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Make a Mixed-Print Jacket with a Squared Armhole

Multiply your design and fit opportunities
Threads #199, Oct./Nov. 2018
A straight underarm seam and side panels simplify jacket construction. Pattern: Tabula Rasa Jacket, FitforArtPatterns. Fabrics: author’s stash.

Pattern blocking and embellishment are perennial sights on fashion runways, and I’ve enjoyed participating in this creative direction. However, many of the top designer examples are often shown on dramatically oversized garments. A bold print mix on a large-scaled silhouette can be visually overwhelming on all but the most statuesque frames. To make this style statement wearable—rather than over-the-top—a suitable garment pattern is essential. Enter the squared armhole. The pattern should offer uninterrupted areas for decoration, but be streamlined enough to flatter the figure.

Linear pattern with plaids and stripes.
The linear patterns of menswear stripes, plaids, and checks work well with the jacket’s straight seamlines.

To fulfill these requirements, I have developed the Tabula Rasa Jacket pattern (FitForArtPatterns.com). Its natural shoulder line, relaxed fit, and vertical panel seams provide options for pattern blocking, while contributing to a slimming effect on the body. Unique to this design is its squared armhole shape: The underarm area is straight, not curved, and the sleeve attaches to a side panel in a horizontal seam. This makes fit adjustments and garment construction straightforward and quick.

This sleeve and armhole style is reminiscent of traditional ethnic garments, such as kimono or bog coats, where the sleeves are rectangles joined to a rectangular bodice. Those styles create excess fabric around the armholes and bust, which can distort or obscure fabric motifs or embellishment. To solve this, I’ve merged the squared underarm with a rounded, set-in shoulder style. The Tabula Rasa pattern provides flattering definition through the shoulders and falls softly over the body’s curves below the armhole. It’s streamlined and modern, while offering enough space in the bodice panels for creative embellishment or other design options.

I’ll show you easy steps to a good fit with this pattern and demonstrate how simple the sewing…

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