Friday, April 13, 2012

Where I create a good fitting, but unwearable, shirt (part II)

This post is part II in a series. To get caught up to speed, check out part I here.

Awww shit, look at that crease! Note how the yoke rolls down onto my arm. Clearly the shoulder fit to too big. Except, when I compared the shoulders of this shirt to my well fitting white shirt, the rear yokes measure exactly the same. So I measured the front yokes from collar to sleeve:

And found that the blue shirt was 2cm wider along the front yoke edge. I don't know why they drafted this odd of a arm scythe, but I was going to have to fix it. Time to remove the sleeves and recut the yokes.

It was at this point that I realized total sleeve removal was going to be a no-go. When adjusting the side seams I chose to half-ass things and sewed the arm hole bottoms shut. Since I didn't intend to wear this shirt out anywhere it wasn't a big deal to just half-remove the sleeves. If you are doing this invasive of a procedure on a shirt you want to wear, I'd bring in the sides last (or just do things right the first time).

I measured in 16mm (the front yoke size on taken from the white shirt) and marked my new yoke width.

and then drew my new arm scythe using the french curve that I've borrowed from Crissy (I'm giving it back soon, I promise). I'm a firm believe in over-using pins, and also of pin-basting, so this was the sleeve before I sewed it:

While I was working with the sleeve, I went ahead and removed a 2" wedge (from armpit to cuff) in an attempt to reduce bagginess in that area. I think I may have pinned poorly, because it gave the sleeve an odd wrinkle. This is was the fit afterwards:

And an obligatory before:middle:after shot:

All in all I'm quite happy with the way this worked out. It looks like the shirt is too tight across my abdomen, but it's just my posterior being all too big again. I have plenty of ease above the hips. To address my rump in the final pattern, I'll add an inch or two to the bottom circumference. 

So what do yall think? Did I just totally waste a perfectly good 60/40 cotton-poly blend shirt? Any pointers on cutting it back apart to make a pattern? I've typed this 2nd part 4 times now because blogger keeps losing it (I guess they are experiencing technical difficulties here in the cloud...), so I'm all out of witty things to say. Leave me some love in the comments; Next time I think I'll take on ties!


  1. re: making a pattern, David Page Coffin has a couple of good youtube videos re: how to nondestructively copy a shirt, so you could potentially copy and still wear it.

    Also, as just a, um, postcard from the other side, adding different seam allowances for each type of seam is a huge time-saver and precision-adder--if you decide you love shirtmaking, David Page Coffin's book is pretty fantastic for those kinds of tips. It totally changed my shirtmaking life for the better. :)

    Re: removing width on the sleeve, you may want to think about another solution--2" (x2, I assume?) is a pretty huge chunk to take out in that quick-n-dirty method.

    Good luck!

  2. I'm impressed! Although I'm now an award winning shirt maker, I've never had the courage to alter an existing shirt. I've always took the easy route and started from scratch, making modifications with each new version. Congratulations and thanks for sharing.

    Several years ago, I had the privilege of attending a fine shirt making workshop led by David Page Coffin. He has a lot of good construction techniques to help with both pattern design and construction techniques. I would definitely recommend his book.


  3. Thanks for the tips!

    I've heard some great things about David's book, I'll have my wife track down a copy for me once this pregnancy is finished.

    Scooter, I'll also check out those videos!