Getting Creative with a 1930′s Blazer

This little 1930′s Simplicity pattern has lived in a quiet place in my mind since I found her last November.    I’m working on several projects at the moment- updating the Kimono Wrap Top, making another pattern for Craftsy, finishing the hack for May (it’s actually finished, the gussets look great, I just need to do the imaging work!), and a pants project I’ll talk about tomorrow.  At least the Duchess Top is finished… Of course it makes sense to throw a 30′s blazer into the mix, right?

For me it does.  I used to try to force myself to finish one project before moving to the next.  It never quite worked, and I’d get stressed out.  Eventually I learned I just don’t work that way.  Instead, I work in waves- waves of inspiration followed by pattern and prep work, followed by construction, followed by finishing.  Sometimes the waves overlap, but right now I’m working on heaps of “pattern-prep” work and loving it.

The only thing it needs is a little horizontal dart.

I altered the pattern using another jacket pattern some time ago and made a muslin- which I discovered this morning while cleaning out part of my sewing room.  When I put it on and saw that the fit isn’t that bad, I decided to go ahead and finally make the blazer.  Besides, I really like making jackets.

I’m a sucker for nice wide lapels.  The finished lapels will be somewhat narrower than the muslin (seam allowances!) but they’ll still be rather dramatic.  I like the deep neckline- it will show off the blouse underneath and it helps to break up the bulk I carry in that area.  The CF closes with two linked buttons and two buttonholes, but I think I may try a little tab feature a la Downton Abbey:

click for source

Isn’t Lavinia’s coat charming?  (No!  Must focus!)

The back is fine, too.  I like the lines of the darts.  There’s a little wrinkling through the waist, mostly caused by the way I’m pinching the front closed.  My muslin fabric is a horrible polyester suiting that won’t press, but I kind of like the rippled effect below the waist.  I went back to the pattern and gave the lower CB more flare, and I’ll sew the darts as tucks below the waist.

Once I tweaked the fit, I went back to Sherry’s excellent RTW Jacket Sewalong Archive and worked on my outer shell pattern as well as the facings, collar and lining pieces.  The pattern work went much quicker this time than I remember.   Sherry’s sewalong was amazing- I made a WW2 style corduroy jacket.  She covers everything you need to know for a great finished jacket.  In fact, it turned out so well that when I took it out for this year’s chilly weather it looked brand-new even though I wore and abused it constantly last winter.

This is fabric choice #1.  It doesn’t photograph well, and it’s pretty yawn-worthy in person- a plain smooth charcoal.  Ever notice that the most boring fabrics often become very useful and versatile garments?  That’s the idea here.  It’s a medium weight wool with 5% Lycra.  Does that work for tailoring or am I setting myself up for failure?  I bought this length for a skirt some time ago, but it’s pretty perfect for the blazer…

Fabric Choice #2 is another gray wool- lighter weight with no Lycra.  It’s pretty, but I don’t know if it would look as “classic” as the other wool, and I’m certain it won’t wear as well.  On top of that, I’m afraid it’s just barely too lightweight to tailor well.  But… It’s so pretty!

Either way, I’ll use this for the lining.  It’s some random pink poly jacquard from a friend’s de-stash.  I think it will look pretty inside the serious gray blazer, and it has enough “slip” to do the job.

I’m also quite pleased because when I re-read the pattern instructions, I realized it shows a new-to-me way to make a single welt pocket!  I can’t wait to try it out.

What do you think?  Do you tend to work on several projects at once, or do you finish one thing before moving to the next?  Button tab or no tab?  Dark and practical wool, or the slubby pretty stuff?  Oh dear me, and there’s buttons to think of…

Tomorrow: kicking off the month of Perfectly Fitting Pants… I’m on a mission to “crack” the Colette Clovers, then make some crazy ridiculously seamed pants that won’t leave my imagination and I’ll take copious notes.  So- some muslins, some detailed pattern work, one normal pair of stretch skinny legs, and one weird-as-can-be pair that I have already named “Golden Lotus.”

