Sewing Glossary

What is an Armscye in Sewing? What is it Used For?

March 20, 2023 by

In this guide, we’ll be diving into everything you need to know about armscyes.

Let’s dive in!

Table of Contents

What is an Armscye?

An Armscye typically refers to the outline of the armhole in the field of tailoring to construct specific patterns specifically.

It’s basically the armhole opening in apparel through which the hand, and then the arm passes easily, and then lastly a sleeve can be joined to it.

An armscye length is determined by the total length of armhole measurement to the edge where the sleeve is joined.

The width is measured by taking account of the distance across the hole at the widest point.

An Armscye is mainly at the opening of the bodice, at the place where the sleeve is attached. The correct adjustment of an armscye is crucial to do pattern shape.

As the right cutting of an armscye leads to improved comfort and better movement. In case, if you are shorter or taller than normal then the need is to adjust your armscye.

When you feel the shirt is too tight or too loose like having creases on the material near your armpit, then it’s a sign that may require adjusting your armscye.

For example- the accurate cutting of an armscye is a key element to any jacket or coat.

Hence careful attention is given to the size and height of the armscye.

To see it further explained, we recommend this video by BooLeHeart:

What is an Armscye Used For?

An armscye is used for attaching or sewing the sleeve at the armhole of the garment so that the arm and hand pass at ease.

Armcye coat

Why is it Called an Armscye?

Armscye can be also pronounced ‘Arm’s Eye’ is originally a Scottish term. Earlier the expression “arm’s eye” was used in older sewing texts.

It’s also predicted in earlier records that the apostrophe and the crossbar of the lower case “e” were unclear.

The neologism “armscye” was generated by readers, who omitted the sound of orphaned fragments “arm” and “s” with the corrupt “cye”.

In the 20th century, writers found the original term more logical.

However, as self-proclaimed experts copied each other, the term “armscye” eventually prevailed and was commonly used by local tailors to gain general acceptance.

How is Armscye Measured?

The Armscye measurement is taken from the tip of the shoulder, then around the edge of the bust, under the arm, and back up to the shoulder.

To see further see how it’s measured, we recommend this video by PatternLab London:

What is the Armscye Depth?

Armscye depth is basically determined by measuring from the bone at the back of your neck straight down your back to a point level with the bottom of your armhole.

In the practical method, the armscye depth is measured by the position of the waist.

The length of the jacket is measured from the center back neckline and are chalk marked according to the measurements.

The back width is measured and, if necessary, adjusted accordingly to the one’s body’s measurements.

What is the Difference Between Armscye and Armhole?

An armhole tends to be a hole in a piece of clothing used for putting one’s arm through.

Armscye is an opening in a costume for the attachment of a sleeve (i.e armhole)

Final Remarks

The correct placement of the armscye is one the most important part of the pattern construction of any garment.

An armscye is essential for comfortability and ease movement of arms such as extending the arms or pulling them downwards.

A perfect armscye provides the appearance of good body posture improves bad posture.