How to Draft an Action-Back Pattern PieceAdd an action back to a jacket.
This jacket from the 1950s probably was worn in the country. I’m surprised that no effort was made to match the plaid on this otherwise well-made garment. It has some nice detail, though, such as the cargo pockets. The feature I like most about this vintage jacket is known as the action back. You generally see this detail on hunting jackets.
The action back consists of a pleat on each side, extending from the shoulder seam or yoke, over the shoulder blade, and finishing at the waist. The extra fabric in the pleat allows the wearer to move his or her arms forward for strenuous activity.
The action back can start at the shoulder seam or start from a yoke seam, which it does in this jacket.
The outer fold of the pleat is called the flange. I will show you how to draft this detail.
I’m using a classic, three-panel tailored jacket for this example. It includes a back panel with a center-back seam and a side panel. This is generally the cut used when making a jacket like this.
Begin by drafting the yoke and flange style lines onto the jacket back pattern (drawn in pink).
Determine the depth of the pleat for the action back. This is called the return.
Draft the return onto the main pattern piece (drawn in green).
You will draft a new panel, the side-back panel, which creates the underlay portion of the pleat. To create the side-back panel, trace the shaded area shown onto fresh paper.
Also, on fresh paper, trace the yoke portion and the remainder of the center-back panel.
There are three pieces generated from the main draft.