Finished Object: Lady Safari Jacket in Hemp Silk

I started sewing this unlined jacket in a hemp-silk crepe satin for the vintage pattern sewalong last January.  I carefully altered the pattern using another pattern that fit well.  Then I obsessed over engineering the patch pockets so they would withstand hard wear and summer conditions.  Finally, I played with several types of saddle stitching to secure the design details.  All in the course of two weeks.  Then I stopped.  I just did, we ran out of summer before I found buttons I liked.  I made another version of the same pattern in corduroy for winter, which became my favorite jacket ever.

Ta-da!  Ok, I admit I’ve actually been wearing it for the past two months or so, sans buttons.  It’s even been through the washing machine once.  My skirt isn’t wrinkled, by the way, that’s genteel rumpling

I like the way the back pleat “settled in.”  I was careful to stitch each dart, tuck and pleat into place so I could easily launder the jacket and the details would retain their integrity.  It works well.

Here’s a peek at the inside construction.  The satin side of the fabric is on the inside, where it slips against my clothes and skin.  The rough, textured crepe side faces out.  The texture repels soiling.  I wanted this jacket to be tough above all other considerations, and easy to launder.  I used haircloth interfacing, bound all the edges with pink and blue satin bias binding, sewed the waist seam “inside out,” then covered it with a belt feature.

I stitched the collar “stand” so the long-wearing collar would stand up well to abuse and because the very old pattern told me to.  I thought it sounded reasonable.  I plan to do another collar like this, because it is AWESOME; I’ll document the process when I do.

I wore my jacket this morning while I helped out on my husband’s parent’s farm.  This is a medicine gun, attached to a medicine pack slung over my shoulder.  We were worming a paddock of sheep and goats.

I was told to grab this particularly spirited goat by the horns…

So it could take its medicine.

I used four buttons on the pockets from a dead 30′s blouse I made pre-blog.  My brain tells me they’re tacky, but I love them and I’m delighted they’re a part of my wardrobe again.  I finished the front belt with a trouser loop and bar.  Honestly, this jacket doesn’t need buttons down the front.

My source for hemp-silk is in Perth- Margaret River Hemp Company.  It’s truly delicious fabric, though a trifle “wiggly” to work with.  They have excellent customer service.

Maybe it’s the cool, cloudy, unseasonable weather, but the whole world looks to me like it’s erupting into brilliant Christmas colors.  Everywhere I look, I see vibrant reds and greens. The banner now is a “flame tree” at the foot of the orange orchard on the farm.  I hope you don’t mind me sharing such non-tangible inspiration; I plan to keep up the red and green photos through the holidays.  It’s my small way to acknowledge Christmas.

I Want This Jacket

Robin goes to the first day of her “big girl” job.

WANT.  The inverted Hong Kong finish on the CB seam first caught my eye.   As I rewatched in slow motion, other details sufaced.  Someone cut that jacket on both shoulder and armhole princess lines. The seams look felled. I like the pleated back peplum.

But wait, there’s more!  The back inset allows the strong windowpane stripe to wrap around her body smoothly.  Very cool.

Then I saw the Hong Kong seamed panel on the side fronts.

Swoon.

I began to scratch out a line drawing to plan my drafting.

Once I figured out the lines, I began to ponder how it should go together- also how best to balance and place the seams.

I listed necessary materials, equipment, skills, research, questions. I need to leaf through Roberta Carr and I want to refresh my memory over at pattern~scissors~cloth.

Material?  Well, I fear this charcoal tropical wool is not destined to be a Moderne dress but a suit.  I may manage a skirt and trousers for the jacket from this fabric.  I plan to underline the suit with silk organza and fell most of the seams.  I think it will lend gentle structure to the jacket. Pockets?

I hadn’t thought to put a suit into my Summer 2011 wardrobe (I thought I would have no time for it!), but now I can.  And must.  I need a “big girl” suit like Robin!

Finished Object: Cat Pine Coat

v., pined, pin·ing, pines.
v.intr.

  1. To feel a lingering, often nostalgic desire.

Pine Swamp, much like where I grew up.  The colors remind me of the fabric I used.  The scent of the fabric reminds me of a clean cat.  I miss cats.  I miss pine swamps.

It’s finished.  Truly.

I think I made too much FBA.  Rather, when I made the FBA, I couldn’t figure out how to make the yoke piece fit onto the skirt piece.  That’s why I have little gathers in the front when I cinch the belt, and why the side seam swings to the back.

(FBA on Yoke and corresponding alteration on skirt.)

