Ummm…It’s a design element.

OK. Work continues on my “Covid 19 Blazer”. When I left off I was talking about fitting issues. Namely, my curved upper back, and how I address that.

This happens with just about every pattern. The center back seam is quite straight, which makes the collar pull away from my neck. It looks bad, and it also feels all wrong. There’s a constant desire to grab the front of the jacket and pull it forward and down. Of course it just pops right back. The shoulder seam is also pulled to the back. It’s a double whammy!

This is how I go about fixing it. I wish I was more precise about how I do this. Basically I’m just winging it. I slash across the upper back to the seam allowance of the rear armscye. Then I swing the back up about 1 – 1 1/2″ in a sort of hinge action. Then it’s just a matter of taping in a scrap of Swedish Tracing paper.

In this shot you can also the the first part of the forward shoulder adjustment. Again this isn’t very precise. I put on the muslin, stand in front of a mirror and mark the apex of my shoulder with chalk. For this jacket I needed to move the seam forward 3/4″. A scrap of paper has been taped on.

All that remains is to subtract the same amount, 3/4″, from the front shoulder seam. This should be very easy to do…………but……….

For some reason I lopped off the excess at the neck edge rather than at the shoulder edge! Then I proceeded to blissfully cut everything out without a care in the world, convinced that all my fitting issues were solved.

When I discovered my error I didn’t know what to do first…. take an extra dose of my blood pressure med, or jump out the window. Maybe you’ve been there? That panic stricken feeling . You’ve just F$%^ed up royally and there’s not enough fabric left to cut out a new piece. What do you do?

You create a “design element”!

My solution was to cut what remained of the front shoulders at the correct angle, and to insert a 1″ strip to get the fronts back to the correct size. Does that make sense?

Here’s how it turned out. In a way I find it totally “believable” in light of the other details on this pattern… the contrasting bias bands on the pocket flaps, the elbow patches, the bias chest pocket. Who’s to say that Ron Collins didn’t add a little contrasting band to accentuate the shoulder seams?

Anyway, that’s the story I’m telling myself, and I’m sticking with it.

“Design Elements”. Been there?

26 thoughts on “Ummm…It’s a design element.

  1. Great save…and if anyone has the temerity to comment on it (except to say “Great save”) take them off your Christmas card list…no one needs that kind of negativity..😉

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “It’s a feature, not a bug.” – pals at Microsoft discussing a glitch in Excel in 1994.

    Given the rest of the decorative features on that pattern, OF COURSE it’s a feature!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. For me i can never convince myself that it is a design element or feature, it always looks wrong and i just face the fact the i need to rip it out and start over or hope that i purchased enough fabric to redo the whole thing an learn from the mistake i made. So i guess i can sum up, mistake to be fixed, not a design element.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think those “design elements” are half the fun of sewing–how can I take something “bad” and make it into something good? Wish I could do this in all areas of my life as easily as in sewing.

      Good luck! It’s looking great.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Great intuitive solution and design “save”. I have exactly your fitting problems. Bluprint has a class “Custom Fitting: Back, Neck and Shoulders” by Kathleen Cheetham that I found to be very helpful.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. If your correction continues to nettle you , you could always cut a contrast shoulder yoke like a jean jacket or shooting jacket would have . And just cover up your adjustment completely . I won’t tell 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Nice save! Sort of an epaulet-ish look. Tres elegant!

    Before I instituted my rule of “No sewing after wine, or after nine”, I made a spectacular error on a shirt for DS: I reversed the sleeves (left for right, right for left). I had them set in, topstitched and the seam allowance serged before I realized what I had done. It was very nice houndstooth wool and there wasn’t any more fabric. Unsewing was not an option. What to do, what to do???

    At about upper forearm, I cut the bottom of the sleeves off (cuff, placket and all), reversed them, and sewed them back onto the correct arm. I topstitched the new seam to make it even more obvious…because, design element. DS loved the shirt, including the distinctive sleeves.

    (Luckily, the shirt fit ok even with the sleeves in backwards. Whew.)

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Just put it on both sides, then it’s totally a design element. Truthfully, given the pattern of the fabric, only another sewist will notice.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Search: high round back adjustment
    All the time we sit looking at screens makes it really common, so there are lots of tutorials.
    Your method, adding wedges and curving CB seam is one option. If you need to cut CB seam on fold, a /shoulder/neck dart is added instead. If there is a back yoke you can fold the dart out.


  9. That was one of the best bits of advice I ever got about garment-making: “There are no mistakes. There are only design decisions.” The advice-giver qualified that bold statement by admitting that some design decisions are worse than others. Still, it boosted confidence levels in his students by about 18-gazillion percent.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Hi, thank you for sharing your ‘design element’!!!
    I used to teach Art and Textiles back in the UK … we had to come up with creative solutions pretty regularly!😂. One of them even became a ‘new’ technique we employed deliberately…

    I have the same attitude regarding embroidery/surface embellishment… I do not rip out… I keep on adding until it works… I have been known to use pliers to pull a needle through the cloth!!!
    Thanks for your inspiration!!
    Chris 🌻

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Yup, those racing stripes on my daughter’s bathrobe are design elements. Not related to inaccurate measuring at all…
    Yours seems like a very elegant solution!


  12. Nice save. I think the hardest thing about this kind of problem solving is getting out the ‘Oh no, I’ve ruined everything, I’m an idiot’ headspace into ‘Ok, what am I going to do about this’.

    Liked by 1 person

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