Readers, I want to open with part of a comment that design expert Kathleen Fasanella of Fashion Incubator once left on my blog, the context being an entry I wrote two years ago about some (very ill-fitting) Marc Jacobs shirts I tried on at Barney's Co-op:
It is inappropriate (imo) to judge something good or bad based on whether it fits you and according to your preferences -unless you are a long time customer of that given brand. You wouldn't (or shouldn't) judge a home sewing pattern to be good or bad based on whether it fit you either, you could only say whether it were cut to fit your dimensions but to say it was "bad" in that it didn't fit you considering the broad gamut of fit possibilities would not be fair.
The woman has a point, a very good one.
OK, so did you notice that photo up top of a very athletic-looking man's back? Now look at a photo of my back.
Readers, I am basically a rectangle. I have a visible waist, sure, but it isn't whittled relative to the rest of me. My trapezius and latissiumus dorsi muscles are not prominent (nor do I do anything in particular to build them).
I bring this up in reference to the shirt muslin I made from V8889, a new Vogue men's pattern I discussed yesterday. Here's a first view, without sleeves. See how nicely it's shaped? It is not, however, shaped quite like me.
|My fingers point to the actual pivot point of my shoulder.|
Here it is from the front with one short sleeve and one long sleeve; no collar added as yet.
From the back:
Clearly this is a fitted shirt, and not just because I cut a 34" though I'm usually a 36". Do you see those side back and side front pieces (below) and the long diamond-shaped space between them? Well those pieces are meant to be joined together, and when they do they create that very contoured side seam.
Simply put, the shirt is more contoured than I am. My muslin, even in a 34", is slightly too wide at the shoulder, and appears too wide in the mid-back because it tapers so dramatically at the waist. And while it widens again at the hip, the center back sits on my rear end (which isn't huge), creating horizontal folds.
Parenthetically, even this RTW fitted shirt looks funky on the mannequin toward the lower back.
Look how much better the muslin looks on Michael, who's broader in the shoulder and upper back and has a longer waist and narrower hips.
Do you agree with my diagnosis, friends?
I definitely can get this shirt to fit well and I hope to. Since there are six seams along the width of the shirt (instead of the typical two), if I narrow each seam allowance by 1/4" at the waist (or widen each pattern piece), I'll get an extra 1 1/2" width (if I've done my math correctly) -- that's provided I want to distribute the width evenly.
The sleeves went on fairly easily. There's a good amount of ease in the sleeve cap, but it's not ridiculous. For the muslin, I widened the seam allowance to roughly 7/8" (from 5/8") to take up some of that extra shoulder width. I narrowed the seam allowance toward the armhole to raise it a bit. I may still narrow the shoulder by another 1/2" on each side."
|Seam allowance of sleeve cap with ease.|
I don't think the front looks bad at all, and remember that my stiff, cheap purple cotton is not very forgiving and shows every shadow (a good thing for fitting, actually). The shirt fits comfortably; any bunching toward the neck is because there's still a 5/8" seam allowance that will end up dramatically trimmed after I add the collar stand.
I shortened the long sleeve by 2" and it's still roughly 2" too long (I haven't added the cuff to the muslin).
In closing, I really like this shirt so far and think it has possibilities. I also recognize that a highly fitted look is not the best for my relatively boxy build.
(More Vogue 8889 muslin pics here.)