Where is ease permissible? pt.2

This is a follow up post to Where is ease permissible in which I asserted that most ease is unnecessary and invited readers to submit specific questions regarding their garments and products. As it was, I only got two responses which strikes me as odd; for as common as easing seems to be, interest in the topic was inversely proportional. Both people leaving comments are interested in suit making so their questions should be interpreted within that context. If you have questions about ease, it’s not to late to add your comments for a future post.

J C Sprowls writes:

So, when you say ‘overfitting’, do you mean that one runs the risk of making the garment too specific (height/weight, posture, attitude, etc)? Am I following the wavelength?

I’d say that “making the garment too specific” is a nice definition. Any other definitions out there? JC Sprowls continues:

I would be interested to see the tutorial on how you handle the turn of cloth on the pattern. Should I presume this means the upper- and under- collars are separate pattern pieces?

Yes, upper and under collars -especially on suits!- are two if not three separate pattern pieces. I have written about these allowances before describing it as “bend allowance” but I can’t seem to find that information (maybe it was in the forum). I remember it because Jinjer commented providing a mathematical descriptor that I thought was very appropriate. Perhaps she’ll see this and provide a link. Bend allowance or turn of cloth will always vary according to the weight and stiffness/fluidity of the fabric; it’s never static.

What is your opinion on inlays/outlays? Are these too confusing to present to a sewing contractor? I typically only see inlay added to the seat seam of trousers – every once in a great while I see 1/4″ added to the back trouser panel inseam. But, I have yet to see inlays in RTW jackets. Is there a practical reason to not add inlay to production patterns?

In response to this comment, I had to get clarification because I didn’t know what inlays/outlays were in the context that JC was using the term. Inlays -as I know them- can be seen on page 181-182 of my book but that’s not what he meant. He sent me a jpg of a suit pattern with these areas marked. Hence, I can describe these terms as arcane/archaic descriptions used in bespoke tailoring. Succinctly, inlays/outlays are seam allowances over and above the usual allowances; the intent of which are to permit alterations.

I’d encourage everyone to use terminology that is appropriate to the given audience (JC Sprowls was information gathering in bespoke forums) because sewing contractors won’t have a clue what inlays/outlays are. Rather, these are most commonly described as seam allowances. It is entirely appropriate in given product lines (better RTW) to have varying allowances -of both jackets and trousers- and most if not all pattern making books make these distinctions. In the latter, it is very common to have 1″ side seam allowances and what not. To manage atypical allowances, one will simply need to itemize them. There’s a form on page 139 of my book which you should use to specify the allowance of the affected seams.

As for my opinion, I’d say to use them appropriately. If the garment is bridge to designer level apparel, larger allowances would be appropriate. However, this practice shouldn’t be followed numbly. An example of this was the Ungaro I reviewed. This dress has 1″ seam allowances that were utterly useless. Owing to the styling of the skirt, it would have been impossible to make the skirt any larger (see the photos). Similarly, the torso portion of the dress was a blouson, very loose and unfitted. The need to have altered this dress in the bodice would have been highly unlikely. Therefore the extra large allowances were akin to following convention rather than any applied logic or necessity.

Then Thomas asked:

What is the correct amount of ease in the facing for a men’s coat to allow for the roll of the lapel? I’m making up the jackets in a 280 gram worsted -a relatively “tight”, hard fabric. Also, is it typical that the facing is cut with ease *below* the break point? For example I have a 2 button sport coat pattern that was made for me and matching the facing and front at the break point notch, there is a *generous* 1/4 inch of ease in the facing below the notches. Meanwhile, there is a scant 1/8 of ease in the facing above the break point. It seems to me that, if anything, the facing should be a tiny bit smaller than the coat front to ensure that the bottom of the jacket doesn’t curl out away from the body.

Okay, this is really two separate questions, or at least two separate answers. The first question is: “what is the correct amount of ease in the facing…to allow for the roll of the lapel”? That question I’m not answering in detail because it’s more complicated and I don’t know how many would follow it. Briefly, ease is not the solution for that roll. Rather, there is a dart taken up -and closed- so you won’t see it “proof” it’s there unless you examine and compare the front on what I’d describe as a forensic level. That’s a tricky maneuver :). If you care to attempt it (I don’t know that your pattern has it), you’ll find the closed dart at the shoulder line, close to the neckline juncture. It’d be a very complicated tutorial and I just don’t think there’s enough interest in the topic as to be worth developing it. There are more people who claim they’re doing “designer” or “couture” level quality than there really are :). It is a more complex task than most are willing to undertake once they discern the degree of difficulty at the pattern level.

Returning to your second question regarding the ease in that facing, there’s no nice way to say this but I don’t think the facing was made properly. I can see no justification for the facing being larger than the body so your instincts are correct. It is absurd. I have made up some sketches showing the correct way to generate the facing.

Using the body as the basis of the facing, your facing should be both larger and smaller than the body depending where it hits. An overview is below

As illustrated above, the facing should extend 1/8″ beyond the body of the coat after the collar notch and above the break point. This line is highlighted in pink. Below the break point, the facing is cut back 1/8″ smaller than the body of the coat (outlined in yellow).

In the sketch below, I’ve done a mini rendition of how to graduate the upper and lower shaping. Note that the break point forms the zero point and should match the coat exactly at that point.

In this sketch below, I’ve detailed the notch of the lapel. The notch that indicates the collar end is the zero point. From there out (until the midsection break point), the facing should be 1/8″ larger. By the way, none of these would be described technically as “ease”.

Thomas also states:

Some of the jackets made up with this pattern had a bubble on the front of the coat that emerged near the break point — but this doesn’t make sense to me either, because if there was too much ease in the facing, wouldn’t the bubble occur on the facing side of the coat?

Actually, I’ve seen both happen. If the underside is too large -and the fabric is tight and hard- the excess bunching on the underside can cause a bubble on the topside because often, the shell portion has been stretched to fit the too large facing. Once stretched, the excess from the underside can fill out the distortion on the top, creating a bubble. In fabrics that are softer, I’d expect to see what you said; that the underside would be more inclined to bubble or gather, if for no other reason than that the top side would be more easily stretched without “obvious” distortion (to the untrained eye).

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