Sunday, July 13, 2008

Tany’s muslin: Notes on the sleeve alteration and the fit of the neckline

How I reduced the sleeve cap ease and how this alteration is transferred to the paper pattern:

Depending on the fabric and the style intended for the sleeve (and your personal preference), sometimes there's the need to reduce the sleeve cap ease so the sleeve fits better on the armhole. This is not a difficult alteration but I always check the following list first:
- the armhole is correctly designed and there isn’t the need of changing the shoulder seam (this is an important requisite to start with);
- The neckline fits according to the expected
- All the alterations/adjustments needed on the front and back of the coat were already made
- The sleeve, as is originally, hangs correctly from the shoulder and leans slightly to the front, following the natural posture of the arm
- The arm movement is not restrained by the sleeve and there is enough ease along the sleeve to accommodate the arm comfortably
- All there is potentially wrong is the extra ease causing puckers on the sleeve cap (and I say “potentially” because it depends on the fabric you’re using; if you are using wool, on most cases the extra ease can be shrunk to fit the armhole), and/or there’s a little excess fabric on the front or on the back of the sleeve cap (this is easy to correct just by deepening the curve on the referred side of the sleeve cap, removing the excess fabric - again, this is a slight adjustment!).

To evaluate the extent of the cap ease to be removed, I often measure the armhole and the sleeve cap, but just by observing the original sleeve one can have the perception of how much ease needs to go away. I don’t like to exaggerate; this must be a small adjustment and always tested on muslin first, as I did for my coat (if you take off too much ease, the sleeve will rise to the side or will pull the shoulder down!). Here I wanted to take off 2cm of ease and narrow the front cap of the sleeve, because I could see there was too much fabric there. So I took off 1cm of the cap height (making a 5mm deep fold) above the easing notches, and this is how it’s done on paper:

Folded and taped in place:

Trueing the front cap curve, taking a little width off:

Trueing the back cap curve:

The fit of the neckline:

Els brought to my attention that the neckline was a little loose on the first picture of me with the muslin on (front view). I had noticed this before but thought it was due to the not pressed wide SAs inside the collar, but listening to Els advice I went and checked it again. Els advised me to measure the neckline on the pattern and the muslin to see if there has been some stretch due to the neckline not being stabilized. She also suggested that I could compare the pattern with a known pattern from BWOF, for example. When comparing the neckline measure of the muslin with the paper pattern I found out that there was a stretch of less of 1cm, but still this influences the fit of the neckline/collar (this enhances the importance of stabilizing these seams when tailoring; it does make a difference!). When comparing this pattern with a BWOF coat pattern, I also found out that the shoulders of the Patrones have more slope, hence I tried a smaller shoulder pad (with less height) and this was the result (btw, just remembering that this is a mirror image so the sleeve on the left of the picture is the one with the alterations; also, I'm wearing a T-shirt under the muslin here, so it may look a little hollow on me):

I and Els both agreed that there is no need to alter the collar, since it looks almost perfect now. From this example we can all see how little details like the correct shoulder pad or the stabilizing of the neck seam have a great influence on the overall fit of a garment. Thank you Els for taking the time to help me out with this!

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