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Armhole: How deep do you cut it and what shape is best?


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#37 jcsprowls

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Posted 18 May 2009 - 02:58 PM

I would be equally frustrated.

The concept of using try-on coats only works if those are representative of the stock patterns hanging on the rails at the cut & sew facility.

Manipulating the patterns appears to add more layer of problems. Does the option exist to study that facility's patternmaking conventions and create the 1st pattern, yourself?

Then, again, maybe it's time to explore opening your own contract sewing facility. Steal one or two of their best employees and re-train them.
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#38 Schneidergott

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Posted 19 May 2009 - 05:46 AM

Manipulating the patterns appears to add more layer of problems. Does the option exist to study that facility's patternmaking conventions and create the 1st pattern, yourself?


As exiting as that could be it would mean starting again from scratch with a new pattern. Overall, the quality we get from them is not bad, but it is not outstanding either. Just what you would get from any other company offering MTM. It's just the lack of attention for details on both sides that is frustrating. A better training of the staff should be possible, especially since the companies would benefit from that as well a lot. Sleeve cap height and armhole depth should be easy to adjust, plus a few other things which would really make a better garment.
Sadly I'm not in the position to take initiative, and like I said before, my superior will never call for extra work. Plus she may not have enough special knowledge about pattern drafting for men anyway, so she would have to show her weakness.
I could go down to the small sewing company to provide as much help as I can give, if only telling them what we have to struggle with when dealing with their garments. Like I said, lack of communication. In their case it would be a more private talk from one tailor to another. I think I could convince them to do a few changes when manipulating their patterns, like cutting a higher armhole and to match it with the sleeve.
And they might want to change their fusible interlining, because it is way too stiff, same with the canvas chest piece and the material used for that and the way it is made. All in all, that will improve the final result immensely, because by already preparing the patterns in a way that the tailors would just have to care for the matching marks, the garments will be easier and faster to make and will look better.
I shall also prepare a special chart for extra measurements and notes for instructions you won't have on the regular one.

But we are deviating a bit from the main topic. The major problem we are facing are deep armholes. I mean it's easy to correct the width of the coat, plus or minus, shorten the sleeves and stuff, but once the armhole is too deep, there is no way to fix that. Or maybe there is one I don't know about?
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#39 Schneidergott

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Posted 19 May 2009 - 07:44 AM

Something else just came into my mind: How do you treat your armholes, I'm talking of the bespoke ones?
Do you use some tape or some hand (chain) stitches? In the back I usually use some fusible that I cut with pinking shears to camouflage the edges if the fabric is thin or delicate ( dark blue or black for example). I know that in real bespoke tailors use a piece of thin felt or a strap of lining to secure the rear armhole. Depending on the fabric I find fusing better, since it has a cleaner appearance after the sleeve is sewn in.
But what do you think?

"Nur der ist Meister seiner Kunst, der immer sucht, das Gute zu verbessern und niemals glaubt, das Beste schon zu haben."
"Only he is a master of his art who always seeks to improve the good and never believes to have the best already"

http://www.dressedwell.net/ It's snarky, but fun.


#40 Sator

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Posted 19 May 2009 - 11:07 AM

The major problem we are facing are deep armholes. I mean it's easy to correct the width of the coat, plus or minus, shorten the sleeves and stuff, but once the armhole is too deep, there is no way to fix that. Or maybe there is one I don't know about?


If the pockets havn't been put in yet you can always shorten from the top. However, that's only meaningful if you have a skeleton baste.

#41 Schneidergott

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Posted 20 May 2009 - 03:39 AM

1) That is one I have heard about, or more precisely, I read about.
2) It should be avoided.

Well, you know that german patterns after (roughly) 1930 almost ever have a wedge. So there is already a cut and therefore the whole coat can't be easily corrected.
So I think when cutting the armhole do like Mr. Sprowls does it, better save than sorry.

Good news about the improvement of workmanship and fit, after a season of massive returns related to the aforementioned, they have finally decided to let them know about it. The bad news is that it is only about one of our makers, although admittedly he has the worse workmanship.
Still, what is missing is telling him not only what we want, but how to achieve that. In fact, this had been tried before, and still we're facing almost the same problems.

What is interesting, though, is that the original italian men's clothing companies like Kiton and Brioni do cut a very high and small armhole. And they sell the same line all over the world.
It seems that the "designer" brands like "Luigi Calamari, ROMA" wink.gif have adopted their cut to the mass market, so they are practically the same like the rest of the middle of the road RTW.

