I spent a lot of time yesterday measuring shirt yokes. Following David Coffin's instructions for fitting the back of a shirt with a drape method, I cut a yoke from a shirt pattern whose yoke fit best -- in this case it was the TNT Butterick 4712 pattern -- pinned it to a tee shirt, and then attached (draped) a large rectangle of fabric from this, marking the ends of the yoke on the fabric, and then matching these edges to the pattern and tracing in the sides as drafted -- does that makes sense? I'm in of a bit of a rush this morning.
Of course, I just ended up with the exact same back piece that I would if I'd followed the pattern directly and why wasn't this obvious to me earlier? The problem isn't the width at the shoulder. It's the fullness that remains where my back narrows below (that's the back piece on the dress form below, not on me, btw).
Now I'm thinking, if I want a narrower back piece, I should just cut 1/2 inch off the sides of either end, below the armscye. There's a bit about this in my Singer book, The Perfect Fit. I'll explore this further later to today. I don't think darts are what I want. David Coffin thinks that darts are "merely evidence of ill-cut side seams" (p. 21) Hmm....
I measured the yokes of all my shirt patterns for the first time. For my shoulders, the yoke shouldn't be more than 17 inches from shoulder to shoulder, a little under is even better.
But many of my patterns have yokes wider than that; I'd never even thought about it before.
I even took a peek at Negroni....whoa.
Willy didn't know what to make of all this.
Some of you have suggested that perhaps I am at high risk of overfitting. Possibly but I don't think I'm at that stage yet though I'll admit it's a slippery slope.
Wise readers and sewists of differing skill levels, what are your favorite resources regarding fit? Along with too many encyclopedic sewing guides, I have the aforementioned Singer The Perfect Fit and yesterday ordered an old edition of Fit for Real People on Amazon, though it doesn't specifically address men's bodies. A shoulder is a shoulder, right? And I'm a real person, sort of.
Anyway, I'd love to hear what resources you have been using successfully and what you'd recommend for others. David Coffin's book is helpful when it comes to men's shirts but it left me with a few unanswered questions. I'll bring these with me to my session next Tuesday morning with Celebrity Sewing Guru. I can hardly wait.
Any must have resources out there? I know Fit for Real People has a lot of enthusiastic support. Are people really doing those pattern pin-fits? Are they easier than making a muslin and transferring the changes back onto the pattern?
Some of you have been dealing with this for decades. I want to hear from you!
I'm a native New Yorker and self-taught sewing fanatic! I've been sewing obsessively since 2009 and today make all my own clothes using mostly vintage patterns and vintage sewing machines. Welcome to the warm and whimsical world of Male Pattern Boldness, where the conversation is sewing, style, fashion, fabric, and more!