Pop Quiz #470

Here is the side view of a jacket I recently bought at Chico’s. See anything wrong with it? Make special note of those sleeves and how they hang. I’ll bet it looks just fine, downright dandy from this side view:

You’ll note the sleeves are not perpendicular. Normally, this is a good thing (it is not good if the sleeves hang aligned with the side seam in tailored goods). The problem is, it’s the front of the jacket that’s facing out; those sleeves are sewn in backwards! Here’s a photo from the front. Can you see those sleeves swinging back? It’s more noticeable on the right.

It always amazes me that a manufacturer can sew their sleeves in backwards. I don’t understand how they manage that. I suppose I could open the jacket and check the armhole notches but I’m thinking of returning this. How could nobody not notice?

Another annoyance (irrelevant): The front comprises three pieces; a center front panel, a middle front panel and a side front panel (piece naming conventions). None of them have any curvature to them. The pieces are flat. Pray tell me, what was the purpose of cutting this many pieces without some fitting curvature to them?

Speaking of manufacturers sewing their sleeves in backwards, here’s a real prize. I laughed out loud. Can you see those seams (typical of suit sleeves) from the front (larger view)? And this is a hoity toity self-described couture designer. I don’t remember who sent me the link to this site, lauding the talent of the designer but all I could see were these sleeves. And by the way, all of the jackets on that site had sleeves like this.

So, the challenge of the day boys and girls, is to come up with the most likely correction for this problem. Bonus points awarded for a complete solution, meaning the prevention of this in process and operations. It is not cheating if you consult pg. 177 of The Entrepreneur’s Guide. You don’t need to know everything, you just need to know where to find the answers.

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  1. Kathleen says:

    Side note: The designer of the above jackets also had yokes running at a 135 degree angle to the center front and they didn’t match to a point. That always annoys me too. Complain complain, I’m such a baby. What doesn’t annoy me? Actually, what annoys me is people who put out stuff like this whilst proclaiming they’re the greatest thing since sliced bread. And it’s not to say we -or couturiers- don’t make mistakes but we shouldn’t put them up on our websites. Minimally, it could lead competitors to think one is a target for knock off. It wouldn’t take much to repair the problems and beat the designer at her own game. That’s how DEs get copied and there’s little that annoys me more than that.

  2. Dalila says:

    I think you should return it!
    Unless you really like the style and all the jackets have backward sleeves. If you can get one that is correct, then I think you should!

  3. Kathleen says:

    I don’t know. It matches my hat perfectly -and I do like velvet. If I didn’t have it, I’d have to have something else presentable and there’s not a lot to pick from. Heaven forbid I actually make something myself! I kid, I kid.

    Face it, I just like to complain ~sigh~ but still, I never claimed to be an apologist for the apparel industry. I just want manufacturers to make nice stuff.

  4. Todd Hudson says:

    In order to prevent backwards sleeve insertion, put a single notch at the front pitch area and then put a double notch around the back pitch area. These need to match respective notches the body exactly. The front pitch is about 2″+ up forward of the bottom pit of the armhole. The back pitch can be about 3″+ back. Those pitch points need to be different distances from the bottom pitch so when the sewer lines up the goods, they can see right away that the notches won’t match. Even if you don’t use double notches on the back pitch, offsetting the front and back notches by at least 1/2 inch or more will help prevent mismatched goods.

    Other notches you should include to match the sleeve to the body include the bottom pit of the armhole and the shoulder seam.

    Considering the luck that Kathleen has with purchases, if she buys you a gift, you better get a gift receipt.

  5. Marie-Christine says:

    Well, you could always take the sleeves out and put them back in the right way :-). But would it be worth the annoyance? If it was me I’d return this one and make myself a perfect one instead, it’d a bit more same time and less hassle and much less grumping.

    But it’s a lot easier to say that while idly eyeing other people’s blogs and not actually sitting at the machine finishing the jacket I have in the works :-).

    No wait, it’d be worth it for you to go back to the store, see whether they have one with the sleeves put in correctly, and swap. This may be a one-off mistake, rather than a whole production run screwed up. Although you’re probably right to assume it’s not, you’d know that a lot better than the rest of us..

