How To Fix Tight Armholes

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If you love a dress or a top but the armholes of the same are just too small and tight for you, you can simply alter them to get a perfect fit.

You do not need to worry and have to keep yourself from wearing the outfit at all, instead, how to fix tight armholes by following a proper method.

The alteration of tight armholes can be a bit tricky as you have to consider a proper margin and work with the fabric well by sealing all the hems as well. But, it is not at all difficult to fix this problem as the tight armholes can be stitched and can be made of a perfect fitting.

Tight or small armholes can be extremely uncomfortable and can cause rashes as well as redness around the area if they are even a bit wearable. And if the armholes are such that they cannot be worn at all, both of these cases need alteration. You need to alter the dress or the top by having small armholes in a way that they do not look bulky and untidy and can give a proper fit to you.

Reasons for tight armholes

The armholes of a dress or a top can get tight due to a lot of reasons. To alter the same and to make it a bit loose, you first need to figure out what is the reason for the tightness around the armpits caused by the tight armholes. We have discussed a few reasons below that can result in such an uncomfortable fit-

Wrong sleeve width

One very common issue with the stitching of the clothes is the wrong width of the sleeves. If the sleeves are not of the right size, the armholes will be tight and uncomfortable. If you are experiencing any such inconvenience with your armholes, make sure to alter the width of the sleeve first and the armholes will become wider as well.

Wrong shoulder slope

Shoulder slopes might be stitched wrongly due to the presence of the lines that run from the armpits to the neckline. While stitching such designs, there is a chance that the slope of the shoulder is wrong and it is drooping or is too tight. This can also result in tight armholes and you might feel uncomfortable wearing such a dress.

Wrong chest width

If the chest width of a dress, top, or shirt is wrong and is a bit tight, the armholes tend to become very tight as well. If you alter the chest width of a garment, the armholes of the same will also get altered well and you will experience a comfortable fit. If the chest width is less than it needs to be, the armholes of the same may be also tight and uncomfortable to wear due to the wrong width of the entire garment. The width can be altered and you can get a comfortable fit.

how to fix tight armholes

A guide to altering and fix tight armholes

Here, we have given a detailed guide on how to fix tight armholes and alter them well to fit perfectly and look fabulous. You can follow these steps and can get your hands on well-fitted armholes of your favorite dress.

Increase the width of the sleeves

The easiest way to fix the problem of tight armholes is to increase the width of the sleeves of the dress or the shirt. This is because the sleeves are tight and that is the major reason why the armholes are tight too. You can easily increase the width of the sleeves and the armholes by removing the stitches and re-sewing the entire fabric by giving a proper margin along the whole area.

Increase the chest width

The width of the chest can also be increased when needed. If the armholes of the garment are tight in fitting, the chest width of the same will also be tight. You need to increase the width of the chest to get your hands on loosely fitted armholes as well as the chest. The chest width can also be increased by altering the entire stitching and giving a margin of about two to three inches for an easy fit.

Re-stitch the armholes

Another method to fix the tight armholes if the first two did not work is to re-stitch the armholes by removing the stitches and giving the needed margin. Altering tight armholes is not an easy task when it comes to removing all the previous stitches and measuring the margin needed and then re-stitching the fabric again. You first need to measure the margin needed to fix the tight armholes and then remove all the stitches carefully to make sure that you are not ruining the fabric. Then, measure the margin and mark the same on the garment and re-stitch the same with the given margin and sew all the hems perfectly to give a clean finish.

Re-stitching the whole garment with measurements

If none of the above-mentioned tricks and techniques work for completely altering tight armholes, the best way to achieve a good fitting of the entire dress is to re-stitch the garment with new measurements. Tight armholes are the result of a bad fitting and it might be possible that just by loosening the armholes, it won’t be possible that the fitting of the entire dress becomes perfect. To get a good fitting of the garment, you need to take new measurements and increase the size from all the sides if there is a margin to make sure that the entire garment can fit you properly.

Adding a fabric wedge

Another way by which you can increase the size of the armholes of a dress that are too tight is by adding a fabric wedge. This will increase the room for your arms and will not feel tight when you will wear the garment. Adding a fabric wedge is a process that needs to be done carefully to make sure that the dress does not look ugly and untidy. If you want a good finish of the altered garment then ensure that the wedge that has been added around the armhole area is stitched neatly.

Things needed to be taken care of while fixing tight armholes

While you are trying to fix the problem of tight armholes in a garment, there are a few things that you need to take care of. They are-

Take right measurements

If you are going ahead to alter the garment having tight armholes, the first step that you need to take is to take the right measurements for alteration. Wrong measurements can ruin the garment again as it will give an ill-fitting and will also not look good at all. While taking measurements, you need to be very careful and at least take one measurement thrice to be as accurate as possible.

Identify the issue

Before you set out with a scissor in your hand to work on the garment and alter it by cutting the fabrics here and there, it is important to first identify the issue that is leading to the problem. Having a tight armhole can be a result of several problems such as tight chest width, tight sleeves, etc. At first, you need to identify what the root cause of our problem is and only then start altering the fabric from where it is needed.

Don’t be in a hurry

When you are working with a piece of fabric, you need to be extremely cautious about a lot of things. If you hurry a lot and do not work with concentration, you might cut off some extra fabric from anywhere and ruin the entire garment completely. This is why it is advised to be on a low pace and have a good amount of concentration.

Stitch the hems

When you are done altering a garment, some threads are extra and they look extremely shabby when not treated well. This is the reason why it is advised to neatly hem all the fabric corners that you have cut to make sure that there is no untidiness or flimsiness noticed on the garment. To get a crisp and naturally fitted look, hemming the corners to avoid thread fallouts is an extremely necessary thing.


If you love a dress a lot but the armholes are now hurting you and are super uncomfortable as they have become extremely tight then do not worry at all! There is no need to let that dress go away, instead, you can alter it well and wear it without any hassle. We have discussed a few ways to alter and fix tight armholes in detail for you to go through the whole process and try it out for yourself whenever needed! Fixing tight armholes is not at all a big hassle if done correctly. Even you can fix the problem of your tight armholes by following the right method.

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