Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Tailored Suit: Tailoring the Jacket Front

At last, some photos of the tailoring I've done today on the jacket front:


You can see my buttonholes go up farther on the jacket than those on the original pattern design. That's because I don't want any fall at the bust. Since I worked so hard to ensure I've got enough room there, I don't want the lapel to feel or look over-sized. I bring enough volume to that area of the jacket already.


This photo looks a bit blurry here - it didn't on the camera?! I'm including it so that you can see a few things: The pin lines on the right side demarcate the 5/8 seam allowance. I moved the buttons horizontally - slightly closer to that seam line of the jacket than the pattern version instructs. Why? I just felt the pattern button placement is a bit too far from the centre line opening for my taste. I also wanted a bit more space in the chest area. (On that topic - can you see the topography of the princess seam?? The differential between the under bust and full bust is more than 7 inches - translating to the span of approximately 3 pattern sizes. I have some feelings about what underbust / full bust measurements will suit the unaltered mid-range sizes of this pattern so email if you want to have that discussion...) Finally, S and I measured the vertical line of the button placement closer to this line than the one the pattern suggests, so it seemed like a smart idea.

I have a whole diatribe about how A, B, C and D cup sizing - as pattern companies advise you which sloper bust they design for - is inaccurate, for smaller-framed people, anyway. I don't mean that the sloper isn't designed with a CHEST size in mind, but breasts, having volume, are different animals than under and over bust. Depending on your dimensions, you can save on required volume in a particular size by having a smaller under bust and over bust measurement. I've spoken of this before but, the more I learn the more convinced of this I am. Really, someone needs to start designing patterns for small-framed, relatively large-busted women. I can't think of one brand that does this. Colette: Suits tall, broad people. Sewaholic: Suits incredibly long-waisted pear shapes. This jacket pattern is designed for a wide-shouldered frame. Vogue comes closer to the sloper shape I'm talking about than any of the others, at least when it comes to frame size. Those who design for a woman who's large-busted because she's a large person, are not designing for me. And that's the whole premise of pattern grading, apparently. Thoughts and feelings are percolating, please stay tuned.

Back to the topic at hand: Yes, I have moved the buttons all over the map. Which means I had to reorient the lapel line. The photo below shows the altered fall of the lapel over the jacket front.


And below, you can see a) where I taped my lapel line with twill tape (it's catch stitched) vs the original line. The original one is the longer, wider line that happens to end at that yellow pin head. See how much wider it is at the base (the area that meets the full part of the bust).  Of course, I could be totally wrong about this, but I feel that the narrower and smaller lapel will be more attractive on my small but boobish frame.


The final photo shows how the beginnings of lapel pad stitching are assisting the roll. Pretty, no?


For the hugeness of this project, I have to say how much I love tailoring. It's a beautiful merger of process and creativity.

I am still on the fence about the pockets, but I've got till I finish with this portion to decide whether I'll add them in. Please keep your feedback coming. I'd love to know what you think of this  - and whether pockets seem like a good idea.

26 comments:

  1. This is quite the undertaking and I can't wait to see more. I have to agree with you about pattern companies needing to design for smaller frames and larger busts. I too have the same issue. Ive learned how to fix it thought so at this point I know what changes to make to a pattern before even making a new pattern.

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    1. You're fortunate to have figured out slopers that work for you. I'm getting there, but I still have far to go.

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  2. Looking fantastic - the material is brilliant. I do now after seeing this - again concur with leaving out the pockets. . . Of course until you put in the lining you don't have to make a pockets decision:) I recommend glasses of wine while you contemplate this!

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    1. I have decided on leaving them out. Thanks!

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  3. It's really looking nice! You've come a long way in a short time!

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  4. P.S. Oh, that's why Colette patterns fit! I now use my own sloper to create and/or redraft patterns exclusively (especially in the chest and shoulders).

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    1. That's the way to go, I think. I'll get there in time - just have to make every kind of pattern that's out there :-)

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  5. Wow, this really looks nice! I don't have a particularly large bust, but I have a very small frame, so I have to make all kinds of annoying adjustments to patterns to get them to fit through the upper chest and back. Blech! At least you've been able to figure out what you need through all this fitting hell.

