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Shoulder Flange

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Posted by Mary Beth at The Stitchery

The best laid plans…bite the dust. I have had pneumonia for the past number of days and have slipped into disappear mode again, like Alice down the rabbit hole. Antibiotics are slowly pulling me back to ground level. Looks like the new Preschool Director arrived just in time as I have been a-bed for the past week.

A Flanged Shoulder perked up my ears: I rarely see one.

full back

Diesel wrap front denim jacket in cotton/elastine for $167.

front closeup

I don’t like the jacket. I do find the use of a shoulder flange interesting: it allows for more room when the arms are stretched forward (as seen in the 1940’s hunting jackets and in biker’s jackets) while allowing for a closer fit through the back. A shoulder flange is a hidden pleat.

Most importantly to a figure with slooped and/or narrow shoulders it squares and extends the top line of the silhouette.

The study in this design element began in 2006 at the old Sewing Divas Blogspot and at Pattern Review where I tried to save a completely wrong-for-me dropped shoulder, square block (also called a menswear block) style smock


While my “save” on a lowly smock worked by taking a tuck in the shoulder making a funky replication of the flanged shoulder,


the flange should, in my view, be relatively unseen from the front and only seen from the back when the arms are extended. Like this lovely


Pendleton 49er Jacket Click on the link to see if it is still offered in your size.

I’ve searched high and low this day for more garments with this detail and alas, even the menswear sites were completely void of it.

A discussion of the 49er style jacket and Robyn’s (Blue Mooney) fabulous rendition of it can be found here at Stitcher’s Guild.

Susan Lazear’s company Cochenille offers a CD (Easy 7 Series : Jackets BKCD-0114 $24.00) that includes the shoulder flange as one of the basic shapes


that can be created for knitting or sewing using the Garment Designer software. I don’t own Garment Designer, but I really and truly should. I know I’d like it and use it, esp with the knitting machines.

Here’s a diagram of the back shoulder pleat with an underarm gusset from a pixy I found a few years ago. I can no longer find it’s original source.


It is a shirt from a menswear company and the design just fascinates me. I knew I should have overruled HusPartner at the time and bought it for him right then.

Some of the best laid plans…


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!

10 responses »

  1. Hmm… we had those flanges on our nursing school uniforms. Had I known they were “cool”, I would have kept them.

  2. Oh, and I hope you get better soon so you can do some serious sewing and machine knitting.

  3. Thanks for the good wishes, Alex. I think the reason I can’t find any current offerings of this style in RTW online is because it is completely the opposite of “cool” at the moment! I think you were safe in not keeping the uniforms…

  4. Sorry to hear you have not been well. Hope you are feeling better soon :))

  5. I recently saw a similar jacket on a fashion site (can’t remember which one). I think they might be coming back!

  6. I remember the flange on a favorite blouse pattern of the 1980’s. It was actually very similar to the one you created for your smock. Of course, I no longer have the pattern (sigh).

  7. Betty: I believe that you’re right. The padded and extended shoulders we’re seeing in suits do seem to have gotten slightly higher and more squared this Fall/Winter.
    Nanflan, this is a style that was exaggerated to the extreme football shoulder pads seen in the 1980’s. Hope we don’t go back there!!! I have seen the wider sleeves (bat wing/dolman) in blouses this year and the flange detail, as the illustration of Cochenille’s CD shows, seems to draw a vertical line that makes the wide sleeves more wearable. Nothing worse than a batwing sleeve with a large bust: the acreage above the waist gets to be way too horizontal and undefined.

  8. Excellent post, Mary Beth!

    I’m sorry you are not feeling well and I hope you get better soon! Your work is invaluable! Please take care!

  9. LanetzLiving has a pattern with a shoulder flange here:

  10. Wow, Thanks Alex! That’s a cut on sleeve in the front and a raglan sleeve, covered by the flange, in the back. Interesting.


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