Thursday, May 12, 2016

Muslin #2, Mrs. Mole's fix and MORE!



The fitting battle continues.... First, thanks Mrs. Mole for your suggestion. I took your advice for my Dowager's hump, and the result is perfect. Plus it was extremely easy. Here's what it looks like...



I sliced across the back at yoke level, and swung the top half up to create a curve at the upper back. Simple. Also visible here is my forward shoulder adjustment, which I hope will move the seam closer to the apex of my shoulder. An equal amount was subtracted from the front shoulder seam to balance out the equation, so to speak.


I then went looking for clues as to why the jacket won't hug my neck. Check this out.....


So this is the neckline of the Bill Blass suit that I made a couple years ago. Note the nicely curved lined where the front joins the back. Also see that the back shoulder is wider than the front, which is correct.


Now look at my current pattern....



How is this jagged line supposed to curve around anyone's neck? No wonder it won't fit!


I've taped in a scrap of paper and drawn the missing curve. And while I'm tweaking things, I added a 1/4" to the lapel width (just a little too 60's narrow), and reduced the curve at the bottom edges of the jacket fronts, which seemed to "cut away" too much for my taste. (I think this was due to the high positioning of the buttons on the original).


So here's Version 2.0.



Much better fit around the neck, and across the upper chest. (You have to excuse my left arm, which is permanently bent due to an old injury, hence all the wrinkles).




My fitting issues seem to have moved from the front to the back, where excess fabric is bunched up behind my arms. It's not the end of the world, but I think it could look better.



I spent the rest of an afternoon trying to work it out.


This is version 2.1. I took out 1/4" from the back armscye. I'm way out of my depth here, but this is looking better to me. I still have room to move, and more importantly, I haven't screwed up the front. Sometimes I feel that I fix one thing only to f$&@ up something else. Have you been there?





These are details of Version 2.2. I think I've removed 1/4" from both the back armscye and the under sleeve. It's easy to loose track of what I'm doing. I've changed my shirt with each adjustment so I can keep them straight. I'm not a fitting expert, so I'm just going with what I think will work. Also, I haven't physically trimmed anything. I'm just taking in what I think is excess fabric and basting a new stitching line.
Lastly here is version 2.3, where I think I pulled the jacket side up 1/4" at the underarm. I can honestly say I'm at the end of my rope with fitting at this point. I wish I had the persistence of Michael over at Line of Selvedge, a guy who can work through muslin after muslin after muslin. Sadly, I don't have that patience. I'm burning out here. Fast.
This is, after all, just a bedsheet. I'm going to let the dust settle and read your suggestions, which are always so helpful. In the meantime I'll work on the boat; one project where I'm actually making some progress!
I've built in little side storage lockers (room for a life vest and lunch), and I'm preparing to install teak floor boards. Finally a level surface to stand on!
I hope all your projects, sewing and otherwise, are going well. Cheers!





  1. Great progress on the boat! The jacket will come along.

  2. Looking good. I know the feeling of the muslin fitting around the armscyes being frustrating.

  3. Nice, your adjustments are really paying off! Not sure though if you want an observation about something you haven't mentioned, but to my eye the notch of the lapel seems very high up - the husband pinged it too. It's quite different from the pattern illustration, and it seems o be happening on your 1st toile too so it's not the result of an adjustment, or is it? Might be worth exploring? :)

  4. So glad it helped with the neckline gap! As we all age the upper spine bends forward and the neck and head just do the same so our clothes must follow to fit right. The drag lines from the back armhole were worse in the beginning, they are less now but if you had added a bit more in the slash, maybe 3/4 inch it would have allowed the upper jacket back to drop a little more and that seam wrinkle will not be there. If you let the sleeve drop 1/4 inch or so more unto the jacket body it might work but the issue and drag is still the upper back...slight but something worth mentioning. If this jacket were ever muslined in plaid or a check fabric you could see what it needs more easily. This is why women cross over to "the dark side" and become quilters and stop making clothes...the tweaking! Maybe that is why men build boats and tree houses too? Less work than making jackets? I admire your determination and precise skills!!!

  5. Thanks for sharing your frustration. But I am certain you'll have an excellent result in the end. You do fine work.

  6. The fit is so much better. Hang in there - you will make a perfectly fitting jacket soon enough. Mrs Mole rocks!

  7. Lots of people have issues with the back sleeve/armscye. But, you seem to be on the right path as it's gotten steadily better. I found Sarah Veblen's Photo Guide to Fitting to be an excellent source for solving my sleeve armscye issues. There is some really good information I've not seen anywhere else on balancing sleeve to armscye that worked really well for me. I made a coat this winter with the best fit in the armscye sleeve that I've ever gotten thanks to her book. It' not only hangs perfectly, its comfortable which has been a big issue for me. I have a right shoulder issue from an old injury and the right sleeve has to be set differently from the left. Perseverance is what the self taught tailor needs and you certainly have it.

  8. A thought on your wrinkly sleeve. There is no real reason (save another set of fitting issues) why you shouldn't take a gander at addressing this. It's a common feature of a lot of women's fitted sleeves. It's an edit worth considering; it's a nice arm and it shouldn't feel left out of the improvements.
    -- --covers a little of this. See that dart in the back seam? That forms a deeper spot for the elbow, and there's compensating shortness in the front. So the sleeve is permanently curved. In a two piece sleeve, you can make this a more elegant solution.

    Woodworking cannot be undone with a seam ripper, but I can use my sawdust in tailoring hams. Love em both.

  9. I have only just caught up with your progress and have to congratulate you on your tenacity and will to do the best you possibly can. We are not tailors, only wanabes, but we can strive to be the best we can. I am planning a she-blazer and have already planned to use some of your fitting solutions on my projects. Keep going I watch with interest. [from England]

  10. "Sometimes I feel that I fix one thing only to f$&@ up something else. Have you been there?"

    "It's easy to loose track of what I'm doing."
    Yes. In my day job, I test software, and write test cases in a spreadsheet to keep track of what I'm doing. With sewing, I generally don't do this, but I should.

    "I've changed my shirt with each adjustment so I can keep them straight."
    That is a great idea!!! I usually make some kind of (nice) hand gesture in the mirror to keep track of changes, like holding up three fingers for version 3.

    "Sadly, I don't have that patience. I'm burning out here. Fast."
    Fitting is an emotional vortex that I don't have the patience for either. I cried over my jeans muslin in 2012. I did 6 muslins then. Two weekends ago, I decided I would sew the red jeans for Pattern Review shopping day. I basically did 3 muslins and sewed the real deal in less than a week. Are they perfect? no. Do they have wrinkles? yes. Can I live with it? Turns out I can! And it was fun to be one of the 25 wearing red jeans. But if I wasn't sewing on a deadline, I might have kept going with the muslins. I am a perfectionist, but am seeing the benefits to "good enough" too.

    Eager to see your next stage--and your boat!!

  11. I'm so in love with this. I commend you for doing a jacket - I really want to try but so scared at the same time. The fit around the neck looks fantastic.