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Problems fitting the back
Still converting the men's shirt pattern
shermarama
shermarama
Advanced Beginner
NETHERLANDS
Member since 1/19/10
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Date: 10/19/12 12:25 PM

I'm still trying to convert this men's shirt pattern and floundering badly with the back here - any insights highly welcome.

So, in the original shirt I tried on the back needed a good two inches pinching out of it to make it sit at all right; see here.

On cutting out the pattern pieces and tissue fitting them to my paper-tape dress form, it still looked like there was a lot to get out of the back. I should say I'm specifically trying to make the back quite fitted here - being a large cup size, I have to fit the front or my waist disappears behind a hanging wall of fabric, and you can't really fit the front without fitting the back. So, I set about trying to do sway back adjustments.

I read the sticky thread at the top of this category; brilliant, lots of useful discussion and ideas to play around with. I tried the approach of pinching out a horizontal dart at waist level, and since I'd marked a couple of horizontal lines on the pattern piece when it was flat, I could see the grainline would be all wrong - the horizontal line above the waist hung in a big droopy curve. Pulling out the excess from the shoulder instead seemed like a great idea. In fact, seeing as there's a convenient seam between the yoke and the back, up there at mid-shoulder level, it seemed like a great idea to take out the excess there. What I ended up doing was distributing the large sway back adjustment between there and a waist-level horizontal dart - this seemed to provide the best balancing of the horizontal lines, and the tissue-fitted shape worked well.

Except I've just come to draw up the replacement pattern piece and the top seam of the back piece, where it meets the yoke, now goes down towards the centre. When this gets cut on the fold, it's going to result in a curved V shape, like a stylised seagull. This doesn't seem like a shape that's going to take well to fixing to the straight line of bottom of the yoke. In fact, it seems like a recipe for gaining an extra bust point in the middle of my shoulder blades. Radical, yes, but not quite what I'm looking for in a shirt, you know?

Back to the sticky thread I go. It does, of course, say you should take the extra right up to the shoulder, and provides an illustration for moving the excess up to the shoulder seam. But given I'm still trying to get rid of just over an inch out of there, I can't see how it's possible to move that excess to the shoulder without making the shoulder seams into that V shape instead. Someone at the top of page 8 of the thread has a 'eureka' moment with it and describes a process they've found for adding it at the shoulder, but evidently I'm not following the description because to me it must do something nasty to either the armhole or the neckline. And anyway I'm trying to do this on a yoke, with a forward shoulder seam, so I'm even more stuck on how to do it there.

So, seriously, just, what? What can I do to make this work? Have I even got my diagnosis right? Will the V-shaped-to-straight seam somehow be connectible anyway? Would a centre-back seam help? I'm running low on brain-power here and just, generally, aargh.

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