I rotated the little side dart out to make the center opening wider.  In retrospect, I ought to have kept the little dart, I think it would make the coat fit better.  To make the skirt fit, I slashed and spread.  That was fine, but the finished coat could stand to be taken in a little on the sides at the waist.  It’s huge on me!  I know coats are meant to be, but this actually gets gathering folds when I put on the belt.  Interesting note, the FBA cured all the bicep fit issues.  My arms slide right in and out with no trouble.  It feels divine to wear.

Double Ribbon-Interfaced Welt Pocket (K.King’s Cool Couture):

Confession time: I made this without practicing first.  I hate spending all that time to practice, only to have a perfect pocket after several hours of work.  I’ve been making piped welts and single welts lately, so I just went ahead.  It turned out nicely.  Same silk as used for the piping.  The instructions in the book have you flipping between several different pocket instructions, so tackle this one once you have a few welt pockets under you belt.

 

The back caused no end of grief.  I piped, and started sewing the yoke-to-skirt seams conventionally.  For one, the piping likes to draw up the green fabric.  For the other, the instructions (such as they are) explicitly call for lapped seams.  I ignored it, but after a few days of wrestling with seams I unpicked everything.  Piping, all.  Then I made a lapped seam, prudently basted.  I re-positioned that seam more times than I can count, I took snapshots to gauge my progress.

Black Dupioni silk piping I had on hand from anther project, thick and thin.  I didn’t have to make any!  I basted, then stitched the seam with a triple top-stitch, then stitched again in the crack between the piping and the body.

How to make a lapped seam: (detail of underarm on lining)
 Mark both seam lines.  I find it most helpful and accurate to mark with some basting.
Press under the seam on one side.  This is the lower- I lapped the lower over the upper.
Pin.  I usually pin perpendicular to my sewing, but this is a special case.  Sew, then edge stitch.
While we’re on lining:
I used a pretty decorative stitch on my machine to stitch over the lapped seams.  They slipped around a little with the straight stitching- ugly.  So I covered up the ugly.  This seems a utilitarian tribute to the original gown’s tone on tone embroidery.
Remember the hideous party filth on the old hem?  I couldn’t get it out, decided it wasn’t worth my time, so camouflaged it with some lace.
I had fleeting thoughts of finishing the edges of the lining for a dressing gown.  I love pretty linings.
Not the nice interfaced jump hem I envisioned, more a simple tidy finish.  I might change the hem, but not now.
I’m rather put out I didn’t manage to save enough fabric for a hat.  I’m still rummaging and piecing scraps together; we’ll see.  I feel like a genuine Depression-era seamstress…   Bloody napped fabric.  Bloody cut-on sleeves.
This coat construction felt a little like a blast back to theatrical sewing in highschool- rummaging for supplies, recycling, fiddling and then giving up when it is “good enough.”  I didn’t really go for perfection.  Quilters have a few sayings:
“Better finished than perfect”
“A blind man would be happy to see it.”
I like the plushy nap, I like the thick luxurious lining.  It doesn’t look exactly how I pictured, but it’s fine.  I want to make a second version of this (with some fitting fine-tuning) as a hip-length summer jacket to keep off the sun when I’m out and about.  Textured hemp?  I thought to do it unlined, but I think the sleeves might stick if I don’t line.  Hmm.  That’s a few months down the track yet.
Next up- either a TNT blouse or my blueberry Parfait dress.  Who can say?  I’m still harboring delusions I’ll finish the wardrobe contest (with pics) in time.  We’ll see!

Coat Progress: Alternative Collar Instructions


Left Front, Pad-stitched and ready to go.   I cut 1/2″ strips of quilter’s cotton on the straight grain.  I basted some places by machine, I hand-stitched the roll line and the neck curve.

Attaching a Collar the Arcane, Time-Consuming Way:
 

Step 1- Pressed the neck edge of the facing on the seam allowance, clipping where necessary.  Sew facing to front, from bottom edge to “The Dot.”  Trim.

Step 2- Face buttonholes.  I had some little trouble with this on the waistcoat, probably because I left it to near the end.  This time I tried another way.


I pushed pins straight down through the ends of each buttonhole, flipped it over carefully, and marked the lines with chalk.  


