Thursday, June 6, 2013

Muslin #2, The Belgian Chef's Jacket

I thought I'd show my alteration of the jacket's side front piece. The technique is "slash and separate". The advantage is that all the seamlines remain the same length and no adjustment needs to be made on any of the adjoining parts. The armscye, shoulder and neck remain unchanged. I am by no means a fitting expert. This is just a technique that's worked well for me. So here goes....

I cut along the grainline (you can still see my penciled arrow) from the hem up to the edge of the seam allowance at the shoulder seam. I separate the pattern the desired amount, 1/2" in this case, and then tape in some scraps of my Swedish tracing paper. In order to make the pattern lay flat I make horizontal slashes, again only going to the edge of the seam allowances, near the top of the pattern piece.

An overlap will occur along the horizontal slashes when the pattern is flattened out, and I tape them down. This process, however, distorts the shoulder line. A strip of tracing paper is taped to the top of the pattern piece and the shoulder seam is "trued up".

Here you see the small amount of tissue that has to be added.

Because my velvet, even from the Britex "bargain bin", is quite expensive, I really felt that I needed to remake my muslin. So I ripped it apart, cut new side fronts using the adjusted pattern and sewed it back up again. This is a truly miserable task, the less said the better. I just kept telling myself it would be worth the aggravation in the end.

So here's the revised muslin. Not really much of a change visually. It's still a very fitted garment, just much easier to "button". The change is more in how the jacket feels when worn.

Not quite as much pull from the armpit across the chest, which was the goal.

Unfortunately, I'm not quite sure what to make of the back. My hope is that the tablecloth fabric is clinging both to the felt shoulderpads and my cotton undershirt, thereby making these creases at the shoulder. Maybe this will all smooth out with my velvet and a silky lining? Of course what I'm dancing around here is that I may need a sloped shoulder adjustment. I've done it before. The big question is ... Do I have the drive to go there? It requires changing the shoulder line, dropping the armscye and adjusting the sides. A fair amount of redrafting. Muslin #3? I think I need to ponder this for awhile.


  1. Duane, I think your diagnosis is correct, i.e., the fabric is not draping the way your velvet will drape. In the worst case, you could use a thicker pad. You don't want to over-fit a jacket -- it's going to be worn over other things, right? Just my two-cents.

  2. As a fellow sloping-shoulder-er (?) I'm going to encourage the redraft but i completely empathize with your lack of motivation to do so! Bigger shoulder pads are a good compromise. Love your blog and your projects. You workmanship is inspiring.

  3. Brilliant, it is a subtle but noticeable difference. I think that you are right about the different drape in the back, too. Have tried it on without an undershirt, it may help to see if there is a real issue or not, but really, if in the final you need to tweak it a little it will be fine. Try it on without sleeves and if you need to recut the armscye a shave it will be fine.

  4. Have you ever tackled a swayback alteration? It looks to me like you could pin out a horizontal tuck (3/8 inch)from SS to SS across the back at the waist or a little above to allow the tail to sit closer to your waist and not bag out...that's me being picky with clients.I do this all the time but with princess seams it is a little fiddly.

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