Recognizing Fitting Problems

Let’s face it, none of us are perfect, and we all have a few wrinkles. What does that mean when it comes to sewing? Wrinkles can define the problem and we as sewers can fix them!

A collection of notes has been gathered together to share what I have learned over the years.


  • Wrinkles from underarm to sleeve top indicate that the sleeve cap is too short.
  • Diagonal wrinkles in sleeve cap can be a sign that the sleeve is set in crooked.
  • Lengthwise wrinkles in upper sleeve often mean the sleeve is too full.


  • Seams that twist to one side usually mean that one hip is larger or higher than the other. It can also mean that the skirt was not cut on the straight of grain.
  • Wrinkles around back waistline indicate that the skirt is too long at the back waistline.

Coats & Jackets

  • Crosswise wrinkles above waistline mean that the waist is too long.
  • Diagonal wrinkles, underarm to center back are usually caused from the upper back being too short.
  • Lengthwise wrinkles, from shoulder to hem indicate that the coat is too full through the body.
  • A crosswise wrinkle at the back of neck means that the back neckline is too high.
  • The garment being too full over the chest causes lengthwise wrinkles over chest.
  • Lengthwise wrinkles above back waist appear when the back is too full above the waist.
  • Crosswise wrinkles over back of shoulders indicate that the upper back is too narrow.
  • Diagonal wrinkles from neck to underarm can mean the shoulder pads are too shallow.
  • Wrinkles in back armhole are a sign that the back armhole it too large or stretched.
  • Crosswise wrinkles at the underarm mean that the armhole is too high.
  • Front edge swings to back is  a sign that the coat is too long between shoulders and waist.
  • Front edge swings past front is an indication that the coat is too short over the bust.
  • Side seams swinging to the front mean the upper back is too long.
  • Garment rides back on the neck when the front armhole is too long.
  • Top front edge rolls back when the lapel facing is too wide or neckline is too high at sides.
  • Lower edge draws up and puckers when the lining is too short.
  • Lower edge draws in when the lining is too tight.

STITCH ‘N TIMES Kansas City Chapter
American Sewing Guild

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