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Pattern Insights - Loose Fit Shirt

Monday, May 04, 2015

This week I've showcased #PatternInsights, where I share the light bulb moments in my pattern making career.  In this shirt pattern development I'm sharing two pattern making moves that early in my career caused me some anxiety.  Anxiety caused by a lack of information and training.  Thank heaven for my hero Natalie Bray!  I am sharing the pattern moves needed to turn my basic fitted (dress) block into a loose-fit block and a basic set of moves to draft a gauntlet placket for a classic shirt sleeve.

In the photos below, my fitted block is featured on the left and the fitted shirt made from this block is on the right.  The question is, how do you take the fitted block with all it's darts and shaping and turn it into a loose fit block.

Fitted Block to Fitted Shirt

Well it's all about how you deal with the darts.  Primarily the bust dart in the front block.  In this example I am sending a small amount of the bust dart into the front armhole to relax the fit.  The balance of the bust dart is sent through to the hem.  If you are aiming for a slimmer fit than this example you could easily send the balance of the bust dart to an underarm dart position. 

In the back block it is only the shoulder dart that we have to eliminate.  In this case I am sending the shoulder dart into the yoke seam to maintain the fit over the shoulder blade.  If you would prefer no yoke seam, the shoulder dart can be sent through the hem.  However this will give you a full hem.  You are always aiming to have a similar amount of fullness added to the front and back hemlines.  If you would prefer a slim fit through the back, the shoulder dart can be eliminated/ignored, and the extra shoulder length absorbed in the extended shoulder line.  It is a slightly less refined fit but it is doable.

When you extend the shoulder line, to relax the armhole fit, you will need to remove the same amount from the top of the sleeve head.  For the relaxed fit armhole you will also need to drop the underarm point and add extra garment ease at the side seam.  Make the corresponding moves to the underarm point of the sleeve.

Two different lengths are indicated on this pattern plan to suit a variety of garment types.  The cuff-end of the sleeve has been slightly narrowed and tucks added to fit it into a conventional folded cuff.

Loose Shirt Sewing Pattern

The pattern pieces set out below are for the loose fit shirt.  I have added the conventional pattern pieces for the collar, pocket, cuff, placket and hanging loop.  If you are making a block rather than this specific pattern you would end up with only three pattern pieces.  The front, the back and the sleeve without any style or design references.

Pattern Plan Loose Shirt

Now for the gauntlet placket.  Unlike the continuous sleeve placket, the gauntlet placket has two pattern pieces.  The larger pattern that makes up the dominant feature in this garment detail and the smaller bind pattern to finish the other side of the placket cut.  The method I have used here is by no means the only way to draft or construct the gauntlet placket.  I have seen many variations.  This is simply the the method I understand best and use in my commercial practice.  The instructions are on the diagram.  Let me know if you have any questions in the comments section below.

Gauntlet Shirt Placket

Now all this post needs is for one of our enthusiastic sewers to make a  photo tutorial about sewing the gauntlet placket.  Any takers?  ;)

Addendum:  Hoorah! SewNipTuck has a detailed placket tutorial.

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Anonymous commented on 04-May-2015 11:35 PM
How timely! I've been working on a draft for an oversized buttondown shirt. Because of the dropped shoulder, I found there was a lot of excess fabric around the shoulder blades, so I was considering "scooping out" the back armscye a little to remove some of that fabric. It looked much better when it was pinned out but it resulted in a much more deeply curved armscye then I'm used to seeing. I'm wondering if it's fine as is and whether or not messing with that armscye shape is technically correct or not.
Anonymous commented on 05-May-2015 01:14 PM
Hi Heather, thanks for dropping by. With this loose fit shirt I am looking to get some drape directly off the shoulder point so an over shaped armhole would not work. All curves (armhole and sleeve head) need to be flatter. The only adjustment I have ever made to the back armhole in a fitting for a loose shirt is to increase the amount of shaping in the yoke seam (initial shaping has come from the back shoulder dart). This will reduce the overall length of the back armhole but barely change the curve. I am hoping this all makes sense. :)
Anonymous commented on 10-May-2015 09:29 AM
Hi Anita, this is a great resource thanks, I'll repost for sure. A while ago I did a tower placket tutorial with pics. It looks like it would work with your 'gauntlet' pattern, in fact if you can see any differences I'm interested to know? I can see you have a 45degree angle at the top of the placket.
Anonymous commented on 10-May-2015 10:53 AM
Hey Leslie, thanks for dropping by the blog. I think your version is pretty much the same as mine. Small difference in shape but end result the same. That is a wonderful placket tutorial and I would like to link it in the post. And you blog looks fantastic! Love the layout and sense of scale you have achieved. Now I'm going back to read all your wonderful posts. You really are a bit of a wordsmith my love! :)
Nkechi commented on 17-Nov-2015 12:47 AM
Hello thanks for this tutorials. but can you please help me to explain basic sleeve and armhole measurement and cutting? it really giving me tough time here.
Anita commented on 17-Nov-2015 09:28 AM
Hi Nkechi, thanks for dropping by. Sleeves and armholes are often seen as one of the most difficult areas in pattern making. What I know about measurement is that the sleeve head is always a little bigger than the armhole it sews into. That extra is called ease and is worked into the head of the sleeve when it is sewn into the armhole. For all patterns and blocks it is important to 'walk' (measure) the sleeve head into the armhole to check how much ease you have to work with. The maximum ease in the sleeve head in production garments is 2cm. The factories would prefer less where possible. The loose shirt above is ok with very little or no ease but a tailored shirt will need 1.5-2cm ease. Hope this helps. Let me know if you have any questions. :)

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All images, designs, photos and layouts on this blog are created and owned by Anita McAdam© of Studio Faro. They are available FOR HOME AND PERSONAL USE ONLY.  If you would like to use our content for teaching or commercial purposes please ask.  I have some amazing resources for teachers and manufacturers. ;) enquiries@studiofaro.com

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