Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Tailored Suit: An Update on Sleeves

Tonight, the fabulous S came over and helped me to confirm the following:
  • Ascertaining the correct sleeve rotation (which we did in the last muslin) was the key to getting the sleeve to fit - in addition to making the length of the front sleeve longer.
  • The addition of extra width on the back under seam (see the more translucent addition to the sleeve piece in the photo below) was unnecessary. We think it was a (hazy-moment) remnant of one of the muslin versions. So we removed it.

  •  At that point, with some amazingly cool, manual easing - and S showed me how to do this - we pin-basted the sleeves in perfectly. But the shoulder seemed somehow wan. Even when we added shoulder pads, there was a need for some stabilization at the tip of the shoulder. 
  •  Which brings us to the next step wherein we removed all the pins and used the bias strip method of easing the sleeve.
  • I didn't do a good job of it so, after S left, I had to rip it out. I'll redo it again on Saturday, when I complete the insertion. But with a bit of additional easing, we were able to pin-baste the sleeve in again, and then add the shoulder pad, and the combo of bias-strip sleeve head and shoulder pad gave the jacket some gorgeous lines.
On the topic of this pattern's sleeve draft - which I continue to think about at length: I definitely think the sleeve on this pattern would have been better drafted asymmetrically, but I also think that no pattern can be expected to a) intuit my personal shoulder rotation and b) address the substantively-increased asymmetric requirement, given the changes made to the side front panel to provide space for my full bust.

Having said this, don't imagine the sleeve will fit well out of the box. Unless you are a very unique shape, it's likely you will benefit from adjusting it somewhat to maximize fit for your shape. Whether that's the case with every fitted jacket, I don't know. I'll have a chance to gain some more experience when I make the Claire Schaeffer tailored jacket (which S and I intend to do at the same time), after this. The mega-plus is that we will be able to assist each other with fitting. Furthermore the couple of tailoring projects I will have under my belt by then (a craft that S has not yet experienced) will be useful when it comes to interpreting how best to construct the Schaeffer jacket.

Mind you, one insanely complex project in its turn. :-) Here's to a good sleeve insertion, one jacket at a time.


  1. So awesome that you've nailed it!

    I am jealous (as if that's news), I have a Claire Schaeffer tailored pattern (not the exact one you link to, though) that I'm dying to go whole-hog on, but I'm trying so hard to keep myself away from intensive stitching commitments right now. Which seems to just make me crave it all the more, but anyway.

    Have fun! :D

    1. I know that feeling of wanting to be able to sew when you've got other commitments. It sucks.

  2. Wow, crazy! So complex- I wonder if I'll ever get to your level, haha. I'm so glad you've passed the "arghhhh" stage :)
    I have ordered a book on fitting, due to yours and others recommendations, soon I'll have "The Complete Photo Guide to Perfect Fitting". Yay :)

    1. Sometimes the level at which you sew is not the same as the level of skill development :-)

  3. This is really interesting. Can you show us a picture of the bias-tape binding? (I'm a Starlet Jacket Course dropout, at the moment.)

    1. I just posted an 8 minute turorial on this that Gertie did a while ago. It explains it far better than I could...