Saturday, February 9, 2013

The Blizzard Fitting

Readers, today I'm hunkered down in the middle of a huge nor'easter. Thankfully I still have power and heat. With nothing more than shoveling and snowblowing facing me, it's a good day to try on and evaluate the Spring jacket muslin. So here goes....

All things considered, not too shabby. Goodness knows, I've started out with much worse fitting muslins. I've pinned in a set of shoulder pads in order to get a more accurate representation of how the finished jacket will fit at the shoulders. The fit there is actually quite good.

The big problem is that the entire neck opening is too wide. I'm thinking that each side needs to be brought in towards the center at least 1/2" . That would eliminate most of the gap between the shirt collar and the edge of the jacket. I plan on just tapering the additional material down to the position of the top button. This will preserve the stance of the jacket.

Also, as warned by my reader Mrs. C, the jacket has a tendency to gape away from my chest. I'm hoping that with lots of basting, careful sewing and twill tape sewn along the edge, I can prevent that problem in my finished garment.

Also, as predicted, the sleeves are too long. Here I've turned them back an inch. This will allow about 1/2" of cuff to show. My plan is to shorten the pattern 1/2" above and below the elbow in order to preserve the overall shape of the sleeve.

Here's a view of the back. Again, it's not that horrible. However, the neck is dipping too low in the back. I'm hoping that I can just tack on another 1/2" without making it look freakish from behind. This kind of alteration is totally new territory for me. Nothing ventured nothing gained, right?

Readers, I'm not a tall guy. My feeling is that the body of the jacket is too long, especially now that the sleeves are shorter. It's kind of a top heavy look, yes? Too much jacket...too little leg. I think I'd be happier, and the jacket would have a "younger" look if it were about an inch shorter. And who knows, it may make me look taller!

So here it is with the bottom turned up an inch. Much better proportion IMO. I'm going to do some rip-out and redrafting of the neck opening before going any further. It won't look very pretty, but I want to be sure that what I think will be an easy fix, will actually work.

Finally, I'd like to pass along a tip to any of you who, like me, have no access to good tailoring supplies. In the few years that I've been making my own clothes, I've found that working with good materials really increases my satisfaction with the final product. For this project I'll be using a "Jacket Packet" from B Black and Sons. Easy online ordering and they ship very quickly.

Here's what you get... a yard of striped sleeve lining, 2 yards of a nice weight acetate lining, a generous yard+ of pocketing, a quarter yard of both under collar felt and French canvas.

But there's more! 2 padded haircanvas chest fronts (your choice of heavy or light weight), sleeve heads, shoulder pads and a set of buttons. It all comes neatly packaged for $52.50. For me, this is a lot less than the gas and tolls to drive to NYC.

Now I just need to turn all this stuff into a jacket before March 23rd.


  1. This is coming along nicely. I think your assessments of the neck opening and length are right on. It will be fun to see this muslin magically turn into a jacket!

  2. It's looking great! I get stuff from B Black and I saw those packs - such a brilliant idea, that. Can I suggest that you dart the 'gape' out of your toile front, and translate that into the next toile? It will also help to bring the neckline in closer.
    I really, really like this look and I think you will rock it.

    1. Oh, the dart is an excellent idea. I'll try it!

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  4. This looks great so far, I agree on your decisions with the shortened sleeve and bottom hem, perhaps even another half inch on the bottom wouldn't go amiss. I was told the bottom hem should break at the "curve of the fingers when the arms are hanging naturally" I kind of did some experimenting with myself and some friends and took that to mean, on average, that the hem should hit at the second knuckle of your first finger. It's hard to tell exactly where yours is at once you shortened it as you seem to be standing with your weight on your left foot. It's ultimately a personal and style choice however (hence the suit coats of the 90's were quite long).

    I also notice that the bottom of the jacket seems to flare out a bit, I'm not sure if this is from the muslin fabric, or possibly it's just because of the double vented style. I'd love to hear your thoughts/experiences working with a double vent and the overall fit because of it as I am working on a jacket that I'm altering to have double vents.

    Best of luck and keep up the great work!


  5. There's a lot of flair / waist suppression to this pattern. My muslin fabric is quite stiff, not much drape. I have never done a double vent before. Hopefully when it's all lined it will fall better. I've considered taking out a smidge at the bottom of the front / side seam. I guess if I'm taking out the fronts and neck I might as well do that too! Poor muslin is in shreds!

  6. Looking good! You have a keen eye what you need to adjust. Your jacket packet seems like a bargain!

  7. Shorter jacket length, definitely. Very nice. I had never heard of a "jacket packet" before. Great discovery.