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Pre-existing Shirt

Ah, both my internet access and blogger seem to be in a cooperative mood so I’ll post this now. I wasn’t quite ready but will add more in the coming days…. My model is wearing a shirt made 3 years ago. The shirt was not perfect but he has enjoyed wearing it. Now to improve upon the cut.

OK, here is the body type: Thick neck, long waist length, short arms, thick rounded and forward shoulders, asymmetrical shoulder shape and length, extended tummy, narrow hips.

Click on the pictures to enlarge and then use your browser’s back button to return here. Note the side seams angling forward.

This is corrected by adding to the width at the side seams below the armscye junction. I have added 1.5 inches to both the front and back side seams in my muslin work and that gave me side seams perpendicular to the ground and enough room over the tummy but I didn’t like the lack of ease over the tummy nor the extra fullness in the back. Off the Cuff Style also gives flat pattern adjustments example for making this type of alternation.

I have seen where this is a dressmaking rule: the width of the front should equal the width of the back but I think I’ll break that rule…And reduce the back width while adding the same to the width of the front. With this body type I like the narrowness of the back piece and will try to conserve that aspect.
Note that this shirt did not utilize a back pleat…I don’t remember if I just forgot to put it in or if I was experimenting with the fit without it but you can see some strain lines as well as folds from leaning against a backrest while sitting.

Refer back to the first photo and you will see lots of extra fabric in the front of the sleeve. This has allowed for freedom of movement with such a close-fitted torso.

I am deepening the shoulder yoke in my new muslin. My model’s shoulders are thick and rounded and the 3″ deep yoke seems to disappear.

BackC You can also see the differences in shoulder length and slope by comparing the added edit lines to the original photo.

Below you can see where the top of the shoulder of the pre-existing shirt is dropping over the edge of the shoulder but the armscye is cut too small to lie well. This is one case where a bit of fading is actually useful. I am cutting a larger armscye this time. This shirt is overly fitted and almost feminine in the fit.
YokeThis side shot shows the front of the shoulder yoke in a fairly good position under the ear but yet the depth of the back neck is too shallow. I also want to move the shoulder/yoke seam forward by maybe a half inch. The collar/neck problems don’t present if the collar is not buttoned. The collar on this shirt is actually too long by 1″ but the unwanted length is in the very center front. The area for the neck needs to be widened everywhere except the front.

Side You can see how low the front of the collar band is in this shot. It just is not right and could never work with a tie should he want to wear one.

This front shot shows the extra fabric around the front armscye. It’s high and tight in the back and too wide and long in the front. I’m working to present a more appropriate and manly shirt cut that can be used as dress shirt with or without a tie.

I want to thank my model. I’m pretty sure he didn’t know he’d be a model when he took a few minutes out of his work day for these shots. This is the best way I’ve found to analyze the fit of a fast moving, hard working man. Make a duck tape double? I don’t think so (hehehehehe)

And now for something totally frivolous:

You Are 45% Left Brained, 55% Right Brained
The left side of your brain controls verbal ability, attention to detail, and reasoning.Left brained people are good at communication and persuading others.If you’re left brained, you are likely good at math and logic.Your left brain prefers dogs, reading, and quiet.
The right side of your brain is all about creativity and flexibility.Daring and intuitive, right brained people see the world in their unique way.If you’re right brained, you likely have a talent for creative writing and art.Your right brain prefers day dreaming, philosophy, and sports.

Are You Right or Left Brained?


About Mary Beth

I am fascinated by changing patterns and colored threads. I sew garments and am teaching myself to machine knit. Since selling the building that housed my workrooms, The Stitchery, I'm searching for a place to set up the knitting machines again. There must be room here somewhere!

4 responses »

  1. Thanks for the pictures and the fitting analysis. I don’t think that rule about same width front and back makes any sense. Your model obviously needs more in the front at the waistline, and more in the back at the shoulders!

    And I agree that you need a longer armscye at the back. I have done this for one of my sons, who has inherited his grandfather’s rounded shoulders.

    Looking forward to seeing more.

  2. Hi MB, I never heard of this dressmaking rule: the width of the front should equal the width of the back.
    IMO a dressmaker makes sure that her client gets an appropriate pattern and garment for the body of the client she is working for, also if the body is not a standard size or equal in front and back width.Your alterations for the shirt you made and are making looks fine to me, I agree about the back yoke it should be wider in height (I remember the Long Rider coat you made , back yoke of that coat was to shallow in widht too for Dave)
    An inverted pleat at the center back beneath the yoke will be sufficient for extra ease and gives a sporty look.
    The problem dealing with a thick neck and appropriate collar with stand is measuring the neck circumference on the right spots , you need to find out where you want to sew the stand at the neckline opening and where the top of the collar stand sits on his neck.Making some test collars with band from muslins is the way to go.
    Or you can opt for a high collar and stand a la Karl Lagerfeld , but that would be nice for a dressy shirt with tie only to coverup the neck.

  3. Hmmmm, maybe I misspoke and should have said it is a pattern making rule, I had just read it somewhere, but I’m glad we agree that it should be broken! As it shall be.

    Thanks so much for the thoughts on collar placement and measurement.

    For those curious and following this project, measuring around the neck where the top of the collar band and fall of the collar would sit is the way to ensure no muffin top above the dear man’s collar and tie 🙂 We mean to dress them, not to choke them.

  4. Some days you do wanna choke them, n’est-ce pas? I like Els idea of making a few test collars for shape. Then I would take my muslin sans collar and pin the collar on at the fitting, to see the best neck shape. I believe you may need to have a wider neck opening, but get rid of that extra CF depth you so rightly noticed.


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