The fashion magazines when talking about a wardrobe like to refer to it as “the total look.” The most important fashion piece in your wardrobe is the jacket. I addressed the right style for you and the importance of the jacket in general. But a successful fit of any jacket begins at the shoulder line which must support the weight of the garment. The description on the back of the pattern envelope includes information about shoulder styles. (did you know this?). This information helps you select the appropriate design for your figure type as well as the style and size of the shoulder pad to use, and allows you to determine your personal preference.
For a proper fit, shoulder seams of a jacket should not pull to either the front or the back. The fabric must lie smoothly without pulls or wrinkles. You may eed to adjust your pattern for the slope and roll of your shoulders, working from the top down.
Knowing what kind of shoulder style the pattern designer had in mind helps you judge the appropriate selection for you.
- The natural shoulder line extends from the neck base to the arm hinge, the bone at the end point of your natural shoulder line. This won’t be mentioned in the pattern description because it is considered standard shoulder styling.
- The slightly extended shoulder line extends beyond the natural shoulder by ¼” to ¾.”
- The extended shoulder line extends 7/8” to 1 ½” beyond the natural shoulder line.
- The dropped shoulder line has a rounded shape and falls 1 5/8” or more beyond the normal shoulder. If your pattern was designed for shoulder pads, it will be noted on the pattern envelope.
Do not attempt to change the shoulder styling with pattern adjustments, you may set off a chain of errors. The natural and slightly extended shoulders are considered more traditional for fitted and semi-fitted jackets, and often appear somewhat formal. The extended and dropped shoulders are more casual and comfortable, and work well with fluid fabrics and knits.