Tuesday 8 December 2009

Blue suit - pattern cutting the body

Last time I had created the block for my standard jacket that would fit me, and now I need to create a working pattern from it, that I can then use to make my suit.

For the moment, I am going to concentrate on the front, so am repeating the back from my basic jacket (see below, left).

The front needs to be done in two parts, splitting it at the fitting dart at the side. This creates a narrow side panel (see below, centre) and the front panel (see below, right).

Being a pinstriped suit, it is critical how the design aligns to the pattern.
I have therefore actually drawn the pinstripes onto the calico, using a swatch of the fabric as a ruler (see left).
Many of the spacings for the pocket positions, the size of the pocket and flaps, width of the lapels etc can be measured by counting their sizes in spans of pinstripes.

Firstly, the size and position of the breast pocket. This has a pleat three pinstripes wide, with four visible pinstripes either side. I can then measure how high it is in pinstripes on my reference photo, and translate that to a real-life measurement working to the blue fabric.
For its position, I can see its base is in alignment with the second button down, and is set five pinstripes in from the edge. I incorporate this into the pattern (see below).

Then the outer pockets are calculated in the same way, with them spanning thirteen pinstripes, positioned eight pinstripes in from the front edge, with the top aligned with the lowest buttonhole. Again this is marked on the pattern for position, along with a dart which runs up the centre of the front panel, from just above the outer pocket to under where the breast pocket is located (see above).

This all seems like a lot of faff, but since I have the perfect ruler in the form of the pinstripes, I may as well use it to my advantage.

I make up the body of the jacket, which fits like a glove, though the underarm is too tight. With the guidance of my tutor, we adjust the line and feed this alteration back to the cut pattern and block (see right). The cross-hatched section is the part being removed.

That sorted I can set the sleeves, with a lightweight shoulder pad to reflect how the finished jacket will be made. This is important to do, as the shoulder pad lifts the sleeve head, and to fit the jacket without it gives a distorted view of the finished fitting.

The suit is taking shape and the fit is looking good. I will take a little break to asses work so far and check that my pattern is kept up to date, before moving on to the outer pockets.


  1. Looking good!

    I like that you took the time to put the stripes on heh.

  2. The stripes aren't just there for decoration.
    They are being used to calculate the size and position of the pockets as well as the shaping of the curved bottom to the jacket and the width of the lapels.
    It's all very scientific!

  3. Ah yes I forgot about that when I posted.

    Itʻs all rather clever of you!

    Just think how much more work there would be then in that case if the suits were not pinstriped!