 I made several machine keyhole buttonholes on waste wool and haircloth until I made one the appropriate length.  A razor greatly assisted unpicking the top buttonhole when it went ever so slightly awry.  Then I opened them with a chisel and pinned the facing buttonholes behind the coat front buttonholes. 
 

Finally I stitched in the ditch around the piping to secure the two layers together.  I used tiny machine stitches.
 
Step 3- Prepare upper collar.  I snipped the seam allowance at The Dot to allow me to turn in and press the raw edges of the collar except at the neck edge.   
I had basted the interfacing piece in at the seam allowance, so I used my basting as a pressing guide.  I also snipped the neck edge curve.
I pressed it as sharply as I could, trimming all the way, and then basted along the folded edge.
Step 4- Pad-stitch the under collar.  I pressed under all the seam allowances on the under collar and pinned the under collar on the coat, put the coat on Husband and marked the roll line.  The edge of the collar should cover the back neck seam line, and it should lie smoothly around the neck.  I don’t know of any other way to mark the collar roll line.

 Then pulled off the under collar, and used a tiny machine stitch to secure the roll line.  I stretched the fabric width-wise as I stitched, to create a roll.  It worked well.  Then I pad-stitched the area between the neck edge and the roll line, called the stand.  I used a 1/4″ stitch, fairly dense but quick because of the small area.  On the other part of the collar, called the fall, I stitched a 1/2″ stitch.  I made the stitches smaller and denser in the corners of the collar.   I did not catch the seam allowances in the pad-stitching.  I should have trimmed the seam allowances more than I did, but my book was unclear on the point so I erred on the side of caution. 


Then I pinned the whole thing over the ham and gave it five good steamings, allowing it to dry before I attacked again.


Step 5- Attach upper collar.  I pinned it to the neck edge of the coat, positioning right side of collar to wrong side of jacket.  I needed to snip the seam allowances a little more as I pinned and then basted until it sat smoothly.  Then I stitched it in, trimmed the seam, and pressed it up into the upper collar.
Step 6- Slip under collar beneath upper collar and stitch.  I first pinned the edges together, then basted by hand.  I started fell stitching at the CB outside edge of the collar, working to the notch.  My stitches were less than 1/8″ apart, thank goodness for the Season 3 Madmen.  When I reached the notch, I slip stitched the neck edge of the facing to the edge of the upper collar.  The pressed edges butted up admirably, I just had to slip stitch them together.  I did pin the top of the facing to the shoulder seam so I could work in the curve properly.
Then I fell stitched the other half, starting at the CB and ending up at the shoulder end of the facing.  Finally, I stitched the neck edge of the under collar to the neck edge of the coat, covering all raw edges.  
This step took as long as all the other steps combined, but it paid off.  I wasn’t stressed out, I didn’t worry about something slipping out of place or coming out puckered because my tiny stitches allowed me to subtly manipulate the edges as I stitched them together.  Time-consuming, but much more control.   I was sick of stitching by the time I finished the neck edge.
Step 7- Steam, press, clap, roll, repeat.  I spent an hour and a half steaming and pressing all those seams and edges, which paid off.  It lies nice and flat against Husband’s body, I was so afraid of screwing up the collar and roll line on this coat.  I hate my last tailored jacket’s roll line, very nasty.  By the way, if I mess up with tailoring terms, please feel free to call me on it.  I’m only self-taught and can only get better.
Next up- the sleeves.  I should have started them by now, but the instructions went MIA.  I remembered something weird about the sleeve instructions, so wasn’t game to start stitching without consulting them.  I did a supreme clean and they turned up, so I can start them in the next day or two.  From here on out I feel pretty confident I know what I’m doing (famous last words?), having overcome buttonhole facings and roll lines.

Also, please know I haven’t abandoned my Deco Coat.  This morning I pulled out the pattern to transfer my alterations and made a lovely discovery- I have enough of the green windowpane cashmere to make a full-length coat.  It doesn’t have any big tailoring features- no roll line, no collar, no set-in sleeves, probably no pad-stitching, no buttonholes.  I think it will go together quickly, I’m looking forward to it.  I plan to use some black wool piping to bring out the architectural seamlines and the edges, I’ll probably put in a few welt pockets with flaps and an invisible pocket a la K. King.

