How to fit a Tailored jacket or Blazer // Fit adjustment issues and fixes for the Jasika Blazer
Fitting, Our Sewing Patterns

How to fit a Tailored jacket or Blazer // Fit adjustments for the Jasika Blazer

Today we are going to talk fitting for your Jasika Blazer! This is often the most intimidating part of sewing a new style of garment, so we wanted to make it as simple as possible for you to diagnose and correct any fit issues without having to consult a million books (we did that for you!)

We created a fitting ebook for our online speed tailoring course and decided to make it available to anyone not enrolled, or to anyone making a tailored jacket of any kind. This blog post is a summary of that content, although you may want to save the ebook for later reference. If that’s the case, you can find it in our sewing resource library. This is a members only section of our site you can get a password for when you sign up for our newsletter.

 

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SEWING RESOURCE LIBRARY!

 

The first step in this process is to MAKE A MUSLIN. Please for the love of all that is holy, do not skip this step. A tailored jacket is a big investment of your time and energy, and I would hate for you to cut into your lovely fabric and do all this work only to find you should have made a few simple adjustments first. Having said that, I also want to caution against over-fitting. Unless you enjoy obsessively tweaking every drag line, I think getting fixated on minor flaws you would never look askance at with ready-to-wear garments can really suck the fun out of sewing. My motto: good enough is good enough. Our blazer is meant to be semi-fitted which means we built in ease at various key points. To allow our blazer to be easily layered over other garments and give you a good range of movement, it is broader in the back, waist, and shoulders than a very fitted garment. Try not to go overboard nipping in these areas or you may find you can’t move as freely as you would like. Having said that, you can quite easily take in the waist along the side seams if you’d like a closer fit.

HOW TO MAKE A MUSLIN

  • A jacket muslin does not need to include all pieces. For a simple and fast test garment, cut and assemble the front, side panel, back, sleeves and under collar. Baste everything together to make it easier to take apart if necessary.
  • To make assessing fit easier, mark all relevant construction symbols.
  • Mark roll line on lapel.
  • Mark button location on both fronts so you know where to pin jacket closed.
  • Mark center front with a vertical line perpendicular to grainline on jacket front.
  • Mark bust, waist and hip line on all pattern pieces. Draw a horizontal line perpendicular to grainline across all pieces. They will help identify any balance issues (ie. a swayback issue may cause the lines in back to curve or bend).
  • Mark lengthwise and cross grain on sleeve with horizontal and vertical lines.
  • Press hem of sleeve and jacket up. You can also press in seam allowances of collar and lapel if you wish, although this is not mandatory.
  • Make sure you try the muslin on with the shoulder pad in!

STUDYING FIT

The hardest thing about fitting a jacket is doing it on your own. If you have a fit buddy to help, it will make the process go by faster. If not, take well lit photos (daylight is best) of front, back and side while you’re standing normally with arms hanging naturally at your sides and use those to diagnose issues. Once you have pictures, use this blog post or the ebook to identify what the problem is (we also include a Blazer Fitting Checklist in the ebook that you can work through). We have shown 23 adjustments here and it should cover the majority of fit issues. If you’re still struggling, the Palmer Pletsch Guide to Complete Fitting is an invaluable resource. Now, let’s get started! Each adjustment belows illustrates how drag lines or fit issues will appear on your muslin, with the proper correction shown on the pattern pieces affected.

DART IN WRONG PLACE

Dart in the wrong place // How to fit a Tailored jacket or Blazer // Fit adjustment issues and fixesSYMPTOM: 

The dart should line up with the apex/fullest part of the bust. If it doesn’t, the shaping and fullness created by the dart for the bust will not happen in the right place. This will cause tightness or restriction across the bust and may create excess fabric along the side.

SOLUTION:

To correct, simply shift the dart over the necessary amount and redraw the dart on the pattern piece at the correct place.

DART TOO LONG

Dart too long // How to fit a Tailored jacket or Blazer // Fit adjustment issues and fixes

SYMPTOM: 

The purpose of the bust dart is to shape the bodice of the jacket to conform to the shape of your body. It should create volume where you need it, at the fullest point of the bust. Ideally the dart will end 1/2” – 1” below the apex of the bust.

If the dart is too long, it will extend past the apex of the bust, releasing volume where you don’t need it. Signs of a dart that is too long are drag lines or pulling at the apex of the bust.

SOLUTION:

To correct, drop the point of the dart the amount needed and taper the lines of the new point to the existing dart.

DART TOO SHORT

Dart too short // How to fit a Tailored jacket or Blazer // Fit adjustment issues and fixes

SYMPTOM: 

The purpose of the bust dart is to shape the bodice of the jacket to conform to the shape of your body. It should create volume where you need it, at the fullest point of the bust. Ideally the dart will end 1/2” – 1” below the apex of the bust.

