Thursday, March 15, 2012

Leather Jacket Muslin 1.0: Sleeves

As I mentioned on Monday, I worked on fitting muslin 1.0 on and off throughout the weekend.

On Saturday, I fine tuned the bodice fit. (Tanit-Isis, you were right! After a small FBA, things were looking good). Then, on Sunday, the sleeve drama began. I've only recently realized that the reason I own and sew so many sleeveless garments is that most sleeves don't fit me well as they are constructed and I am built. And I really have to labor on them every time I sew them.  Here was my first attempt. 

Let me tell you that these sleeves were not at all comfortable. They may look okay, but they were very binding when I raised my arm at all. Plus there was a lot of extra fabric in the sleeve cap and at the back of the sleeve, both at the cap and through the triceps all the way down to the wrist. Really, it seemed like there was too much fabric where I didn't need it and not enough where I did. At one point I even checked to make sure I'd  put the sleeve in the right way.  I had.

But by the end of the weekend, they looked like this.

Kinda looks that same, doesn't it? But the difference is immeasurable. This sleeve is comfy and I can actually move my arm without it binding and constricting. I think the noticeable difference is how the sleeve cap fits into the seam at the shoulder much better and the loads of fabric at the triceps has mostly been eliminated. But otherwise, I don't think the pictures show much difference, despite pretty significant alterations to the sleeve and armscye.

Here's what I did:

First, I lowered the sleeve cap by about 1/2 inch so there was not nearly as much ease. In addition to not needing the extra height in the sleeve cap since it caused bagging, leather does not ease well. So, I wanted the sleeve to fit pretty precisely into the armscye without having to gather and ease it in. 

Second, a forward shoulder adjustment was needed. I used the instructions in Tailoring: The Classic Guide to Sewing the Perfect Jacket, and also consulted FFRP and Fitting and Pattern Alteration: A Multi-Method Approach. They basically all agreed on method..

Third - apologies for not having Phin photograph me from the front -  I made the armscye higher and tighter by about 1/2 inch at the armpit, tapering up to the cap. Not only does this help with mobility, but it was recommended for leather, which will stretch to your body, as I mentioned on Tuesday.

Fourth, I narrowed the sleeve by 1 inch at the wrist, tapering to 1/4 inch where it connects to the armscye. Here's what the alterations to the sleeve pieces looked like.

It seems counter-intuitive, but a smaller sleeve sewn into a smaller armscye allows for a much greater freedom of motion.

A little more tweaking happened after the photos and then I cut into the faux leather. And let me tell you, I'm glad I opted for two rounds of muslin because I've already sewn the zipper in wrong. Three times. (oopsy!)

Next up on the leather jacket front: sewing on faux leather!


T. Sedai said...

I think your improved sleeve looks much better - it has a nice smooth look to it. I have also noticed that a smaller higher armscye works much better for me than the huge ones with lots of ease. Your muslins are looking really good, all of your efforts with fitting are totally going to be worth it in the end.

oonaballoona said...

this jacket is going to be BANANAS. i can't believe all these adjustments... you're making me give the stink eye to my ohwhateverit'sFINE garments....

(three times? that's awesome.)

Karin said...

I do think the difference in the sleeves is noticable. So much better! I often narrow sleaves myself, but I have always been afraid to take ease out of sleeve caps, although, now I am thinking it might be a very good idea!

poppykettle said...

Yep, sleeves are tricky as! I've also found that differences in sleeve muslins are difficult to photograph, but you notice the difference when wearing them! I really need to get that tailoring book - it's been on my to-get list for a long time now!

Tia Dia said...

Your sleeve & armscye alterations look really good - and a lot more comfortable!

Tanit-Isis said...

Wow, you are DA BOMB with all this work! You are so on the right track, though. I am a big fan of high, close armscyes (maybe I just have scrawny arms ;) ).

So glad my fitting comment helped a wee bit! :D

Clio said...

Thanks everyone! This is LOTS of tinkering, it's true. But leather ain't cheap! So, I want it to be perfect!

Sheila said...

I am so impressed, your modifications yield a great looking sleeve and although a partial pic... the muslin is looking great.

Catherine Daze said...

Thanks for posting the details! I struggle with sleeves so this is really interesting. It should turn out to be a great jacket!

Clio said...

Hey T - I made the exact same alterations to the sleeve. Bizarre!