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    1. See, this is what I mean - it's a relative measurement that dictates the need for those big alterations. And, yeah, I figured it out this time - but I shudder to think of the next time :-)

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  6. You would not believe how often I think about starting up a pattern company for large-busted women. But the whole having no clue how to design seeing patterns kind of gets in the way. Oh well. :-)

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    1. I know - work on that please. I'd like some good patterns tailored to our shape. :-)

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  7. This is looking really good. Your seam is perfect. I like the inner details as well. I hope the new lapel size words - thats a brave decision but I assume you must have tested it on your muslin?

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    1. Thanks K. I sort of tested it on the muslin. What I mean is, as I was creating the muslin - and working with S to improve the fit - we pinned it in a certain way (which resulted in the smaller lapel because we assumed a higher top button). Also the addition of volume at the bust does kind of change the profile of the jacket. I also didn't change the start point of the lapel, just the bottom part. The idea being that the collar position will not be impacted in any way. But I guess I am taking a chance. I did have a moment of - should I do this? Mind you, my buttonholes were already cut so I had to respect their position.

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    2. I did something similar (more extreme, actually) to the lapels on my Lady Grey jacket, and it worked out fine---if you've tested it on the muslin I think there won't be a problem. I do think it'll be a nice look for you with the shorter lapel and lovely buttons---the buttonholes look great! :)

      PS why not try your hand at pattern drafting? There'z a zillion texts out there, even online, and I think your (slightly) obsessive precision would be well-suited to the job ;)

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    3. I should go back and look at that series of posts. Thanks for your buttonhole compliment! I should try my hand at pattern drafting, but still have a lot to learn before I take that plunge.

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  8. It's looking absolutely gorgeous! You're inspiring me to start making my Starlet :)

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  9. Could you elaborate more about the bust sizing? Do you mean they increase the shoulder size in the larger cup sizes, somehow? I haven't used those patterns and I'm very curious.

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    1. Every sloper I've come across designs for a relative bust volume to upper chest measurement that is of a lower ratio than the one I require. So, in order to accommodate my chest I either have to adjust the pattern substantively or buy a pattern that fits in the bust but is 2-3 sizes too big everywhere else.

      If someone made patterns with relatively small under bust measurements (28-32 inches) and relatively large full bust (7 - 9 inches larger than the under bust) measurements, that would be a lot better than assuming that the only women with large chests are relatively large people.

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  10. I think i'd add the pockets, but that's probably because i hate not having pockets so add them to everything i can (even my pyjama bottoms have pockets!)

    I wholeheartedly agree about the small frame/big bust pattern thing! I was actually having a conversation with the boy about pattern drafting the other day and his comment was "well why don't you learn and make your own patterns that fit like that canadian girl has done" (referring to Tasia of Sewaholic). Proof he at least sometimes listens to what I say if nothing else. Sadly I don't (yet) have the skills to draft patterns in anything other than my size.

    I'm interested to hear your percolated thoughts and feelings on the subject though

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    1. That's hardcore with the pockets! I never use them, myself.

      I love how everyone suggests we make our own patterns. It's funny how non-sewing people assume that, if you can make something, you can design it.

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  11. Wow! Your buttonholes look beautiful. Well done!!!!!!

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    1. That's high praise from you! Thank you!!

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  12. Your jacket is looking great. Dispite your woes with the muslins, you are making great progress. The buttonholes look great. I think for your fabric the pockets aren't necessary. I HATE to have no pockets, even if they are rather wimpy ones, so I have added them to my jacket. I have to say that the pocket process is simillar to the buttonholes, but I had more troubles with them. Fortunately, the welt covers some of the issues. I wish I had thought of moving the lapel up before I did the tailoring on the lapel. I think it would be a better look for me as well. All in all, things are looking great.

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    1. Thanks Victoria! It's interesting that you have had more trouble with the welt pockets than with the buttonholes. You know, that lapel alteration is totally simple. Next time you make this (and by then you'll have ironed out all the kinks) you can easily adjust it in no time. I believe I rasied the bottom edge up (towards the neckline) by 2.25 inches (don't quote me). The net result is that the role line angle changed and the lapel got smaller. Remember though, it will necessitate repositioning of your buttons in order to get the front to align properly. (That's also easy...)

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