How To Fix Tight Armholes

How To Fix Tight Armholes

It is easy to alter an armhole of a dress, or the top of the armhole is too small or tight for you. By following a proper method, you can fix tight armholes without stopping yourself from wearing the outfit at all.

It’s a bit tricky to alter tight armholes, as you need to consider a proper margin and seal the hems. Fortunately, this problem is very easy to fix since tight armholes can be stitched and made to fit perfectly.

If they are even a little bit wearable, tight or small armholes can cause rashes and redness. In both cases, armholes need to be altered if they are not wearable. It is necessary to alter the dress or top to have small armholes to avoid looking bulky and untidy and give you a proper fit.

Keep reading our post, SewingWithEase makes sure you get all the needed information for you.

What are the reasons for tight armholes?

There are many reasons why armholes in dresses and tops can become tight. The first step in altering the same is to figure out what is causing the tightness around the armpits caused by the tight armholes. In the following sections, we discuss a few factors that can contribute to such an uncomfortable fit:

Irregular sleeve width

The sleeves of clothes are often stitched at the wrong width, which is a very common problem. Armholes will feel tight and uncomfortable if the sleeves are too small. You can correct any such inconvenience with your armholes by adjusting the sleeve width first, which will also widen the armholes.

A wrong shoulder slope

The lines that run from the armpits to the neckline might cause shoulder slopes to be stitched incorrectly. Stitching such designs can result in the shoulder drooping or being too tight if the shoulder slope is incorrect. As a result, you may feel uncomfortable wearing such a dress if the armholes are too tight.

Incorrect chest size

Dresses, tops, and shirts with a tight chest width also tend to have tight armholes. A garment’s chest width will also change the armholes, resulting in a comfortable fit. In the case that the chest width is smaller than it needs to be, the armholes of the same garment may also be too narrow and uncomfortable to wear. It is possible to adjust the width so that it fits comfortably.

Here is a guide to adjusting and fixing tight armholes

The following is a detailed guide to fixing tight armholes and altering them so that they fit perfectly and look fabulous. Following these steps will help you make your favorite dress’ armholes well-fitted.

How To Fix Tight Armholes

Increasing the width of the sleeves

Expanding the sleeves can easily fix dresses and shirts with tight armholes. The armholes are tight because the sleeves are tight, and that’s why the sleeves are tight. The sleeves and armholes can be easily widened by removing the stitches and re-sewing the whole fabric with a margin along the entire area.

Increase the width of the chest

It is also possible to increase the chest’s width when necessary. It is likely that the chest width of the garment will be restricted if the armholes are tight. In order to obtain loosely fitting armholes as well as the chest, you need to increase the chest width. You can also increase the chest size by altering the stitching and adding a margin of approximately two to three inches.

Make sure the armholes are re-stitched

In the event that the first two methods did not work, re-stitching the armholes after removing the stitches will work. Re-stitching tight armholes are not easy when removing all the previous stitches and measuring the margin needed. To fix the tight armholes, measure the margin needed and then carefully remove all the stitches to prevent ruining the fabric. Afterward, measure the margins, mark them on the garment, and re-stitch all hems according to the given margins.

Taking measurements and re-stitching the entire garment

To completely alter tight armholes, the best way is to restitch the dress with new measurements if none of the above tricks and techniques work. Having tight armholes is usually a sign of a bad fit, and simply loosening the armholes may not improve the fit of the entire dress. If there is a margin in size, you should take new measurements and increase the size from all sides if there is room for improvement.

By adding a fabric wedge

You can also add a fabric wedge to a dress that has too tight armholes to increase its size. Doing so gives your arms more room, and the garment will not feel tight when you wear it. It is essential to add a fabric wedge carefully to avoid making the dress look untidy and ugly. Make sure that the wedge added around the armhole area of the altered garment is stitched neatly if you want a good finish.

What needs to be considered when fixing tight armholes

You should keep a few things in mind when trying to resolve the problem of tight armholes in a garment. Here are some of them:

  • Measure correctly – Taking the right measurements for alterations is the first step if you intend on altering a garment with tight armholes. A wrong measurement can ruin a garment again, as it will result in an ill-fitting garment that looks awful. For maximum accuracy, you should take at least one measurement thrice while taking measurements.
  • Determine the problem – It is crucial to identify the cause before cutting the fabrics here and there to alter the garment. Tight chest widths, tight sleeves, and other problems can result in a tight armhole. In order to alter the fabric from where it is needed, you must first identify the root cause.
  • Don’t rush – Many things need to be taken into consideration when working with fabric. Working without concentration and hurrying will result in you cutting off some extra fabric from anywhere and ruining the entire garment. Therefore, it is recommended to keep a low pace and concentrate well.
  • Finish the hems by stitching them – Some threads remain after altering a garment and look extremely shabby if they are not treated properly. You should neatly hem all fabric corners to ensure that your garment is not untidy or flimsy. To achieve a crisp and naturally fitted look, it is extremely important to hem the corners to avoid thread fallouts.

How tight should an armhole be?

An armhole that is too tight can restrict movement and be uncomfortable. Too loose armhole can cause the garment to feel bulky and unflattering. The best armhole fit is one that is snug but not binding and allows you a full range of motion.

How do you widen arm hole patterns?

To widen an armhole pattern, you’ll need to start by cutting the original armhole pattern piece along the seam allowance line. Then, use a set of cutting shears to slightly enlarge the armhole. Once you’ve done that, you can trace the new armhole pattern onto some tracing paper and use it to cut out a new armhole piece.


In the event that your favorite dress has become extremely tight at the armholes and is causing you pain and discomfort, don’t worry about it! If you alter the dress well and wear it without any hassle, you won’t have to throw it away. To help you through the whole process and try it out for yourself, we have discussed a few different ways to alter and fix tight armholes. The process of fixing tight armholes isn’t a big hassle if you follow the instructions correctly. If you follow the right method, you can also fix the problem of tight armholes.

Make sure to check our sewing glossary guide if you are a newbie in sewing.

Similar Posts