Pop Quiz #477

Some friends I have in another sewing venue had a problem fitting a commercial (home sewing) pattern that I agreed to analyze with the caveat that I wouldn’t be linking to anyone nor mentioning parties by name. If you know the source of which I speak, feel free to comment but refrain from identifying anyone through words or linking because I have no wish to embarrass anyone. As it is, these are problems I see in RTW all the time and it annoys me. As usual, I have already worked out what I consider to be the problem (and solution) but I’ve decided to post it in this format to see what you all pick up.

The scenario:
Several women bought a blouse pattern that is specifically designed for various cup sizes. It comes in regular and plus sizes. Having difficulty, the women who bought it began to compare notes and photos in an attempt to analyze the reasons for the fitting problems they were having. One of the women sent me the pattern, portions of which I digitized for illustration purposes. Others supplied photos of their results. While they had several complaints, what I considered to be the problems differed from theirs (I’m curious to see if you agree with me or them). Based on this photo (below) of a typical result (stunning that all the photos from many different bodies performed the same way!), my immediate impression was that the yoke was made improperly. I see this problem in RTW all the time, hence the reason I post this.

I’ve given you half the answer. The yoke was made improperly so please explain in what way the yoke was poorly made. For the purposes of comparison, here is a yoked shirt from a pattern I made that doesn’t have the problem -as I define it. Other than the collar and neckline, these styles are very similar.

Here is a side view of the former example to help you discern what else may be going on with this style.

Below is a view of the back. The only hint I’ll give you with this one is that other than an improperly made yoke which carries over onto the back, I’m looking for one glaring issue that’s largely only visible from the back and the side view above this one.

Please do your best at identifying these problems although I know you can’t really be certain without looking at the pattern. One last hint I will reiterate. I realize that there is a great deal of variation in how patterns and garments will fit different bodies but every photo I saw showed what I consider to be the same key deficits. In my opinion, there are two key problems which contribute to the creation of a third. There is a hierarchy to these things if that makes any sense. Lastly, there is a problem you can’t possibly see without the pattern and it is related to how the style was graded. I’ll explain that in the third post.

Pop Quiz #477: Why the shirt fits badly
Pop Quiz 477: Plus size grading

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  1. victoria kathrein says:

    1. I think the yoke’s intention was to take out some of the bust dart. It is placed too high above bust point to do that.

    2. Same in the back. The yoke was suppose to take out the small soulder dart but is placed to low on the bodice.

    3. Armhole might be goofy. Too much in the shoulder and not low enough in the armhole. Perhaps some of the bust dart needed to go into the armhole?

    4. Not enough circumference around the bust area.


  2. Emily says:

    I would say from the front that there is not enough ease across the yoke but judging from the back I’m thinking it’s probably to do with the armscye. Looks wonky although the sleeve hangs nicely.

  3. Barb Mas says:

    I also think the bottom of the armscye may not be correct. It also looks like the they allowed extra width for the bust cup size but not extra length? It’s a shame because I commend the designer for at least trying to accommodate different bust sizes.

  4. dosfashionistas says:

    I’m going to post this and then go back and read what everyone else is seeing.

    First and virtually causing the rest of it would be the yoke. The front yoke needs to be dropped drastically and both the front and back yoke need the proper shape. When the front yoke is dropped, it will need to be refitted because it will then ride over the bust point, and yours does, Kathleen.

    Second, there is not nearly enough room for the bust, let alone for different cup sizes. Probably enough width in back, but not in front.

    Third, it looks as though the armhole needs reshaping and possibly lowering. I would assume this would take a shirt type armseye and a sleeve with a shortened cap. But the fit isn’t right for either that or a fitted sleeve. The sleeve needs some work too.

    Now I’m going to go read and find out what I didn’t see.

  5. Helen says:

    The yoke doesn’t cross at the bust point; the yoke isn’t shaped to incorporate the nonexistent bust dart.
    The scye looks to be poorly shaped and too large.
    I bet there’s “ease” in the sleeve cap.
    The princess seams (?) are set too wide at the front and doing who-knows-what at the back.
    There is too much fabric where the back of the sleeve meets the back yoke edge. Seems like a strange place for a dart, so this could definitely be shaped out.

    And now I’m done complaining.

  6. oliviacw says:

    The critical thing I see is that the front and back yokes are cut so that their lower edge is parallel to the floor – when the pieces are lying flat. However, the human body curves out in the middle (especially, for most women, in the front!), so that the sides of the yoke pieces curve down when the shirt is being worn. They need to be cut to go around the curves, not over. That’s what’s causing the pulling from shoulder to the bottom of the armscye. The yoke seam should be parallel to the floor – and the same distance from it – all the way around the body when worn. (At least for this style).

    The back could also use better shaping – even though it has princess seaming, it doesn’t seem to be accomplishing much.

  7. ShannonG says:

    To my eye, the shoulder slope of the garment does not match the wearer. I’m also curious about the draft of the sleeve cap. Is it a flattened “sport” sleeve, or is it intended to have height?
    The yoke shape is just weird. If it is intended to provide shape for the wearer, the location of the front horizontal seam is poor. If it is totally stylistic, why does the yoke extend under the arm? That curve opens up several possibilities for user error.

  8. ClaireM says:

    It almost looks like the yoke has been reversed, ie. what is the front of the yoke should actually be the the back. This would then mean the back of the blouse would be more or less the same length as the front?!

