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Food for thought

My experience with the two jacket muslins and the reactions in the comments have given me some food for thought on what I want to make and on the sizing issue. Carmen gave some in depth reaction about the fit in the back. She gave constructive criticism in a kind way, which I highly appreciated. Thank you Carmen.
About the style: I like the general style of the KwikSew pattern better, but agree fully that it is too boxy for me. A more fitted style will be better. The lines in the back of the second muslin are better, because they can be changed more easily than the KwikSew pattern, which only has a center back seam. Also I think that the classic motorcycle collar is to be preferred, though I like the collar in the second muslin too. Not for the fabric I plan to use though.
It will mean some mix and match.

And I’ve spent a lot of thoughts on the fit. Carmen said that if there was a problem with fit in my garments, usually the back is too large. I do remember having had a similar comment earlier and I had some issues in the back fitting department with the grey jacket I made this summer. There is a problem in the back more often now I look at it with different eyes. Tonight I compared my measurements taken a few months ago (and not changed significantly I think) with Burda’s size chart. In the past years I learned to look at the bust measurement that corresponds with my high bust measurement and do an fba. Often not giving the result I want. Burda gives a lot of other measurements too that other companies do not provide. The back width is one of them.

Now I checked my back width with the charts and to my great surprise my back width corresponds with a Burda size 34 (US 8), my full bust measurement is between 42 and 44!! In all my sewing life I simply never registered these measurements as being so different. Of course I know my back is narrow and I don’t have the average cup size. Just never thought of having a size 34 anywhere in my body (I'm tall and not skinny). I mostly use a size 40 for tops/jackets.  Which explains why the back of my garments is too large. The big question now is how to proceed if I want to make the back fitting better. Is it starting with a smaller size and doing a larger fba. Or is it using the size I’ve done till now and making it smaller in the back? I'm not (yet) ready for starting pattern drafting from scratch.

A few muslins to go, that’s for sure…


  1. Sigrid, those are great observations. I say use the smaller size for the back morphing into the shoulder and side seams of the front that would fit you better. I am anxious to see how you work this all out.

  2. How is your shoulder width compared to the 34. If you are a larger size at the shoulders, but narrower on the back you may want to alter down from the fitting shoulder size. There should be 'narrow back' alterations in the more comprehensive books. I could look up if you would like?

  3. Sigrid, I discovered similar issues when I realized it's not always correct to use circumference measurements. Size 42 could read the same numbers for a person with a broad back and less bust! When your FBA's don't work well, think of it differently: if your back is size 34, the average 42, perhaps you need the space of size 46 on the front. This will have implications for the shoulder size on front and back too. The best information I found is in Joi Mahon's Craftsy class, Fast track fitting. It was of great use to me!

  4. Hi Sigrid, interesting follow up from Carmen's comments. Using a smaller starting size will also make the neck opening smaller. I think that might flatter you more too. Interesting to see how it goes.

  5. Sigrid, what about an experiment??? You send me your measurements and I draft you on PatternMaker7 a bodice pattern and make the correction I told you about. You could try to see how it works and which are the substantial differences with the patterns you use. I would like to know if the theory is correct. I shall send you approx 15 pages you have to tape together

  6. Stupid iPhone. If you agree, we could do this after Christmas. I am very busy on my work with an appeal in court and a short deadline.
    I shall send you the list of the measurements I need and my email address if you agree. Good luck! Carmen

  7. This monitoring also gave me to think .... I often have the opposite problem ... back is usually small and cause problems with adjusting sleeves ... I follow your posts with interest!

  8. Oh, I know a blogger who sewed a smaller size back than her front.I think my Singer Sewing Reference has an adjustment for a narrow back too. But, considering the difference, I will agree with Bunny's suggestion.

  9. I have come to a similar conclusion about myself. The patterns that fit me the best are Style Arc and I don't make any adjustments except for the shoudlers. But I think I need to make a FBA on the front and consider making the back a little narrower. The side seams always pull to the front. I agree with Bunny's suggestion - and I look forward to seeing what you choose.

  10. You can sew a smaller size on the back than on the front. You may have to switch between sizes on the sleeve cap, but that's not difficult.

    I have the same problem as my front is very full, but my back is not. The backs of my jackets and shirts are always too big.

    I just made KS3764 and found that not only is it too boxy, it's also too long for my frame. I'll be following your progress with interest.

  11. Oh my! You and Carmen may have opened up a can of worms! It might indeed be one of my new fitting problem and I will follow this discussion closely.

  12. A very interesting analysis, Sigrid. You're absolutely right about all the extra measurements that Burda go to the effort of providing, but I so rarely use them all myself. I guess one of the difficulties is taking accurate measurements and the back area is the hardest without a sewing buddy. I'm meeting some sewing friends in early January and I'm going to ask them to take full measurements on me so that I can compare. Incidentally, the line drawing for the moto jacket in January Burda looks very interesting - plenty of seams on the back for adjustment!

  13. So interesting! I recently took a look at a friend's jacket and noticed that the back seemed too wide and needed to be taken in, even though other areas fit fine. Thank you for sharing your observations.

  14. I've just been taking a Craftsy class taught by Joi Mahon called "Fast-Track Fitting". She teaches to totally treat your front and back independently.

  15. Hi Sigrid, I really like that Knip Mode pattern with so many interesting style lines and love how it emphasizes your waist. It will be a wonderful jacket!

    I don't know if this helps but it is quite easy to reduce the measurement across the back from armhole to armhole. Doing so will normally make the armhole more scooped in back (unless you are also taking in the side seams). I have noticed from drafting bodices that the larger the cup size in proportion to the shoulders, that a more deeply scooped back armhole (and sometimes front armhole, too) often occurs. Hope that contributes!

  16. You are to be commended for your patience. No doubt, when the muslins are to your satisfaction, the finished product will be spectacular. Hang in there. It's well worth all the hard work.


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