  6. Shirley says:

    I bet those sleeves were notched and sewn in “correctly”. My guess is that the patternmaker did not draft proper sleeves/armholes for that style jacket, and nobody caught it in the development stage. The front armhole needs to be scooped deeper than the back. I bet if you carefully folded a sleeve in half, you would find that the armhole curves are close to being even! I find this problem with so many things I try on in dressing rooms. I refuse to buy them. I guess that’s why my closet is pretty empty. Let us know what you find out…

  7. J C Sprowls says:

    Ha! Actually, it’s not that funny. I remember it happening to me when I was a student. But, to see that it happens in a production facility is a little startling.

    To add to Todd’s point re: notching (I use 3″ FP and 3 1/2″ & 4″ BP, respectively). But, I also think the patternmaker needs to consider how the goods will be spread & cut. I feel that high-calibre goods require high-calibre processes and handling.

    To that end, I only spread face-up, one direction. And, my patterns are cut on the single, not 2-per. So, I have R and L sleeves, R and L fronts (different, anyway) and my lining pieces are appropriate to the direction the vent lays (women are always Right and men are simply Left-over!).

    Now, if I could just find the green-backed oaktag in a 3X weight I’d be happy. In the meantime, I’ll continue to use the 2X generic stuff w/ a big X (same color ink as used on the front) on the back.

    PS: I also use distinct PN on my R and L pieces. I don’t know if this is a standard convention. But, it certainly makes the cut plan and marker making easier.

  8. Kathleen says:

    Double notches should always be used on the back of the sleeve. Also, I don’t think 2″ up is far enough. 3″ for the front and then 3.5″ and 4″ for the back. And yes, if it’s a suit sleeve, one at the pit. All sleeves take one at the shoulder.

    I thought you only shopped at used clothing stores?
    Used clothes shopping is poor in Las Cruces, El Paso is great only I don’t live there anymore. Besides, I had to be “presentable”. I needed it to judge in a contest and it’s one thing to embarrass myself, representing myself, but another thing entirely to embarrass my host and dress shabbily. I think that’s rude. I know some people say you should always be yourself but I don’t want my host to lose face and regret having invited me.

    To that end, I only spread face-up, one direction.
    JC, unless you’ve got a match stripe or pattern, cutting in one direction is wasteful. Forget excess costs, it wastes goods.

    I also use distinct PN on my R and L pieces. I don’t know if this is a standard convention.

    I don’t know if it is either. I know that it wasn’t done wherever I’ve worked tho.

  9. Timo Rissanen says:

    “Another annoyance (germane): The front comprises three pieces; a center front panel, a middle front panel and a side front panel (piece naming conventions). None of them have any curvature to them. The pieces are flat. Pray tell me, what was the purpose of cutting this many pieces without some fitting curvature to them?”

    A wild guess: The patternmaker had a photo from the net or a magazine to go by, and was feeling lazy. Afterwards everyone else (particularly the designer) was feeling lazy, too. Another variation of this kind of laziness, in my humble opinion, are garments with a princess seam, with a bust dart coming from the side seam, pointing out the existence of the princess seam (and some serious laziness).

    Thank you for posting these. They remind me of those clay models Bernard Rudofsky made, of the human body and what it would look like if it actually filled the silhouettes of various periods.

  10. Timo Rissanen says:

    But I do love the fabric, and if you can rectify the problem by swapping the sleeves around (though, as some have pointed out, I suspect there are demons in the armholes, too), then go for it.

  11. laurra says:

    I remember my sewing sints in New York where we would shift the sleeve 1/2 inch back, this forces the sleeve forward. Kind of a cheater method but have since learned how to draft a decent sleeve from reading all the Incubators posts,vintage books
    I am not sure about this but when you see a man wearing a suite coat the coat rides or hikes up in the back neck I believe this is bad sleeve designing too. laurra

  12. Dana says:

    Not only should you send that Chico’s jacket back but you should pack it up and send it directly to the VP of Product Development with a copy of this post! I can get the person’s name if you want it. I know one of their Board members.

  13. Rita Yussoupova says:

    Cut off the sleeves !!!! LOL

    I wonder if there is a Website where you can go and expose garments like this one and mention brand /label.

  14. Beth Laske-Miller says:

    I LOVE . “You don’t need to know everything, you just need to know where to find the answers.” I have the most difficult time explaining this to people. I may not be able to draft the perfect 17th century sleeve from memory, but I certainly know where to find it, and it’s in my library :) I think it was Einstein who said (paraphrasing) I refuse to commit to memory anything I can easily look up.

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