Readers, would you say this man's shirt is too tight or just right? How much room do you think he has to lift his arms without ripping out some seams?
There's a reason you don't see fish-eye back darts on many men's shirts. They look best on a very broad back that tapers to a very narrow waist and then stays narrow in the hips. Not even the mannequin below can pull this off very well (too much seat, I'd argue).
I'm not tremendously V-shaped from shoulders to waist and I have a bit of a seat and hips. I've made shirts with back darts a few times but it's not my usual thing.
Many of you wanted me to put the back darts in the coffee ice cream-colored shirt I just made and I was curious too, so I did.
I strongly recommend putting your darts in your shirt -- provided you know how wide you want them -- before you finish your garment: it's so much easier! I measured the length and width of the dart on the pattern very carefully and, measuring the shirt from the inside, marked the dart width from top to bottom with a washable pencil marker.
I pressed the dart length along the center and then pinned the dart shape. The dart is approximately 1" at its widest and narrows at top and bottom to nothing. I started stitching from the middle down and the middle up, a technique that allows me to avoid having to start stitching onto a tapered end.
I carefully pressed the darts toward the center, putting a fabric scrap beneath the dart edge so as not to make an impression in the fabric.
So here's the result. Michael thinks the shirt looks better; I'm on the fence. It will certainly stay tucked in my pants better, but I don't love that puddling at my lower back. (A dark fabric magnifies every little crease of course.)
When I model this shirt with my blue cotton twill pants (which I started today), the shirt will be tucked in. It will be interesting to see how it looks. In retrospect, perhaps a dart that narrowed sooner from the middle down would have been better; I'm not sure. Regardless, I'm happy with the shirt. And it's fun to try a new (to me) pattern once in a while.
In closing, readers, have you ever gotten so obsessed with fit that you ended up without enough ease in your garment, i.e., overfitting?
When it comes to clothes fitting slightly loose or too tight, my preference is the former, but then -- call me crazy -- I like to be able to swing my arms occasionally and sit down without my buttons popping open.
Shouldn't we be able to 1) breathe, 2) move, 3) feel comfortable in our clothes? What's a sew-person to do?