DIY: How to Widen Armholes


Recently I have purchased a nice bare-shoulder shirt, and I encountered something that happens every now and then when I go clothe-shopping – the sleeves are too tight for my biceps.
It bothers me when I pull my arms up, when I bend them and basically everyday chores stop my blood circulation. Just plain uncomfortable.
I noticed this happens a lot more in the public-approachable stores, when the manufacturer cares more about the amount of garments than the quality, or fit, or sewing patterns in general.

Today this ends! I’m going to tackle this problem face on.
You’ll need:

  • Seam ripper
  • Measuring tape
  • Some pins
  • Matching thread
  • Suitable needle
  • Scraps of matching fabric


First thing’s first, I’m the realest measure around your arm at the place you feel is the tightest when you wear your shirt.
Then measure around the armhole at the same place, and figure out the difference. Add 1″ to that number for seam allowances.


I decided that 2″ was enough to add “breathing space”, and I wanted the widening to start 1.5″ from the edge (add 1″ for the hems and seams, that makes it 2.5″).

So create a triangle that has the base of 3″. From the middle of the base measure 2.5″, that’s the top vertex.

Thankfully I had a matching fabric almost the same color, but you can be creative and add a contrasting color to make a fashionable patch, or even an interesting print will do.IMG_20140719_200040

Seam ripper time! Looking at the seam under your arm – open those seams up, careful not to tear the fabric.

I ripped 1.5″ from the edge. Don’t forget to rip open the hems, too.IMG_20140719_203159

Using a wide stitch, baste the patch to the open seam. This is optional, but it helps to keep the patch in place.


Finish the seams, and stitch similar to what there was before you ripped.

Here, there was a row stitched at the bottom of the overlock, and then another row of stitching 1/4″ below that. So I did the same thing with the patch, and finished to top seam as well.


Finish the hem just the way it used to be finished before.


And you’re done!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this tutorial! Subscribe to get notified on more tutorials like this. 🙂

Have a quiet and peaceful weekend,



2 thoughts on “DIY: How to Widen Armholes

    1. Thank you!! It’s been driving me crazy so I just had to do something haha
      Don’t tell anyone, but I’ve been putting off doing it for a month.. But having a blog does motivate you to do stuff (in the end). 🙂


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