Tuesday, October 6, 2015

The Ill-fitting Jacket

One of the assignments from the Patternmaking for Knits class I took at FIT this past spring was to draft a pattern for a "Chanel-look" jacket for a stable knit fabric.  We were allowed to make the garments fit ourselves but only within the parameters of the assignment.  The course was designed to teach pattern drafting used by the industry.

I am top heavy so I always need bust darts for shaping.  Since this assignment required that we draft the pattern for a boxy dartless jacket for a stable fabric, I knew I was in trouble!



The jacket was not meant to be a couture level type of jacket so the jacket was unlined with serged seam allowances.  The best thing about this assignment was that we learned a really nice way of finishing the edges.  I am sure this is nothing new and someone somewhere has already written about it.  Nevertheless, I want to share what I learned because I think it's a cool technique.

We pressed the seam allowance to the right side of the jacket.  My seam allowance was 1/2 inch.  We then were to purchase trim slightly wider than the seam allowance so we could apply it on top of the seam allowance thus covering the seam allowance and providing a clean finish outside and inside.  I chose trim 3/4 inch wide.

1/2" seam allowance turned to right side

Trim 3/4" wide applied on top of
seam allowance
I did not feel confident I could apply this trim successfully by machine so I painstakingly attached the trim by hand sewing tiny stitches on both sides of the trim.

The following photo shows how nice and clean the inside looks:




Back to the issue of fit.  As you can see below, the photo of the side view shows that the jacket is screaming for a bust dart.  You can see the fabric fold trying to become a dart. 




The pattern draft assignment also required that the front and back be the same (except for the neckline) because that's how pattern drafts for knits are done for the mass market.  Now since in the industry patterns are drafted for the B cup, if you are a B cup or smaller, this would not pose a problem.  The fabric would give enough to allow a nice fit.  I may be able to squeeze by with a very stretchy fabric or one with a loose weave but this does not work for me at all in a stable knit.

In my case, I am disproportionately bigger in the front than the back.  Thus, by drafting the back the same as the front, I ended up with excess fabric in the back.  Ugh!  Look at those folds!  I sure could use a sloping shoulder adjustment here as well.  Oy.



After the class was over, in a futile attempt to somehow redeem this jacket, I decided to line the sleeves in charmeuse so it would be easier to slip my arms in and out of the jacket.  I used the same sleeve pattern as I used for the jacket but sewed the lining with 3/8" seam allowance instead of the 1/2" used for the jacket sleeve so as to allow a little ease in the sleeve so that the lining would not strain or tear.  I also created a jump pleat at the bottom of the sleeve.  I attached the lining by hand all around the armscye and sleeve hem.



After all of this effort, I do not like this jacket due to the poor fit although it is warm and comfortable.  This was a frustrating assignment - maybe I should have drafted this particular pattern for the perfectly symmetrical B cup dress form available in class (that was an option).  Oh well!  This particular assignment confirmed for me why ready-to-wear does not fit so many people.

Happy sewing!

17 comments:

  1. Love this post and on a galloping horse, who would notice? I noticed right on how the jacket does hang level at the hemline, great. Sure, it's not perfect fit but throw a scarf on it, put on a pair of jeans and you are good to go on a casual knock around Saturday of errands.

    It must have been frustrating to have to draft for yourself but no fit yourself, if that makes sense. Love that you show your efforts, no matter the result, which are usually awesome by the way!

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    1. Ha! You gave me a good chuckle! Thanks for the idea - a nice big scarf or shawl may just save this jacket. Thanks for your support and encouragement.

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  2. I agree. It's not what you wanted but it's the sort of style that's better than a cardigan in the office especially if it's a RTW cardigan.

    Thanks for sharing the trim idea.

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    1. Thanks so much - I will give this jacket some thought.

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  3. It is still way better than RTW for fit ! I agree with Bunny and Velosewer that it is still wearable. I love the finishing tip!! Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Thanks so much Janet. Glad you like the finishing tip.

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  4. You might not be happy with it but you wouldn't buy a RTW as good as yours has turned out. Most people won't even notice so go with it and wear with pride. It looks great and beautifully made :) x

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    1. Thank you Dawn! I think I will work on fixing the fit issues eventually...

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  5. Oh you should wear this jacket! I see what you have pointed out, but it doesn't matter - the overall effect is still attractive. You made the most of this assignment - your hands were tied, so to speak.
    I hope you enjoy the cosy comfort & warmth and wear it!

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    1. Thank you so much! I think I will work on fixing it. I have some ideas brewing in my head.

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  6. I agree with the other commented that you shouldn't give up on this jacket. A couple of fisheye darts in the back would work wonders for the baggines there.

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  7. I agree with the other commented that you shouldn't give up on this jacket. A couple of fisheye darts in the back would work wonders for the baggines there.

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    1. Thank you Janet. I am going to play with various options including the fish eye darts you have suggested.

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  8. It was an interesting experiment though because it allowed you to reinforce some of your fitting truths, bust darts are needed, your back size is smaller than your front. Though I'm sure it was frustrating to put all of that work into a jacket that you knew would fit better with a few changes. Thanks for the trimming tip will need to remember that! Also thanks for sharing what you learned!

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    1. Yes, you are right. My fitting truths were definitely confirmed! It was indeed a frustrating assignment but I plan to fix the jacket one of these days.

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  9. Tomasa, I agree with the other sewists that you can certainly get some wear out if the jacket even though it's not perfect. Also, I really appreciate you taking the time to document the experience. It's very helpful.

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    1. Thank you Cennetta! I have some time off after the Christmas holiday so I am hoping I will be able to fix it then. I feel uncomfortable wearing it as it is although it is cozy and warm.

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