Pad-Stitching the Coat Fronts- Progress Report

First we had to choose buttons.  We (finally) managed to get the steampunk gears from Treasurecast- Five large and five medium.

1″ buttons for the fronts, I made the buttonholes 1 3/8″ according to my shank buttonhole guide.  If they do prove slightly too large, the piped buttonholes will hold the coat front together.

Buttonholes must be made before applying the interfacing.  I used solvy to mark the CF and the buttonholes.  Thanks to all the practice, they went in beautifully without a second thought.  I stitched them shut with silk thread, apparently only silk thread doesn’t leave impressions when steamed and pressed.

Left front after I cut buttonhole windows and catch-stitched them in place.  I made chest pieces and a shoulder pad pocket as per the instructions in one of my old tailoring manuals, then applied them to the interfacing with a serpentine stitch.  The blue fabric is some closely woven cotton designed to help reduce bulk in the seams.  I marked the pad-stitching grid: 1″ squares on the front, 1/2″ squares along the roll line and 1/4″ closer to the end of the lapel. 

Right front after pad-stitching.  I still need to tape.  I made more 1/2″ squares than I marked, I realized I probably marked too many small ones.  And I wanted to finish it.  I found it easier and quicker to do the small pad-stitching.  On the coat front body I found it too easy to catch too much of the fashion fabric and kept flipping it over to the other side to check.  I’m probably going overboard with the stitching, but that’s the result of too many great projects in the past that I look at now and think “If only I put in the extra effort, this would still be wearable.”

That flannel is black.

Roll line.  In addition to stitching it over my hand, I steamed it five times over a little lapel roll I made of scrap wool fabric.  It worked like a charm. 

Since this is a longer-term sort of project and I find I need other in-between projects, I thought I’d just post weekly progress reports.  Because I work well with little goals, by next week I want to

  1.  Complete the fronts- pad-stitching and taping
  2. Assemble the back
  3. Stitch fronts to back
  4. Begin stitching the undercollar

I think that’s reasonable.

Tale of Two Sleeves

 It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…it was the spring of Hope, it was the winter of Despair.

I felt rather deflated after the last (and as I thought) most brilliant attempt at a perfect sleeve for this coat turned out, well, mediocre.  I don’t want to slave away on a coat for 50 hours only to look at mediocre sleeves for the rest of its life.  I couldn’t decide which way to go towards making the sleeve work, so I left it alone for a few days and drank during my free time.

Funny, that.  Drink or sew, but mixing doesn’t seem to work well.

After a few evenings of zero productivity, I decided to rotate the sleeve.  For the sleeve above, I matched the underarm seam to the bottom seam on the sleeve.  This turned out to be incorrect, and a probable cause of sleeve-twisting.  On the track of a new development, I ripped and re-positioned the sleeve, though I had to fudge the positioning a little bit.  The front of the coat wanted to ease into the sleeve rather than vice-versa.  I discovered an ungodly amount of ease in the back.  Before I basted, I knew it wasn’t right.

Better, perhaps, than the previous attempt but by no means good enough.  Let me be clear: this is the same sleeve as above, but rotated on the bottom by about 3/4″.  I left the top of the sleeve as marked.

This time I took it personally.  The seam ripper came out, and I ripped the sleeve while Husband was still wearing it.  Then I pinned, admired, pinned, admired, and pinned.  Lila kept running around my legs and hopping on the computer.  She gets so excited about fittings.  She tries to stick pins into Daddy; when I take the pins away she protests indignantly.  She took some pictures this time:

Victory!  I still need to take in the side back seam a trifle, but I think we have a sleeve now.  I knew it could be fantastic.  Now I need to pull the pieces apart, transfer the alterations to the pattern and we’re in business.  Spring of hope!

Fourth Wave: Greatcoat Muslin

After an entire day spent in the trenches re-working muslins and sleeves, I finally feel in control.

I raised the armscythe 3/8″ (shot in the dark, you have to start somewhere) and discovered a mistake I made before.  When I altered the side back for broad shoulders, I created a funny back armscythe.  This accounts for the trouble I had setting the sleeves, as well as the residual front-reaching mobility issue.

You can see my original curve, and where I changed it.  I added just a little width to the top of the piece at the armscythe to fine-tune another alteration.  I smoothed down the curve on the seam that connects to the back piece because the muslin told me to.  Back to the armscythe- I discovered I made a clumsy free-hand curve when I used my handy new drafting tool to draw the new line.

