Fitting and pattern adjustment for my Jacket with a SNAFU

This jacket is Burda 11/2011 Plaid Wool Jacket #115, and I don’t even like the magazine photo.

burda wool jacket 112011

See? The styling is really sloppy. But when I looked at the online photo, it was LOVE!

burda wool jacket manequim

Its a basic single breasted trench with BIG pockets but my favorite part is the curved hem detail. I never would have seen that from the model photo. I didn’t even see it on my first few passes through the pattern diagrams in the middle. I finally noticed this little beauty when I began looking for a jacket pattern to replace my StyleArc Coco Jacket pattern that no longer fits. I still need a jacket for the coming winter, as all I have is a sweatshirt (and I want to practice all those nifty couture techniques I’ve learned dammit). So I poured through my issues and poked around Burda’s website until I found the online photo of this pattern. Luckily, it was in the first issue I found here in Brazil. In 2012, I bought 3 yards of camel colored 100% Shetland wool for the Coco jacket even though that pattern only needed 2 yards. This jacket needs 3 yards exactly. Serendipitous don’t you think?

I spent the past few days on just the paper pattern for this bad boy. Want to know why? Look at the pattern from my jacket class:

jacket pattern from class

That was accomplished over 4, 8-hour days with lots of math, one paper fitting and 2 muslin fittings to get to the “I am ready to cut my fashion fabric” point on the last day. I only have naptimes now. Rather than start from scratch I measured off my class jacket pattern, read through my class notes, took another set of body measurements, and altered the Burda pattern to match as closely as possible. Here’s what I did along with some tips from my class.

Step 1: My Upper Back Curve adjustment is probably the one you are least familiar with. I had never done this because I don’t have a curved upper spine like my grandmother. When the instructor, Cynthia Guffey, said I needed this I had images of early stage osteoporosis! Needless to say she laughed. This adjustment is only 1/4″ and seems almost useless, except it is for tailoring the collar! What? What this adjustment does is it curves the center back seam slightly inward so that the collar hugs your neck rather than standing up with the straight grain. It was a light bulb moment for me and I’ve been experimenting with the fitted blouse pattern I’m working on to see if it works with lighter fabrics too. Cynthia says that in her experience none of the pattern companies have this adjustment built in so she feels its an automatic one for everyone, some people might need it more and starting at a lower point depending on their anatomy. If you’re like me, you just have to go through the back neck point of the pattern like so:

upper back curve

A simple slash and spread starting at Center Back and to the seam of the shoulder seam which should be a straight line. Remember “to and not through the seam” if you are working with a pattern with seam allowances already. Then spread the Center Back line the appropriate amount, lengthening and curving the center back, then secure. Done!

Step 2 is the Finished Shoulder Width Adjustment on Front and Back. In class this was easy because Cynthia’s pattern has the princess seam go all the way through the shoulder seam rather than curving to the arm scythe. This Burda jacket uses shaping darts so the shoulders are in one piece. I slashed down through the center of the back and front shoulder seams to the top of the under bust dart and folded out the excess (see the wedge folded out to the left of my thumb in the above photo?). This roughly mimics the adjustment I did with the princess seams.

Step 3 is the Shoulder Slope Adjustment on Front and Back pieces which I am just going to do an entire tutorial on because its complicated and I need to take better photos.

Step 4-7 are Back Width at Underarms (fine as is), Back Waist Length (has to be done in conjunction with Front Waist Length which didn’t happen because of my BIG PROBLEM aka SNAFU), Back Waist Width (fine as is) and Back Hip Width (fine as is)

The BIG PROBLEM hit with the bust apex (step 8).  Part one of the problem is that I need to shorten the bust apex whereas in my class I needed to lengthen it. And the class pattern again had the princess seam through the shoulder making lengthening or shortening the bust apex a breeze. Part two of the problem is that shortening the bust apex on the Burda pattern (photo 1)  impacts the neckline shaping dart (photo 2) the center front line and the lapels (photo 3).

bust point problems 1 bust point problem 2 bust point problem 3

I bit the bullet and paper fitted this piece with the bust apex adjustment right away rather than continuing with the adjustments. Thank goodness I did because this method FAILED miserably in accomplishing its goal. I think this is also because of how the collar attaches at the shoulder, which may have thrown off my measurements. As of this moment I have untaped the bust apex adjustment and returned it all to the original layout and put away the pattern. I plan to spend naptime tomorrow cutting out the muslin. I need to see how it all lays on me and go from there. Wish me luck!

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