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Begin With The Right Pattern
- Picking a Pattern Size
Getting the Right Amount of Ease
Ease is the difference between the body measurement and the finished garment measurement. Different types of garments require different amounts of ease. Most suit-type jackets will have approximately 3” (7.5cm) ease at the bust to allow for movement and a lightweight garment worn underneath, as well as to create the silhouette the designer intended. For easy reference, the finished garment measurement and the amount of ease is printed on the pattern tissue.
Remember, the amount of ease printed on the pattern is only recommended! Fabric drape and personal preference are two factors that allow you to decide if you prefer a looser or closer fit than the designer intended. To check how much ease you prefer, wrap a tape measure around your body at the bust. Loosen the tape measure by adding the recommended ease. Is there enough space between your body and the tape? Too much? You can select a smaller or larger pattern size, depending on your preference.
Another way to check the ease is to try on a similar jacket that fits you well. Pinch out the fullness at the bust – the total pinched is the amount of ease allowed for that garment. Add the same amount of ease to your bust measurement, and choose the appropriate pattern size according to the finished bust measurement that comes closest.
Fine Tuning Your Fit
A muslin sample can be made before cutting and sewing your final jacket if you are uncertain of your fit. Below are some guidelines for fitting your garment perfectly:
Front darts should point toward bust point and end 1” (2.5cm) from bust point. Place a pin 1” (2.5cm) from bust point; if the end of the dart is more or less than 1” (2.5cm) from this point, re-stitch dart, tapering to the pin.
Shoulder seams should sit along the shoulder line without feeling too tight or too loose. Shoulders can be adjusted by taking in or letting out the seam, tapering stitching to the original seam line at the neckline.
Jacket Body Seams
Try on the jacket, without sleeves. Match center fronts and take in or let out garment seams as desired , tapering stitching into original seam line at armholes and neck edges.
Sleeves should fit comfortably without feeling too tight or too loose. Sleeves can be adjusted by taking in or letting out the seams, tapering stitching to original seam lines at armhole edges.
Side Seam Adjustments
If side seam adjustment is needed all the way to the armhole edges, it is necessary to adjust the sleeves the same amount to fit the newly-enlarged armhole.
Armhole seams should sit exactly at the end of the shoulder bones. When stitching armhole seams, stitch a deeper seam at cap if the armhole seam extends beyond the shoulder bone, or a narrower seam if the armhole seam is short of the shoulder bone.
Remember, when any seam lines are adjusted on your jacket, the same adjustments need to be made to the seam lines of any linings, facings or other pieces that are applied to the original jacket pieces.
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