Custom Sewing Support

help for home sewers and knitters

Dowager Curve Illustrated

The Dowager Curve increases the center back length between the neck and the mid back.  The shoulder dart will be widened to shape the additional curve.  The dart can be moved to the neck if the fit is improved.  The best dart placement is easily checked with a simple pin fitting transfer on the body.

Trace the stitching line along the back neck, down the shoulder to the shoulder point.  Include the armhole to the notch if additional upper back width is needed. 

Clip to but not through the stitching line at the blue arrows.  On the the shoulder dart, you will clip through the center of the dart.

illustration dowager alteration

At the center back-neck point, increase the length of the center back the amount needed by sliding the seam allowance up.   In order to maintain the proper length of the shoulder seam the dart take up is increased.  A dowager curve requires this additional back shaping.  In this example, the alteration has included an increase in back width seen by moving the armhole seam allowance out.  Measuring the width of the upper back and comparing the measurement to the pattern will let you know if you need to do this.  Redraw the shoulder dart from dart tip to the newly located wider points on the seam line.

illustration dowager curver completed

This alteration is frequently done in conjunction with a forward head.