The following is an excerpt from an email I got, taken somewhat out of context. By that I mean this person shouldn’t consider this entry a criticism or that it has anything to do with their specific problem. I just thought it’d make a useful short entry for other people who may have a similar question. Speaking of short, I’ll be out of sorts this week. I’m going out of town Wed-Fri so posting will be scanty to non-existent.
The jacket and hoodie are tight in arms and around circumference. Does being tight around the arm and circumference constitute a major pattern revision? Does adjustment mean a NEW pattern?
Unfortunately, this can mean a new pattern -with qualifiers- if you define “new pattern” as the number of new pieces that need to be made with respect to total piece count. In any event, I would consider it a major revision. In this case, the style is a hoodie. It has a sleeve, front, back and hood. Of these, all but the hood will need to be recut for the pattern correction. The reason is, usually, increasing the armhole girth, means having to increase the girth of the front and back at the side seam because that extra fabric needed in the sleeve has got to sew to someplace where it meets the body. If it is a slight adjustment, it’s possible the difference could be encompassed by reshaping the armhole itself. For a knit product like this, it’s usually done at the base of the armhole on the side seams of the front and back body. In sum, this could be seen as a “new” pattern considering 75% of the pieces need to be remade.
If this were a more complicated product, say a jacket with a suit sleeve (top sleeve and under sleeve), perhaps with a lining, the changes are still substantive even if there’s a lot more of the other pieces so it really isn’t fair to determine newness based on the total number of pieces that need changing. For a product like this, the pieces that would need adjustment are front (or just a side front depending where the seam cuts into the armhole if at all), the linings of both, the back pieces (ditto of the side back panel if applicable), back linings, top sleeve, under sleeve, and again, the linings of both sleeve parts.
With this, maybe you can see that changing the sleeve girth is a bit more involved that it would appear. An additional complication is that the garment would need refitting and perhaps require yet another round of fitting and pattern alteration. The reason is, it is usually a problem fitting a garment that is too small because you really can’t tell by how too small it is. If possible, it’s better to fit a garment that is too big. In other words, once that armhole girth is corrected, other problems may rear their ugly heads. It could be the body is then too big meaning the excess needs to be tapered out of the waist or darting added or amended to slim the silhouette.
Still -another caveat- returning to the example of the hoodie, if the pattern maker has a CAD system, this is a pretty simple fix and doesn’t take much time. If the pattern is made by hand, it’s considerably more work because each piece must be cut out all over again and you really don’t save much time over all. And lastly, speaking as hand pattern maker (for the most part) this adjustment is one of my least favorite things to do. Perhaps I’m unlucky but it seems that once the sleeve is corrected, the additional fullness provided allows other fitting issues to become apparent. Like I said, this correction is never fun, particularly with suit sleeves (what I usually make) but that’s a story for another day.