Back to the armhole: Do you draft a different shape of armhole for different postures? I found an instruction on how to change a sleeve for stooping and erect figures, but nothing about the armhole itself. I know it changes at the shoulder line when you open the pattern at the front chest for erect figures and the equivalent in the back for the stooping ones, but do you change the shape of the armhole at the bottom of the scye (where front and side part meet)? Or do you rely on fittings and cut a regular armhole first?
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"Nur der ist Meister seiner Kunst, der immer sucht, das Gute zu verbessern und niemals glaubt, das Beste schon zu haben."
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http://www.dressedwell.net/ It's snarky, but fun.


#42 Sator

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Posted 20 May 2009 - 10:50 PM

That is one I have heard about, or more precisely, I read about.
2) It should be avoided.

Well, you know that german patterns after (roughly) 1930 almost ever have a wedge. So there is already a cut and therefore the whole coat can't be easily corrected.


I avoid making a cut until later. You can always just fold the dart and stitch it. This way you can always change the dart eg make it wider, deeper, make sure it points to the centre of the chest.

#43 Schneidergott

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Posted 26 May 2009 - 02:26 AM

On the subject of armholes. This is how it should look like according to one of my Rundschau magazines (around 1960)



when the coat is put with open shoulder seams on a tailor's ham:

Flat at the bottom and hollow at the top(s).

This is exactly what I have done with a MTM coat:



The chalk line marks the direction of the grain line. Notice how far away the shoulder points are from each other, not to mention the (original) shape of the bottom of the armhole. The distant shoulder points will make the back too short, which will then cause distortions under the arms. Which is why some colleagues tend to increase the shoulder slope, which is likely to cause more problems.
But thanks to this customers coat I became aware of the different shoulder slopes among different basic sizes. He first got a size 29 with a slope of 2cm each side. That coat turned out too short in the front why we made a new one, now size 59. We kept the shoulder slope, causing the coat to stand up against and away from the neck. So I had to remove the shoulder pad and let out the shoulder seams, which, of course, is counter-productive when it comes to an already deep armhole.

In bespoke, semi-bespoke or tailor-made MTM the armhole can be cut high with enough inlay/ outlet, but is there a workaround when it comes to ready to wear type of MTM?

Back to a former question: Do you adjust the shape of the armhole according to the customer's stance? Or do you find adjusting the sleeve sufficient?


"Nur der ist Meister seiner Kunst, der immer sucht, das Gute zu verbessern und niemals glaubt, das Beste schon zu haben."
"Only he is a master of his art who always seeks to improve the good and never believes to have the best already"

http://www.dressedwell.net/ It's snarky, but fun.


#44 jefferyd

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Posted 27 May 2009 - 02:03 AM

QUOTE (Schneidergott @ May 26 2009, 03:26 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Back to a former question: Do you adjust the shape of the armhole according to the customer's stance? Or do you find adjusting the sleeve sufficient?


Using cross-chest and cross-back as well as over shoulder measurements will ensure a moderately correct placement for stance- a stooped person will have a small cross chest and wider cross back and vice versa. The exact shape is something I usually chalk during the fitting rather than worrying too much in the drafting. To your point about the taping, I always draw up the back armhole onto the tape so fusing is out, but that's just me.

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#45 Schneidergott

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Posted 01 June 2009 - 08:32 AM

Jeffery, I saw that on your blog, I guess, some dark felt or maybe pocketing. So far I have seen only some lining tape cut either straight or on the bias.
But in either way, the result should be similar, given the right materials. Some of the makers use a rather thick fusible, which will show with thin or delicate fabrics, so I don't like it that much.
About sleeve and armhole adjustments for erect stance: One of our maker cuts a very strange sleeve. The leave the cap and just pull back the hem, so to say, which makes an ugly sleeve because it lacks the natural shape of the human arm.



The unnecessary amount of lining is another thing... fool.gif You learn and see something new every day.

"Nur der ist Meister seiner Kunst, der immer sucht, das Gute zu verbessern und niemals glaubt, das Beste schon zu haben."
"Only he is a master of his art who always seeks to improve the good and never believes to have the best already"

http://www.dressedwell.net/ It's snarky, but fun.


#46 Terri

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Posted 01 June 2009 - 10:41 AM

Armhole shape: how different do you think that they should be?
I feel that I am missing something here.
In dealing with stooped or erect postures, for instance, I tend to make more changes when drafting the body of the garment rather than making different armhole shapes.
Or do you mean the position of the armhole within the overall draft when dealing with disproportionate figures?
Does my question make sense?

QUOTE
To your point about the taping, I always draw up the back armhole onto the tape


I know it depends on the fabric, and the shape of the body and pattern, but how much drawing up in the back armhole would you say is usual?

