Monday, July 4, 2011

Summer Fun (?)

I'd rather do anything than alterations.

I may have started out the month of July by playing, but I ended the month of June with alterations.


Now that my son has finished Pharmacy school (and passed his test, BTW...hooray!), he needs to wear the longer lab coats that signify that he is a doctor, as opposed to a student. But his body-shape is as hard to fit as mine is! He also has wide shoulders that are out of proportion with the rest of his frame.
Yep, to fit his shoulders, he must buy a size 48...yet his chest is really only 44". His hips are 41" and his waist is 34" (strange, but his numbers are curiously close to mine!).

The size 48 lab coat is NOT an athletic cut. Instead, it appears to be made for a big man. My son is not big...he just has broad shoulders. I did not go with him to shop for this coat (nor any previous lab coats)...there are people there who know how to fit a coat (or so one would think).

Anyway, the last time he bought a lab coat...the shorter, student version...they altered it for him. It was hilarious. Apparently, all they did is take a bunch of pleats through the back waist...released pleats sewn right through the back waist band, that, from the back, made it look like he was wearing a full skirt! He did NOT want it altered that way again and asked me to please adjust the new one for him.

How could I say no?

Please...tell me! I HATE alterations!

But I agreed and told him to bring it over...the night before we were leaving town for the lake!

He put it on and I pinched and pulled, pinning and letting him move...trying to figure out if there was any way to bring those huge armholes any closer to his body. His range of motion was inhibited by the armholes being too far out on his arm. The TOP of the armhole...the shoulder point...was in the right place, but the armholes angled outward at the bottom and his body angles inward there, putting the mid- and lower armhole out on his arm.

Eventually, I realized there was no way I could really tell what I needed to do without ripping out the sleeve.

So I did. That was a bit scary!

In this picture, I have pinned in (on his left side) the alterations I hoped to the right in the picture (the arm holding the pin cushion)...and the other side is unchanged as of yet.

I have pinned out 1.5" inches of chest width at underarm level. I pivotted the existing armhole shape inward to this new chest width and redrew the armhole, then pinned the sleeve to that. at this point, I had not CUT anything. I could still put it back like it started out! But he liked it and wanted me to continue.

Although you cannot see a huge difference yet (because only one side is pinned yet), you CAN tell that the underarm area is higher and closer to his body. And he could FEEL a huge difference/improvement!

From the back, the pinned-underarm looks higher, but still not as close as we desired. However, the sleeves weren't enough too-long to enable me to reshape the sleeve cap into one that was flatter (like adding a cut-on gusset) I couldn't reshape the armhole too much and still reset that same sleeve.

In this picture, the (adjusted) left arm is on the left side of the picture (still holding the pin cushion).
Also notice that there are pins in the center back at waist. I decided to change that straight center back seam into a shaped center back seam.

Crazy, I know...

...but I needed to remove so much fullness at the waist, and taking it ALL from the sides impeded his arm movement. He NEEDED the extra body dart that a shaped back seam provides. So the back waist had to be nipped in, too. I was NOT looking forward to that, because there is an applied band across the back waist, as well as a vent at the hem!

I needed to take in the side seams all the way from underarm to hem...1.5" at underarm, 1.125" at waist, and .75" at hip/hem. Once I began, I realized there are also inseam pockets...well, not really pockets so much as openings to allow access to one's pant pockets. I had to rip and reposition those inward too! Nothing was simple.

Here's that pocket:

Here is the can see the applied band across the back waist as well as the vent at the hem. Both had to be ripped and redone.

I ended up having to also rip out the entire HEM so I could take in both side seams and redo the vent!

Below, you can see how I reshaped the center back seam...I have drawn my new cutting line with a blue pen. I moved it inward .75" at the waist, continuing straight down at hip/hem. That removed 1.5" of excess waist fullness across the back.

The front armholes were not reshaped nearly as much as they needed to be, but I couldn't enlarge the sleeve head to fit a larger armhole, so I had to work with what I had. I just traced the original armhole, then pivoted it from the shoulder point until the underarm point was at the new chest-width point. The blue lines are my cutting lines...using 3/8" seam allowances.

The back armhole was also adjusted just as the pivoting the original ah shape from the shoulder point.

Here you can see how much chest width I planned to remove at the sideseams at underarm. Removing 1.5" on each side takes out 6" total!

Once I got it all put back together (just about 10 pm!) he was pleased with the improved look. He had more arm mobility than he started with, but not as much as he'd have with a properly fitted coat. So, of course, he wants me to make him one!

We'll see...

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