Saturday, September 27, 2008

Shirt problems

Awhile ago, when we were discussing balancing patterns, Dana had mentioned something about the possibility of balancing shoulder seams as a way to keep from having to pull shirts down in front while wearing them. At the time I didn't know what she was talking about, but just this week I started having that exact problem. I've started wearing button-up shirts that fit a little looser, and I noticed that they tend to ride back and I'm constantly pulling then forward so that the collar sits against my neck. The shirts fit me in every other way, and I'm wondering if this is a common problem and if so, how it might be solved -- it seems to me that the shirts don't follow the curve of the back of the neck well and that's why they slide back, but I want to hear other people's input.

13 comments:

Juno said...

I knit a sweater last winder that does this. Very Annoying. I haven't put to the test yet, but raising the back of the neck to fit properly there was one of the things my friends and I discussed. Also tweaking back width and sleeve shaping.

I'll be interested to see if anyone has some specific experience with this.

Sonia Levesque said...

This is a personal problem of mine. Tops tend to migrate to the back. And I discovered what to do about it when I learned more about "plus size" pattern making. FYI, you don't have to be "plus" to have this problem. You could have a rounder back or be well muscled for example...

The neck line is just too short, not "scooped out" enough. This is the shortcut version.

The longer, best way to do it is you have to lengthen the upper back part of the pattern; from the point where you measure the back width, about mid armhole point... to the neckline. And while you're at it, making a shoulder darts does MAGIC to good fit.

Sorry if I don't use the right pattern vocabulary - I'm French mother tongue. ;-)

hannah said...

Juno it's interesting that you mention raising the back of the neck because i was thinking that scooping it out more would help, allowing the shirt to hang forward a little bit more.
I'm realizing this could be happening for many reasons, because I have sort of the opposite body type that sonia describes, but the same problem.
as far as moving the shoulder seam forward (i believe that's what you meant sonia, about lengthening the upper back?) i'm really resistant to that because i've always been taught to balance the shoulder seam -- that it should always be in the same place (which is how this discussion started in the first place) and i know that the pieces we patterned at Nicolas' were balanced, and didn't have the problem...
I'm more inclined to think it's a problem with the sleevcap-- i thought about it all weekend as i was wearing my shirts and i believe that the curve of the sleevecap in front isn't steep enough. I've seen a lot of patterns where the sleevecap is symetrical, which it shouldn't be -- there should be a steeper slope in front, and a shallower slope in back.
whew. let me know if you all think theres merit in that.

Dana said...

It would be interesting to try doing the same shirt, one with the problem but then others solving the problem in different ways to see what happens. When I mentioned moving the sh seam forward, it does scoop out the neck curve and lengthen the upper back (at least as I interpret the comment). Haven't thought through the curve of the sleevecap suggestion. Interesting thought to play with.

sfriedberg said...

I have run into, and corrected, this problem in my own fitting block. There are a couple of possible causes, but the most likely is that the neck opening simply isn't in the right place. That is, when the shirt rides properly on the shoulders/chest, the neck opening as cut is too far to the back. If that's the case, moving the neck opening forward is a proper fix.

The actual pattern change is easy for the back and/or yoke, and potentially a bit confusing for the front. If you align the front, back (and yoke if present) patterns on their shoulder (yoke) seams, the CB and CF lines are angled with respect to one another. So, while you move the back part of the neck opening up along the CB, you have to move the front part of the neck opening down along the CF, which is a different direction. I usually take a string that's half the neck length, stick one end of it at the appropriate point on the CB, shape it so it looks like a neck hole and the other end is on the CF, then redraw with a french curve.

Carly said...

I think i would want to put it on you. Slash the sleeve seam over the part you are worried about, maybe even slash some of the shoulder seam. Then I would look at how it wanted to lay. Cover the missing parts with masking tape. Mark where I wanted the collar to land. And then buy you a beer for being so patient.

hannah said...

i'll bring the offending shirt with me to portland next week and we can discuss it (no slashing. i still love the shirt) and drink beer at the same time. how's that?
we'll post a report on our findings afterward.

Liron said...

In most cases the problem is, like some here have said, that the back neck of the garment doesn't sit well enough on the C7 vertebra in the back of your neck. I learned this from Kathleen Fasanella's book, and also from my pattern making teacher. solving this can solve many fitting problems.

Good luck
Liron

Carly said...

I would love that very much. I think the issue is probably that the neck line needs to move forward too. However the more I do this sort of stuff the more I realize that I can spend a ton of time trying my flat pattern ideas, checking them, correcting them, rechecking them, etc. or I can just make it look like I want it to on the person who is going to wear it and have it done in half and hour. Often this results in something very similar to what I would have tried but with most of the kinks worked out. Granted this takes a little more out of the poor person who's getting the garment. I can't wait to see you, shirt or no shirt, beer or no beer. You rock!

bsc2008 said...

This sounds like you have a balance problem. There is too much front and not enough back. I work on jackets where I maintain a balance of 1 1/2" for missy size 8. Basically this means that your front should be longer than the back by 1 1/2". To fix this problem I agree with Sonia. You need to split the back from armhole to armhole at midpoint of back where your shoulder blades will be. Drop the bottom of the back bodice accordingly.

hannah said...

bsc2008 -- I agree with you, I do think it's a balance problem - it's intersting that you maintain a 1 1/2" difference, I've always done 1/2", but I generally am patterning dresses and blouses and not jackets. Do you balance the sides at 1 1/2 as well? I do 1/2" at each side, 1" bigger in the front total.
I'm thinking about the balance at the armsyce -- the idea of adding at crossback is interesting -- it changes the length of the armsyce, which might be what is needed -- if the shape of the sleeve, and the armsyce are unbalanced, that could be the cause of the problem -- I'll have to measure them, generally the front should be about 3/8 - 3/4" longer than the back, but ive seen some crazy patterns where length was not taken into account....

kathleen said...

In addition to the section in my book that Liron mentions to correct this problem (shoulder height should not match, fig 5.54 p.166), see all of page 168. If your armhole is not shaped correctly, it can hike the whole front of the garment up as your natural range of motion seeks the path of least resistance.

Carly said...

I just read this section of the book. I was excited about the shifting the slant of the arm hole opening to accommodate for range of motion. The aspects of kinesiologykinesiology that are involved are really interesting. I also found it interesting to look at old books and see if that shaping was consistent in old literature. From what I've seen so far it is not, although no less useful and facinating.