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jacket bi-swing (action) back

likesjackets | Posted in General Discussion on


I’m interesting in finding a pattern or directions for a bi-swing (action) back for a jacket.  These are often found in menswear or uniforms but seldom in womens jackets.  I want to be able to raise my arms when I wear a jacket and a gusset would help, but I would like rules-of-thumb for creating that extra piece between the back and the sleeve.  Sometimes this extra piece goes from the shoulder seam to just below the armhole and others go from the shoulder to a waistband (like a pleat).  Any comments or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.



  1. kayl | | #1

    A few years ago, I noticed this feature on a flight attendent's blazer,

    and talked her into letting me examine the feature more closely (she

    sewed, too, so didn't think I was utterly loony!). That version had

    what amounted to two crescents of fabric inserted in the back shoulder,

    topstitched rather like a topstitched pleat. If I recall, it was

    a United Airlines uniform.

    Another place to get movement room is in a pleat at center back, topstitched down, like a Norfolk jacket.

    Kay Lancaster [email protected]

    1. likesjackets | | #4

      Hello Kay,

      Thanks to your response to my bi-swing back question.  The discussion seemed to get sidetracked after your reply and I wanted to get back to you.  The idea of two crescents is correct.  The jacket I looked at had back pieces that overlapped by 1-2 inches and were connected by a facing.  I think you can take the back pattern piece and make two overlapping pieces out of it and make a facing from the overlap.  The center back piece rejoins the side about an inch below where the side back piece meets the sleeve.  I think I will make my own pattern and a muslin and see how it goes.  Any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks very much.

      1. kayl | | #5

        Don't forget you'll need to build movement into the lining, too...

        (we won't discuss the jacket I made that particular mistake on!).

        I rescued mine with inset box pleats in the upper back lining.

        I bet some of the new stretch wovens might work for lining, too.

        Or a good slick stretch knit.


  2. becksnyc | | #2

    I haven't seen any patterns like this, but I do know from that the closer the fit of the armhole to the arm and especially under the arm, the more movement you get.  It sounds contradictory, but European cut jackets have a higher armhole than American (in menswear), the advantage being that raising your arm does not raise the whole jacket as much as a deeper cut armhole. Of course, fitting an armhole closer means greater accuracy, fitting knowledge and tweaking, but many of my European friends can't bear the American styling. 

    Same is true with the cut in the crotch area.  American slacks for men are cut deeper (under the--ahem--equipage) whereas Italian slacks, for example are cut much higher, requiring that the men "dress right" or "dress left". This, reportedly, allows a longer stride.  I, having never worn mens pants, cannot speak from experience...;-)


    1. ElonaM | | #3

      The best pair of RTW pants I have are part of a silk suit made for a small Italian man. The waist is slightly low, and the crotch is quite high, and these pants are incredibly comfortable both for sitting and walking.

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