Do you also draw in the front of the scye, or just tape it to keep it from stretching?

In terms of taping or chain stitch, I have done both. I prefer the hand chain stitch though.

#47 Sator

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Posted 01 June 2009 - 06:58 PM

I think figures that are otherwise of normal posture can still have armscye positions that are further forward or back. I suspect that the armscye position is more important than adjusting the scye shape for posture.

As Jeffreyd says, the half chest and half back measures should give you an idea of the armscye position. An additional measure that I find extremely useful is the armscye diameter. I get the habit of measuring the scye width from Devere (it's one of just a few of his ideas I find usable without modification). He says that the armscye width should be 5 1/4" for a proportionate figure. He adds that "it may be 1/2" more or less, according as the shoulders are large or small, forward or backward, but never exceed this limit of variation." The old school cut tiny armscyes in all regards - something I really like. He also gets you to measure the scye width by taking the tape measure in between the thumb and forefinger of each hand, then extend out the figures out squarely, one hand at the front, the other at the back of the arm. I once tried using calipers but this underestimates the scye width too much. I mention this as I know of no other description of incorporating the armscye width into a pattern, and it is something that I do find useful.

#48 Schneidergott

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Posted 01 June 2009 - 07:01 PM

QUOTE
Or do you mean the position of the armhole within the overall draft when dealing with disproportionate figures?
Does my question make sense?


Yes to both!
If you look at the diagram with the 3 basic postures you will see that the position of the armhole moves (points B, B1 and B2).
I couldn't find anything about it in my books, so I guess the front sleeve pitch stays where it was before any pattern adjustments.
I did find something about sleeve adjustments, though.
On page 94 the text says that if the stance had not been taken account of properly just setting the regular sleeve higher or lower won't give a good result because the cap needs some adjustments.



On page 95 they show the adjustment for a stooping figure: The solid chalk lines mark the regular stance. To get the right height/ length of the sleeve cap in the back move both sleeve parts backwards (they expressively note that it should not be moved forward).



And finally the adjustment for an erect figure. Here the sleeve is moved forward to give extra length in the front.



See how the shape of the caps changes.


"Nur der ist Meister seiner Kunst, der immer sucht, das Gute zu verbessern und niemals glaubt, das Beste schon zu haben."
"Only he is a master of his art who always seeks to improve the good and never believes to have the best already"

http://www.dressedwell.net/ It's snarky, but fun.


#49 jefferyd

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Posted 01 June 2009 - 10:39 PM

QUOTE (Terri @ Jun 1 2009, 10:41 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I know it depends on the fabric, and the shape of the body and pattern, but how much drawing up in the back armhole would you say is usual?

Do you also draw in the front of the scye, or just tape it to keep it from stretching?

In terms of taping or chain stitch, I have done both. I prefer the hand chain stitch though.



I've tried the chain stitching but I prefer tapes- I use three types in the armhole. Once the front shoulder area has been manipulated with the iron, I sew a 5/8" wide silesia tape cut on a 15% bias to the top half of the front armhole- this stays the area and gives some support for setting the sleeve. After the side body has been sewn on to the front (or the underarm dart sewn, I use a 1/8" wide india tape, starting 1/2 inch above the end of the 5/6" wide tape- the curve just below the front notch is held in about 1/8", and the last two or three inches of the side body armhole are held slightly short to keep the armhole tight to the body.



The drawing up is also important for keeping the sleeve tucked in close to the body- when we baste the armhole into the canvas after the sleeve has been set, we also hold the front notch area short- this little pinch draws the hem of the sleeve in tight as well- we don't like to see sleeves that hang far from the body since the arm is usually carried close to the hip.



The back, as you pointed out, depends on a lot of things, but for me, primarily on the degree of prominence of the blade. I start by stretching the blade area to create some room, and the fullness in the shoulder seam creates some more, but prominent blades will require some drawing onto the tape and the amount I determine during fittings. I use a 5/8" tape like the front, but I cut it on the straight from the selvedge of the pocketing, leaving a good 2" extra above the shoulder- once the shoulder seam has been joined and pressed, I lap this extra length of tape onto the front which holds the shoulder seam allowances in place and stabilizes that area. If I am dealing with a figure with very prominent blades I try to guide him away from very dry cloth which will give me trouble in shaping.



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#50 Der Zuschneider

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 09:53 AM

For Chest = 100cm and body hight = 176cm the back depth should be 24cm = 1/8 chest + 1/16 body hight + 0.5cm

23.5cm is a little bit too tight.
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