Forward Head/Shoulder Adjustment

Published Categorized as Extensions and hacks, It's sew Kirsten!, Sewing Tutorials 14 Comments on Forward Head/Shoulder Adjustment

By Kirsten Schaefer

Kirsten is a textile and apparel design educator and researcher with over 14 years of formal training and practice in pattern making and apparel design. She has a PhD in Communication & Culture with a focus on the 3D knitting industry, and is currently working on developing smart-textile and apparel solutions for rehabilitation and healthcare. Kirsten spends her free time sewing and buying more fabric than she has space for. Her favourite TAL pattern is the V-Neck Jumpsuit!


  1. This is a work of art! I’ve struggled with deciding if I need this adjustment (and sway back? everybody has an inward curve at the lower spine – how much is too much?) or not. Shirts are always shifting backwards but I look in the mirror and see a “normal” frame with decent posture. I think I’m finally (!!) seeing that these postural/skeletal adjustments can be very subtle and are better diagnosed by fit than mirror. Your clarity in both text and photos is top notch. I’m seeing 2 muslins in my future – one straight out of the box, one with this adjustment for a real world comparison.

    1. Thanks Barb! Yes, the best approach is as you have described – make one with no adjustments first to determine what needs to be changed. Then apply the necessary changes to the pattern and make another 🙂 Happy sewing!

      1. I understand the problem, but my English is not even good enough to follow your description accurately. Is there any possibility to get it in German?
        Many thanks, Susanne

  2. I used this adjustment and a broad back adjustment had the most well fitting woven bodice I’ve ever had! Kirsten, how would one go about making this adjustment on a raglan style bodice? My gut tells me that it is essentially the same as the set-in sleeve…

    1. Hi Jin, thanks for your question, and apologies for my delay, I somehow missed your comment! Yes, it should be the same for a raglan as the set-in sleeve: slash and reduce the front piece by X amount, slash and increase the back piece by X amount, and then slash across the top of the raglan sleeve from each side toward the centre to pivot it down to overlap in the front (by X amount) which will open some space in the back (by the same amount). Blend your lines and you’re ready to roll! Most adjustments are within about an inch or so, so it shouldn’t cause unexpected distortion of the style, but as always, if unsure about cutting into your good fabric right away, test on a sample garment first. Let us know how it turns out!

  3. Oh, this is amazing! I think this will help with my protruding shoulder blades as well. Three things and just one adjustment. I can’t wait to try it.

  4. This is so interesting. I have a rounded back I wonder could i use this on my sewing pattern to correct the fit.

  5. Thank you so much for this. I always adjust patterns for the curve in my upper back but didn’t know how to remove excess fabric in the front.

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