What Makes a Jacket ROCK!     

#1   vision becomes plan...


Every good design starts with a plan.  The biggest challenge in fitting 600 bank managers (!) was proportion and comfort.  Starting with the shoulders, we shaped each dress form for round, square, wide & narrow.    Shape shoulders on the dress form!               

#2  shoulders...the anchor of your jacket.

                  #1 Match the shoulder slant and shoulder width...the shoulders will be the anchor for your fabric.                   

  #2 Cut the back pattern piece to cover the shoulder (the back shoulder piece is longer than  the front).  Add 3/8 inch ease at the back shoulder, for extreme comfort and movement...  (tiny gathers).  The gathers are invisible when pressed. Like this...

If your pattern does not have a wider and longer back shoulder piece,  slice your pattern and spread it 3/8".  Like this...

#3 upper chest and bust...for movement.

Check your movement areas.  You can give your pattern a little push by adding a tiny curve at the underarm.  (see pattern piece below).  And...Gotta do this fitting with the right shoulder pad in place.          

  #1 match your shoulder on the dress form, #2 fit the body with the shoulder pad placed.


armhole position...

The armhole on a classic jacket is lower and wider than a skinny jacket.   The opening is shaped like an egg tipped slightly forward.  The armhole follows the shape of the arm.     Here's what it looks like...

If you find the sleeves are pulling...#1 raise the armhole position, (picture #2)  Ease the back sleeve seam above and below the exact vertical elbow position.  (#3) below

Whatever you add (or subtract) to the arm hole...add (or subtract) the same amount to the sleeve.     

 Try your jacket several ways...just see the options for the fit.      

Check the elbow and shoulder position by bending the flexible arms on your dress form; matching your elbow position. Just a sneak preview of shoulders and sleeves...do not miss how easy this is.  Coming next.  Almost all sleeve problems are blamed on the back upper arms of the sleeve.  Here's the deal.  Once the bodice is balanced, and the sleeve is contoured at the upper arm and elbow for movement...you are looking at jackets re-created into infinity...each one set for dancing all night!  


waist and hip position...

Vertical darts on the bodice at the waist will give you lots of room to play and make changes in the silhouette.  Be sure to match all of your own vertical positions on your dress form: bust, waist and hipline.


grainlines & pressure points.

The blue dots on the pattern represent areas of movement: at the shoulder. the underarm, across the back. bust. and elbow.  Notice how the back pattern center seam is slightly contoured for extreme movement in this jacket.  Every movement area has a seam that can be easily adjusted for silhouette.

The back sleeve is slightly eased above and below the elbow point.


as always, keep the grainline straight...

1. Match the vertical bust, waist and hip points on your jacket

2. Give all pressure ;points (movements areas), ease or extra fabric 

3. Push the pattern a tiny bit by giving it an extra "hook" under the arm at the sleeve for extra movement.  You'll never see it on the body.

possibilities are endless...

Make it easy, and start the fitting process  with the body frame for the dress form you are  working on.  Much easier to turn a Men's Dress Form into a Fabulous Drag Queen Dress Form; which translates to lots and lots of clothes!
Whatever the project...whatever the fit...Start by matching your body frame and shape on the dress form.  

same pattern...slight changes...


  • Match the body frame and build it out
    (you will have no trouble finding the fit that gives you the freedom to move when you match the pressure points on your dress form )
  • It works for all sizes;  if you have...
    (Size 8 women's dress form measurements, but much wider shoulders?  Check Size 36 Men's Dress Form, and shape it with the Fitting System.  


Fabulous Fit®

Jill Ralstom

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