If the dart is too short, it will release volume where you don’t need it, lower on the chest. Sign of a too-short dart is excess fullness below the apex of the bust.

SOLUTION:

To correct, extend the point of the dart the amount needed and taper the lines of the new point to the existing dart.

SMALL BUST / TOO LOOSE ABOVE WAIST

Small bust adjustment // How to fit a Tailored jacket or Blazer // Fit adjustment issues and fixes

SYMPTOM: 

If you have a small bust, you may find the jacket has too much volume through the front. This will result in vertical drag lines or excess fabric through the bust.

SOLUTION:

The simplest fix is to remove width through the front, side panel and back at bust level. Start with the front and side panel; additional width may be removed from the back if necessary. Shift the armhole shape in as needed, ensuring you maintain seam allowances.

* Ensure changes are also transferred to lining pieces.

LARGE BUST

Large bust adjustment // How to fit a Tailored jacket or Blazer // Fit adjustment issues and fixes

SYMPTOM: 

Very full busts (3” or more difference between full and high bust) should use our C or D cup pattern pieces. However, if the bust of the jacket is only slightly too small (indicated by pulling across the bust and/or gaping at lapel) you may find you are able to add a little width through the side seams without needing to do a full bust adjustment.

SOLUTION:

Add additional width through along the side seam of side panel and front jacket. Amount added should not exceed 3/4”-1”. Shift the armhole shape out as needed, ensuring you maintain seam allowances.

* Ensure changes are also transferred to lining pieces.

LAPELS TOO WIDE OR NARROW

Lapels too wide or Loose // How to fit a Tailored jacket or Blazer // Fit adjustment issues and fixes

SYMPTOM: 

Lapel width is a personal preference. If you find the lapel too wide or narrow for your frame, you may add or subtract width as needed.

SOLUTION:

To adjust, extend or reduce lapel edge and taper to meet notch at lapel break.

* Ensure changes are also transferred to front facing.

GAPING LAPEL

Gaping lapel // How to fit a Tailored jacket or Blazer // Fit adjustment issues and fixes

SYMPTOM: 

If the jacket fits well through the bust but the lapel is too long, it will gape or break across the bust. Check to make sure neck fits correctly first (see next adjustment).

If the neckline fits well, try pinching out the gape with pins; if it is less than 1/2” the gaping can likely be corrected by easing in stay tape during the construction of the front jacket. For larger gaping issues, follow our suggested solution.

SOLUTION:

Pin out a tuck with pins, tapering to nothing at the armhole. Measure the amount reduced at the lapel. Draw a line on the pattern piece at the same area you removed the tuck. Cut the pattern at the lapel across to the armhole and rotate the top portion down at the armhole until you have removed the same amount. True the lapel with a straight line.

* Ensure changes are also transferred to front facing and lining.

NECKLINE TOO LOOSE

Neckline too loose // How to fit a Tailored jacket or Blazer // Fit adjustment issues and fixes

SYMPTOM: 

If the neckline is too loose, the collar and neckline seam will sit away from the back of the neck. The shoulder seam may sit in front of the center of your shoulder, and you may see drag lines or excess fabric behind the neck. The lapel may gape.

SOLUTION:

Before making a change, assess if the back of the jacket is too wide overall. If so, remove the necessary width from the center back seam, tapering to nothing at center back.

If the back fits well, remove the necessary width along the back shoulder, tapering to nothing at the armscye. Note that you should remove the same amount of width from both collars and stands so the collar matches the new neckline.

* Ensure changes are also transferred to back lining and neck facing.

NECKLINE TOO TIGHT

Jacket too tight in back // How to fit a Tailored jacket or Blazer // Fit adjustment issues and fixes

SYMPTOM: 

If the neckline is too tight, there may be drag lines or creases on the front shoulder radiating from the neckline to the shoulder. The armhole may show signs of tension as well. The shoulder seam will not align with the center of your shoulder.

SOLUTION:

Remove the collar from the neckline and open the shoulder and center back seams. Position the seams so they settle naturally along the neckline, and make sure the amount added is evenly distributed between shoulder and center back seam. Since you have lengthened the neckline, add the same amount to both collars and stands.

* Ensure changes are also transferred to back lining and neck facing.

TOO TIGHT ABOVE WAIST

Jacket too tight above waist // How to fit a Tailored jacket or Blazer // Fit adjustment issues and fixes

SYMPTOM: 

This adjustment is similar to our Full Bust adjustment,  but adds width across upper body. You will see wrinkles/drag lines along bust and mid back and perhaps feel tightness beneath armhole.