We got these in at work a few weeks ago.  Of course I needed one immediately.  This little tool is so giving:

  • Measurements in Imperial and Metric.  Huzzah!  I switch back and forth constantly.
  • Buttonhole guides
  • Seam allowance guides
  • Curve guides- it tells you where to apply the curve.  I struggle with getting curves right.
  • It has a thumb-hole!

When I lined up the 6″-17″ section on my armscythe, I saw my mistake.

New coat muslin, now with raised armscythes.

First sleeve to go in (P&P Sleeve):
 
I thought: Too much ease.  Then I realized I already had a sleeve with less ease.
Second sleeve (Kat aka Phat Chick):

What a difference. Kat, you are a goddess and I’m sorry I every doubted.

 
From here I felt I had some fine-tuning to do.  For one, I noticed the shoulder seam sat weird on his shoulder.  He has a broad shoulder fit issue and a forward rotation; at the outset I confused the two and lumped them together.  The broad shoulders exaggerate the forward rotation.  Once I gave him enough room across the back of his shoulders, the shoulder seam needed to be adjusted.  This makes more sense.  I marked where his shoulder seam should end.  It turns out he needs a 11/16″ adjustment, not the whopping 1 1/8″ adjustment I had done.  
I also decided to tweak in the side back seam a little to reduce weird bulges.  And finally, I decided to add one of the lower front pieces.  
 
On his right is the side with the old 1 1/8″ forward rotation.  His left is the new and improved side.  I still see some drag lines on the sleeve.

 

Sleeve made from Kat’s alteration method, with a 11/16″ rotation.
Old sleeve.  We’re getting somewhere.  I made a few little markings on the top of the back arscythe to nip it in just a little- roughly 1/8″.  I think that will make the back of the sleeve sit nicely.  It might eliminate the drag line at the elbow.  I wonder if I am lining up the wrong marking to my underarm seam.  Maybe if I rotate the bottom of the seam backwards it will eliminate those drags.  Any other suggestions welcome.
Also interesting to note that the finished length of the coat equals the finished length we determined mathematically using the Golden Ratio.  Huzzah for irrational mathematic constants applied to sewing!  I’ll post more about that later.  Perhaps I’ll get my husband to guest-post about it because he figured it out.
I’ll play with the back armscythe and remove those drag lines.  Then I can cut!  Finally!  I think I might start cutting the haircloth today.  Those pieces won’t be affected by the little alterations I need to do. 
(If the muslin posts are tedious, I apologize.  I want them for future reference, and because I just know there must be other fit-obsessed psychos out there.  I’m drafting my first top right now, so there will *I hope* be a new post soon on my pretty green bamboo jersey scoop-neck-inverted-pleat-with-vaguely-peasant-sleeves.  And probably the Queen of Spades skirt if I can convince the bengaline to bow to my will. )

Third Wave Offensive: Greatcoat Muslin

I know, I know the pictures are bad.  I’m very sick of it, too.

I’m also sick of all these fittings.  How silly of me to think it would be so easy.  I suppose it isn’t the coat body that is giving me a run for my money, but the sleeve and armscythe.

I altered the back yoke piece to give more room across the back.  I used the waistcoat alteration as a guide, but I think I added too much.  The seam seems to sit a little off the edge of his shoulder where I added width.  Additionally, while I fixed the front-reaching mobility issues, it appears he can not comfortably lift his arms above his head.  I believe the fix for this involves raising the bottom of the armscythe.  Does that also include adding a little to the underneath part of the sleeve seam where it joins to the body? 

On a brighter note, I think the sleeve is in fact correct.  It looks much more like a sleeve should than my previous sleeves.  I can still see problems, but I think once I have the shape of the armscythe sorted, it will fall into line.   This one is the Palmer Pletsch sleeve, though I have the Phat Chick sleeve in reserve.

So to sum: shave a little width off the back armscythe on the back yoke piece.  I think I added too much.  Raise the lower armscythe by 1/2″ (why not?).  Maybe add a little to the sleeve, too.  I’ll take a little time and read my books.  This muslin is really starting to get under my skin.  I want it done.  I want to cut the thing, I want to make it.  I want to work on other projects, but I can’t get into other projects because this one is looming large in my mind.

