Review · Sewing

Tuesdays with Claire: In Which I Learn About Jacket Ease

This year I’m sewing along with Claire Shaeffer, using her Custom Couture Collection pattern Vogue V8333. Here’s a reflection on my efforts to sew well.

I’ve been wearing this muslin off and on while at home over the past week to try to see what I thought about the fit. My primary conclusion: I like the shape, but I need more ease. My secondary conclusion: on this particular day my shoulders had different understandings of “good posture”! (I’m 95% sure that shoulder difference is not there naturally – though I’m going to keep my eye out for it during my next few photoshoots. I’d been carrying my camera bag on my right shoulder all morning at the Gaultier exhibit, so perhaps it was tired?)

I’m showing it to you here without shoulder pads. With shoulder pads there are drag lines indicating I need a square shoulder adjustment.

(Taken from The Perfect Fit: The Classic Guide to Altering Patterns, which I checked out from the library.)

Even without shoulder pads, the sleeves seemed to indicate I might have broader shoulders than typical for this pattern. (Those pesky drag lines!)

Since it was almost too tight to try on with anything other than a camisole underneath (a problem that I first figured might be remedied with a slippery lining in place) and since the shoulders suggested it was not only too short but also too narrow, I started contemplating making the next size up, which would give me 3-4″ of ease in the bust. My books do not explicitly state what’s the desired range, and I can’t seem to find any discussion of it on the Cutter and Tailor, my newest online sewing forum obsession. (It’s all about tailoring, after all.) The notes I’ve been compiling over the last many weeks actually suggest my original 2-3″ ease is more what I want, though I didn’t write down my source… What to do, what to do?

This hemming and hawing over fit will likely continue as I’ve already spotted my next hiccup as well: the armscye. This pattern’s armscye is low. It looks lovely, but it’s very restrictive. I’ll know more in just a bit. But, I’m already reading about how to raise the armscye.

One of these days I will cut into my fashion fabric. Until then, thanks for sticking with me as I wander blindfolded through the mud. If you’re really lucky, I’ll get so covered in muck that it’ll take someone like Beth and her SunnyGal Studio classes to pull me out. The blow to my budget and ego will be free lessons for you. But, first, a little more wandering can’t hurt.

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10 thoughts on “Tuesdays with Claire: In Which I Learn About Jacket Ease

  1. definitely try squaring the shoulder. i have quite square shoulders and had terrible drag lines on a dress i was making. but the tiny tweak of the shoulder seam (a lot easier on a sleeveless dress than your starlet jacket tho i imagine – luckily for me as i’m still a beginner!) sorted it right out. i think perhaps it is more of an issue with vintage/ reprinted vintage patterns than modern day ones as they do say we are generally getting bigger/ larger boned.

  2. I’m not sure this jacket is meant to be worn with anything but underwear/slip underneath. Most of the 50s fitted skirt suits weren’t, from what I’ve seen in fashion books/museum exhibits unless it was a dress. So maybe you don’t need all that ease. Good luck with the alterations!

  3. Your right shoulder scares me a bit. For years and years I wore my life (in beautiful and big leather bags) on my right shoulder. At 55 I started having shoulder problems. Five years later I had to stop carrying bags totally. And yes, my right shoulder looks like yours, though faithful physical therapy has normalized it a bit.. The problem is caused by hiking your shoulder up to compensate for the weight. This throws the upper trapezius out. so in essence, you are right, you are tiring out your shoulder/trapezius.

  4. When in doubt, head over to the ladies at Artisan Square. They will do an excellent critique for you – nothing beats all those years of experience.

  5. Wow, this looks amazing! I don’t think I’ve ever had a RTW jacket that fit this well! You’re definitely on the right track. And 3-4″ of ease seems like a comfortable amount for a jacket.

  6. it really is a pretty design. and all this hemming and hawing WILL pay off. you will have a truly beautiful jacket – that much is for certain. i’ll admit that i’m getting a bit sweaty palmed for you over that low armsyce – i DREAD fitting the armsyce and sleeve! but I believe in you (and “the perfect fit”) and have complete faith that you’ll navigate those armpit-ty waters with grace and “ease” HAH!

  7. This really looks like it fits you well. I’d probably stay with this size and make the adjustments that you need, like adding a bit more ease at the bust through the princess seams. I find it harder to remove ease than add where its needed.

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