SOLUTION:

Add additional width along the side seams at upper back.  Shift the armhole shape out as needed, ensuring you maintain proportion of seam allowances.

* Ensure changes are also transferred to lining pieces.

TOO LOOSE THROUGH HIPS

Jacket too loose below waist // How to fit a Tailored jacket or Blazer // Fit adjustment issues and fixes

SYMPTOM: 

The jacket should lay flat against the lower body. If there are vertical wrinkles or excess fabric, you need to remove width through the hip.

SOLUTION:

Simply take in the hip along front, side panel and back. Pin your muslin along the seams to determine the amount needed, ensuring the back vent remains closed after adjusting. Taper the new seam line into the side seam just below the waist.

* Ensure changes are also transferred to lining pieces.

SWAY BACK

Sway back adjustment // How to fit a Tailored jacket or Blazer // Fit adjustment issues and fixes

SYMPTOM: 

Jacket is slightly too long through mid back, causing the vent to swing open. Ensure the jacket fits correctly through the hips before attempting this adjustment.

SOLUTION:

While wearing the muslin, pin out a tuck above vent along back and side panels, tapering to nothing at front side seam. This should cause the vent to lay straight and the hem to hang straight. Measure the amount removed. Draw a line on the back and side panel at the same area you removed the tuck. Cut the pattern across the line and rotate the bottom pieces in until you have removed the same amount. True the grain line and side seams.

* Ensure changes are also transferred to lining pieces.

UPPER BACK TOO LONG

Long upper back // How to fit a Tailored jacket or Blazer // Fit adjustment issues and fixes

SYMPTOM: 

If the jacket is too long through the upper back, horizontal drag lines/wrinkles will appear between the shoulders.

SOLUTION:

While wearing the muslin, pin out a tuck at upper back, tapering to nothing at armhole until the wrinkles disappear. Measure the amount removed. Draw a line across the upper back at the same area you removed the tuck. Cut the pattern across the line and rotate the  upper back down at the armhole until you have removed the same amount. True the center back seam.

* Ensure changes are also transferred to lining pieces.

UPPER BACK TOO SHORT

Upper back too short // How to fit a Tailored jacket or Blazer // Fit adjustment issues and fixes

SYMPTOM: 

If the jacket is too short through the upper back, the jacket will feel too tight and will ride up over shoulders. The hem may hike up as a result.

SOLUTION:

While wearing the muslin, cut across the upper back and release the tension. Fill in the wedge you’ve created with a piece of fabric and pin in place until the jacket feels comfortable and the wrinkles disappear.

Measure the amount added. Draw a line across the upper back at the same area you added the fabric. Cut the pattern across the line and rotate the  upper back up at the armhole until you have added the same amount. True the center back seam.

* Ensure changes are also transferred to lining pieces.

BACK TOO LOOSE

Jacket too loose in back // How to fit a Tailored jacket or Blazer // Fit adjustment issues and fixes

SYMPTOM: 

If the back of the jacket is too loose, vertical drag lines/wrinkles will appear above the waist. Some width is necessary here to make it comfortable to bend over and move your arms so be careful not to over fit.

SOLUTION:

Remove the collar from the muslin and start by taking in center back with pins, tapering towards the waist. If you still need to remove more width, take in the seam side on the back piece in a gentle curve. Measure the amounts removed and transfer to the back pattern piece. Note that if you take in center back seam, collars and stands will need to be adjusted as well.

* Ensure changes are also transferred to lining pieces.

BACK TOO TIGHT

Jacket too tight in back // How to fit a Tailored jacket or Blazer // Fit adjustment issues and fixes

SYMPTOM: 

If the back of the jacket is too tight, diagonal drag lines/wrinkles will appear radiating out from center back and the jacket will feel too snug from the neckline to the waist.

SOLUTION:

Remove the collar from the muslin and let out the center back seam, tapering towards the waist. You may or may not need to let out the neckline seam. If you do widen the jacket at the neck, note you will need to add the same amount of width to collars and stands.

Measure the amount added and transfer to the back pattern piece.

* Ensure changes are also transferred to lining pieces.

SQUARE SHOULDERS

Square shoulder adjustment // How to fit a Tailored jacket or Blazer // Fit adjustment issues and fixes

SYMPTOM: 

Ensure you are trying the muslin on with the shoulder pads. If you have square shoulders, you may notice wrinkles at the base of the collar across the back and towards the front. Alternatively, you may see diagonal drag lines radiating up from the armhole. This may be caused by using a shoulder pad that is too thick; if possible try a narrower shoulder pad to see if that helps.

SOLUTION:

Remove the sleeves from the muslin and let out the shoulder seam as needed. You need to make the shoulder seam less angled for this adjustment.

