and understanding any fit limitation you may have with a woven (e.g. am I looking for something unrealistic?). Let me tell you that I have had these issues with several pattern companies: Vogue, Colette and even other.
  • It would be useful to properly take my measurements and eventually draft a sleeve from scratch (this I could do outside the class if time doesn’t allow).

If you know anyone who could assist me, leave a comment below or drop me an email at sewingprincess(at)bombardone(dot)com.
I will be forever grateful!

Thanks for reading!

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Author: Sewing Princess - Silvia

Join me for a journey to making my own wardrobe, pattern drafting and getting involved in the sewing community


  1. Pingback: London: the best sewing weekend | Sewing Princess

  2. You might be interested in a vintage French tailoring book by Alice Guerre:
    Nouvelle méthode de coupe et manière de faire ses robes soi-même (6e édition) / par Mme Alice Guerre. It’s available at the French National Archives, and you can view it for free.
    Here is a link. It places you to page 185, where I am reading just now.
    I didn’t want to loose my page, but you can easily flip backwards. It starts with bodices, goes on to jackets and redingcotes, followed by capes.
    There is sound drafting advice on all parts and step-by-step instructions to measuring.
    Maybe that helps!
    I found this book at the blog Couturestuff. You’ll find all kinds of really cool and helpful links in her French blog.
    juli recently posted..on sewing, stash and choices

  3. le misure da sola no, il corpo è tridimensionale e se prendi da sola la misura del busto per esempio ti trovi 4 cm o più della misura reale, perchè il movimento che fai alzando e piegando le braccia per sorreggere il metro espande la cassa toracica, chiedi ad un’amica di prenderti le misure!! auguri nella tua ricerca, un bacio!
    giusy recently posted..Vintage collector

  4. I could recommend you a book and it contains all possible fitting tips. As for the pattern drafting, this book in French can be a great addition to your sewing library. I use both books and find the super-douper helpful in fitting and drafting.
    Thewallinna recently posted..Becoming a needle geek

  5. I have just completed the online class….. Sew the Perfect Fit
    with Lynda Maynard. You can find it at I think that it would be a great help to you. I thought it was great.


    • Thanks for the feedback! I saw the class but wasn’t sure if it would really help.

      • It was worth every penny that I paid for it. I think that it is the most useful craftsy sewing class that I have taken so far and I loved Susan K’s class. I really like Lynda’s technique. It is so easy and makes sense. I like it because it is so visual. By following the grainlines you can easy see where the patterns need to be altered. I think that it is an awesome method. Just by taking her class, I can look at your muslin and see where you are going to have problems with the fit when you try to attach a skirt to it. Hope you like the class too. Good luck.


  6. I wish you luck with this…I struggle with sleeves too. I’m intrigued to see how you resolve this. Have you thought of contacting Steph at She does Skype sewing consultations.

  7. Ciao Silvia, tra le mie lavagne Pinterest ho trovato questo link:

    Spero possa esserti di aiuto!

    A presto,
    ClaraBelle recently posted..Primo Blog Tank: Un lavoro a misura… di mamma

  8. Yo podría ayudarte paso a paso, gratuitamente, si encontramos la manera de ponernos en contacto.
    Si estás de acuerdo, hacémelo saber.
    Te mando un saludo
    Analía Varela recently posted..Cambios!!!