Here’s how I ‘tweaked’ the pattern to fit:
In order to get the right size from the pattern, I measured the seam lines of my favourite RTW jacket. I cut a size 20 at the shoulders, tapering down to a size 14 at the bust and down the torso (I have broader shoulders than the patterns of today allow for). This seems to fit pretty well in the width across my back, but I needed to adjust for a sloping shoulder.
One major change I did make was to alter the princess seam line just above my bust area. I think I didn’t taper down to the size 14 soon enough – you can see here that there was quite a bit of gaping:
I fixed this by unpicking the seam down to the bust point, then relocating the front side pattern piece by moving the side panel ‘up’. You can see the new seam line in orange, and the original seam line in blue.
Also, I actually rather like the length of where the raw edge sits currently, so normally I’d need to add an extra inch or two for the hem. But as I’m planning to finish the jacket edges with a contrasting colour fabric, which I could add on in much the same way as bias binding – I’ll leave it be as this will effectively be the hemline anyway.
Sleeves are always a bit of a conundrum. I cut one sleeve from the pattern out of calico and attached it, but just wasn’t happy with the result. My fabulous sewing teacher suggesting tracing the sleeve pattern from her copy of Vogue 8333 and WOW! what a difference a superbly-drafted sleeve can make. Of course, V8333 is a Clare Schaeffer jacket pattern – the detailed and couture instructions in this make it worth it’s weight in gold. I went out and immediately bought the thing. WOW. So I’m sticking with V8333 sleeves on this jacket.
How do you match another pattern’s sleeve to your own? Well, firstly you need to measure the length of the seam line around the armscye (careful here – not the edge of the fabric – the actual seam line) and the matching sleeve pattern. Take note of each, and the difference between the two, as this is your ease.
Secondly, measure the sleeve pattern you’re planning to use, trying to get the size that is the closest match to the measurements of the original sleeve. It’s good to keep in mind that the notches and markings on the substitute sleeve probably won’t match your pattern. I ended up with a size 12 sleeve from V8333 as this was the closest match.
But now I have a new problem, possibly caused by a shoulder seam that doesn’t sit in the centre – when I joined the sleeve to the jacket body, matching up the side seam and shoulder seam, all the sleeve ease was at the front, with none at the front.
This meant I needed to change the shoulder seam ‘centre point’ on the sleeve head. To do this I:
1. Pinned the sleeve to the jacket at the side seam only;
2. Ignoring the ease, continued pinning up on both the front and back sides. When you get to the shoulder seam, you’re left with the ease (see below)
3. Using the ‘tip’ of the fabric left over after pinning – I made a mark in blue (the original sleeve head point is marked in grey) indicating the new shoulder seam point:
Result? An nicely set in sleeve head.
As I’m planning on applying tailoring techniques to this puppy, there’s one last thing to do on this toile – mark the Roll Line. This is the point where your collar peaks and ‘rolls’ over. If you don’t own a dress form, it’s easier to get someone close at hand to do this for you :) I’ve marked mine in blue pen, which I then transferred onto my traced pattern pieces.
Next up – cutting and stabilising the shell fabric!