This adjustment adds length to the armscye; to keep the sleeve and arm opening the same, measure the amount of depth you added to the shoulder seam. Mark this amount above the armscye curve on the side panel and redraw the armscye with a higher curve so that the length of the arm opening does not change. If this makes the armhole too tight under your arm, leave the original armscye curve. To make up the added width, split the lower sleeve at the bottom notch and add the same amount of width you added to shoulder seam.

* Ensure changes are also transferred to lining pieces.

SLOPED SHOULDERS

Sloped shoulder adjustment // How to fit a Tailored jacket or Blazer // Fit adjustment issues and fixes

SYMPTOM: 

Ensure you are trying the muslin on with the shoulder pad in. If your shoulders are more sloped than the pattern, the shoulder seam and sleeve cap may stand higher than your actual shoulder. This will cause wrinkles/draglines below the shoulder and at the underarm.

SOLUTION:

The simplest fix for this is to use a thicker shoulder pad. If that does not correct the problem, remove the sleeve from the muslin and take in the shoulder seams as needed, tapering to nothing at neckline.

This adjustment shortens the armscye; to keep the sleeve and arm opening the same, measure the amount of depth you removed from the shoulder seam. Mark this amount below the armscye curve on the side panel and redraw the armscye with a lower curve so that the length of the arm opening does not change.

* Ensure changes are also transferred to lining pieces.

SHOULDERS TOO WIDE

Wide shoulder adjustment // How to fit a Tailored jacket or Blazer // Fit adjustment issues and fixes

SYMPTOM: 

If the shoulders are too wide for your frame, the sleeve seam will end too far from the natural end point of your shoulder. Vertical drag lines may appear at the shoulder area in front and back.

SOLUTION:

This is a simple adjustment. Simply remove the necessary width from the shoulder seam at front and back, tapering to nothing along the armscye. This should not substantially affect the length of the overall armscye, which means you should not have to adjust the sleeve after making this adjustment.

SHOULDERS TOO NARROW

Shoulders too narrow // How to fit a Tailored jacket or Blazer // Fit adjustment issues and fixes

SYMPTOM: 

If the shoulders are too narrow for your frame, the sleeve seam will sit too far in from the natural end point of your shoulder. The sleeves may feel uncomfortably tight at the top of the shoulders.

SOLUTION:

This is a simple adjustment. Simply add the necessary width along the shoulder seam at front and back, tapering to nothing along the armscye. This should not substantially affect the length of the overall armscye, which means you should not have to adjust the sleeve after making this adjustment.

FORWARD SHOULDER

Forward shoulder adjustment // How to fit a Tailored jacket or Blazer // Fit adjustment issues and fixes

SYMPTOM: 

If you have forward thrusting shoulders, the shoulder seam will pull towards the back at the top of the arm and diagonal wrinkles on the sleeve will point towards the front of the arm. You may see wrinkles at the back of the neck curving towards the shoulder seam. The sleeve will feel too tight at the top of the arm.

SOLUTION:

To correct this, you need to push the shoulder seam forward so that it hits at the center of your shoulder. Remove the sleeve from your muslin and release the shoulder seam. Take in the front shoulder tapering to nothing at neckline. Add the same amount you subtracted from the front shoulder to the back shoulder, shifting the width from front to back.

You may need to rotate the sleeve slightly so that the center notch of the top sleeve matches the new shoulder location.

SLEEVE WRINKLES

Sleeve wrinkles // How to fit a Tailored jacket or Blazer // Fit adjustment issues and fixes

SYMPTOM: 

If the curve of your upper arm and upper back does not match the pattern sleeve, diagonal wrinkles will appear on the front or back of the sleeve.

SOLUTION:

This is the simplest adjustment! Simply rotate the sleeve slightly in the armscye. You will need to redraw the center top notch on the sleeve and adjust the remaining sleeve notches accordingly.

FULL BICEP

Full bicep adjustment on two piece sleeve // How to fit a Tailored jacket or Blazer // Fit adjustment issues and fixes

SYMPTOM: 

Ideally you should have at least 1 1/2” of ease in the bicep. If the sleeve is too tight across the bicep, horizontal wrinkles will appear in between elbow and shoulder.

SOLUTION:

1. To add with through the bicep, draw two vertical lines parallel to grainline, dividing the sleeve into approximate thirds. Now draw a horizontal line across bicep area, perpendicular to grainline.

2. Cut up across the vertical lines, and across horizontal lines at the left and right side, leaving a small hinge on the outer seam and at the top of the sleeve.

3. Leaving the center portion where it is, rotate the top outer sections out until you have added the necessary width. Now rotate the lower outer portions in until the hems match at the bottom of the center portion. Tape pieces in place, fill in area with paper and true sleeve hem.