/end whinge

Gentleman’s Greatcoat Muslin : Second Wave Offensive

Last night I used the sleeve alteration on Phat Chick Designs for a forward rotated shoulder.  Did I look at my FFRP ?  Did not.  I usually use that as a starting point.  I tend not to ascribe to Occam’s Razor, but rather to my detriment delight in positing plurality without necessity.  {wink}

That is to say, I should have looked at FFRP first.

Phat Chick Pattern after some alteration.  Weeeeird.  Long acquaintance with two-piece sleeves teaches me to first monkey with the upper sleeve, and then the under sleeve only if necessary.  This is the upper sleeve.  The left is the front of the sleeve.   My fingertip points to the shoulder seam marking.

Front, with Phat Chick altered sleeve.  Not so bad, not so good.  He had some mobility issues.  I spent a few years in theatrical costume.  During fittings we made actors reach their hands over their heads, touch their toes (as close as possible), reach across their bodies, jump, and twist.  If their character needed to perform any particular physical activities, we’d try that too.  If a garment doesn’t pass the mobility test, it’s no good.  This sleeve does not pass the mobility test.

Side.  Ick!  When I was altering the sleeve I realized Phat Chick tells you to alter out most of the sleeve ease.  Also, the sleeve in the illustrations was a simple one-piece sleeve with a flattish shirt-style sleeve cap.   I think I need to raise the sleeve cap and/or add in a little more east to both the front and back.  When I sewed in the sleeve, it wouldn’t ease.  In fact, the coat body tried to ease to the sleeve.  Terrible.  At lease the length is good.

Jumping Juniper, that’s a bad back.  I can’t discuss it. Sloppy.

I went back to good old FFRP over my breakfast.  They say not to change the sleeve at all, rather match the shoulder point on the sleeve to the new shoulder seam.  They further suggest not worrying if the underarm seam won’t match the side seam because no one looks.

Good solid advice.  However, the beauty of a two-piece sleeve lies in its elbow bend.  If I just plonked an unaltered sleeve onto the new shoulder seam placement, the back seam of the sleeve would sit too far up his arm. 

FFRP did suggest perfectionists should alter the sleeve seams the same way they altered the shoulder seam.  In my case, I sliced 1 1/8″ off the front shoulder seam and added it to the back shoulder seam.  I traced a new upper sleeve and did just that. 

You can see changing the placement of the seam alters the shape of the cap, but not dramatically.  Note the shoulder seam marking.  This looks better to me.

Front.  Oh dear.  This time we fit with the waistcoat and both shoulder pads in place.  The sleeve to your left is Phat Chick.  The sleeve to the right is the simpler FFRP.  It looks at first glance like the left one is better.  However, the collapse in the right one indicates to me that it has the right amount of ease and once it is made up in the proper fabric with a carefully fitted shoulder pad and sleeve head, all will be well.  Please correct me if you know otherwise.  He still had mobility issues.

Back.  Better but not great.  I realized I added extra width to the back armscythe on the waistcoat to allow for rounded shoulders.  I shall need to do this for the coat.  Once I do, the left (the FFRP arm) will look smoother.   I wanted to avoid making a second muslin of this coat, but I need to.  That’s ok, it tipped the balance in favor of deepening the back yoke curve to preserve the style. 

Left: Phat Chick sleeve.  Right: FFRP sleeve.

The left looks in desperate need of a higher sleeve cap.

The right looks like it needs a sleeve head for support (or an adjustment for smaller arms?) and the coat back needs a little more width.  I could either alter the Phat Chick sleeve or alter the back.  I believe altering the back (especially since I wanted to anyway) will fix the mobility issues and will smooth out the sleeve wrinkles.  I suspect it would also prove to be a shorter process due to my greater familiarity with the techniques used in back alterations.

Phat Chick would work well for a shirt sleeve with a smaller forward roatation, but for a coat sleeve (which has a higher sleeve head and greater ease) it is inappropriate. 

The next step involves pulling out the basting, remixing the back, and re-assembling the muslin.  It sounds like more work than it ought to be.  I might stick on the front skirt part while I’m at it.

Husband doesn’t like me to call it the skirt, but I’m stuck for any other word.  The kilt?