  9. waldor says:

    The light blue blouse appears to fit fairly well, all things considered. I don’t think the front yoke seam is supposed to run across the bust points, though.

    The dark blue blouse has more issues. 1) It does not fit in the armscye area because the extremely sloping shoulders were not taken into account. I have the same shape through the shoulders, hence the old adage “You spot it, you got it”. That pattern needs major alteration for her body before cutting the fabric. 2) The back yoke is drafted entirely too low. 3) The center front area is too short – a common complaint I have heard about the larger cup sizes in this line of pattern.

  10. I would say that the shoulder slope is off. Its pulling from the front shoulder. If the shoulder/armhole point is raised about 1/4″-1/2″, then it would lay properly without pulling. This could also take away some of the pulling in the back, but I would also say that the back armhole is too flat on the body of the shirt.

  11. Ingrid Betts says:

    I hope I don’t blow it on my first post but here goes: The yoke appears off grain which might account for the unattractive join especially in the back with the lower part of the blouse. The princess seams should have started at the shoulder to take up some of the slack in the front yoke but that may be too messy a design. There needs to be more room in the high bust seam and a smaller armscye. It seems to fit nice over the apex of the bust but not anywhere else. The princess seams are too wide to do anything. If the yoke and sleeves were removed it might work as a strapless…

  12. Carol in Denver says:

    For the question about what’s wrong with the yoke in front — I’ll bet if you opened the horizontal yolk seam (leaving the rest of the garment intact), gaps would open up and tell you there is insufficient length and also insufficient width in the front yolk piece. That’s what is causing the “drag lines”.
    For other problems in front view — the front princess seams are not going over the bust point for this model. Width needs to be moved from center front pieces onto side front pieces. Then you can make shaping incorporated in front princess seam do its job. In opposition to previous statement though, there needs to be a little more width from center front line to princess seam — see the gaposis/monoboob fitting across the front at the bust line?
    For the rest of the problems with the side and back views — I’m waiting with bated breath to find out the fixes, because these could be pictures of me in virtually every commercial pattern I’ve every tried, including those from the leading marketer of multi-cup size patterns. I’ve never been able to figure out what’s going on with simultaneously too much and too little fabric in the back.
    Oh, and I hate the sticking-out sleeve profile — I want a sleeve that follows the arm like in Kathleen’s version.

  13. Liron says:

    I agree with most of the comments about the yoke being placed too high, instead of being over the bust.

    The armhole needs some “shaving”.

    the shoulder line is a bit too long.

    Too much extra fabric in the lower shirt piece.

  14. Judy says:

    I’m going to start with the back yoke – it’s way way to long. The yoke should incorporate any shoulder darts needed to help shape over the shoulder blades. This is coming way down to the bottom of the armhole past where you would put in any shaping. The front, from the side view, the yoke slopes down, again way into the lower armhole, I think from a side view it should be horizontal. I suppose the length of the yoke can be a design issue, but where it is located just doesn’t allow for much shaping and incorporation of darts into the seams.

    The shirt does not look balanced at all, too long yoke in back, too short in front.

  15. Leslie says:

    Okay, here is my two-cents worth:
    1. Too short front yoke/too long back yoke – if the yoke is that short shouldn’t the horizontal seam bisect the armhole? Removing the yoke under the armhole would solve a couple of problems I think.
    2. Shoulder slope or the armhole shape or lack of depth is causing the shoulder to pull down. But again, is the shape of the yoke causing that pulling?
    3. Back waist length is too long, which may be caused by the back yoke length.

  16. Sandra B says:

    The problem starts with the front neck being too narrow, which is pushing the upper chest area off the shoulders and downwards. If the shoulder seam was released and the fabric smoothed up from the yoke seam it would be about 5/8th narrower than the back neck. The shoulder seam would then need lengthening to match(and the angle possibly adjusted), which would mean the armhole would need reshaping.

    The glaring issue is that the back armhole is too short, vertically, There isn’t enough length to lie smoothly over the upper back, so it is pulling under the armpits at the back, and the pulling is making the CB swing outwards. If the back yoke seam was released and the fabric smoothed sideways, the armhole/ side seam corner would be lying on her back arm, not following the arm/body join.

    The front panels need extra length above the bust.

    The sleeve head is too flat for the intended ease of the blouse, it should be a higher cap on a blouse with this close a fit.

  17. Pat says:

    The Blue Shits seems ok, the line on the breast is a design decision, and so I won’t give an opinion about it. The larger size shirt seems to be a different pattern with too many faults; offhand I would guess that sizing has been the problem.

  18. Brenda says:

    I’m plus-sized and the front of this blouse would not give me problems – the back is another story. This blouse would give my DIL lots of problems as she is very full busted. Unless you grade in extra fabric in the lower portion of the blouse – no idea of how to do this, the style will cut across the top of the bust. In your blouse it looks as if you lowered the yoke to cut across the center of the bust, adding fullness where it is needed. Your design allows for the garment to flow across the front of the bust. The original design’s yoke cut across the top of the bust – sort of a tourniquet across the top. Result: uncomfortable, unsightly and would give the bust an unnatural shape.

    The back – this blouse would ride down in the back and pull up in the front. The arms are full and the sleeve is too narrow. You need to add in a bit extra on the yoke at the back sleeve > something like that. For my arms I add straight across the back yoke. Also I add in extra width at the sleeve seam line because the bulk of my arm width is under the arm. If a dowager’s hump is involved, you need to take in a bit at the back neck.

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