Monday, February 23, 2009

Drape, part 3

Coat's done.


For all the fuss they make over the comfort of drape, I expected the clouds to part, rays of sunshine to burst forth and choirs of angels to sing when I put this on. It's soft, it's light, it's comfortable, but is it really all that much more comfortable than the starch and armor that I normally wear?


In part, because of the sleeve. People have this funny notion about sleeves and their fullness. Despite what most people think, the neapolitan sleeve is not the fullest; in fact, it is one of the smallest. And neither is the A&S sleeve (I hate to burst your bubble, Mr Hitchcock, but EVERYBODY fulls a large sleeve into a smaller armhole, not just you guys). The rope shoulder is the fullest sleeve up top; that's what makes the rope. You have to fill in all the extra room with wadding to make it clean, otherwise you wouldn't have "soft ripples" like the spalla camicia, you would have Niagra Falls. I can then taper from that fullness toward the wrist and have a sleeve that is full up top but trim at the bottom. Much more modern and appealing to my eye. People don't usually have fat elbows, and extra space around the lower bicep or elbow is not actually more comfortable. The key is to have more space ABOVE the breast line. In this, a rope-shouldered sleeve is the fullest and affords the greatest amount of movement. That is why I have more movement in the POW jacket picture below, even though it is lean-cut than I do in this drape coat. Of course, if the armhole were in the wrong position, nothing is going to comfortable.

Does this coat suit me better? Probably. I'm still not thrilled about it, though that may change. Since it is a sport coat it is not bad, but I think a business suit cut like this would not feel right. Not for me, anyway. I'll wear it a bit but I have a feeling this is going to end up on ebay.



Anonymous said...

What a wonderful job you've done here ! You may or may not appreciate the result, but the experiment is really great, and I learned a lot of very interesting things reading your blog.
Please carry on researching technical dificulties. IMHO, it is the only way to perpetuate a high skill standard in tailoring. You are far from alone to publish a great tailoring blog, but yours is leagues front of the others for the quality and clarity of the technical explanations you give us.

I now wait with hope your back-matching sleeve method ! (the sleeve pattern is still the biggest mystery for me in the coat... now I understood what is drape :D ).

I find your explanation of confort w/wo drape really eye-opening. One much-expected quality of a bespoke coat is that when the wearer move their arms, the coat body must keep still. Keeping that in mind, I find your explanation of comfort by up-arm fullness really convincing, and drape in the front seems to be more a matter of look than usability (and I conceed I like this look, and I too prefer your drape coat to your grey one : it gives you more chest, which is more flatering to me).
OK for the front, then, but is drape functionless in the back ? I am not so sure. When I looked at your back photo, I thought : this really looks alike to "action pleats" seen on some sporting coats (for hunting, I think). And when you move your arm to the front, you can see that your shoulder turns to the front too, slightly extending the back width.
In cutter's methods of yore, you sometimes read information about how to cut the shoulder for working men, and especially for "car drivers" (sorry, don't remember the word in English), who keep their arms to the front all the time. And, by cutting a shoulder more in the front, the result is a wider back...
So maybe drape really improves comfort in the back, when you make ample movements, whereas drape in the front is a way to accomodate sleeves which should have more fullness ?

I hope this makes sense, as I am not a tailor and I do not understand very well how works the coat pattern, and sorry if it is meaningless garbage.

Thanks again, and please keep publishing so precise insight of how to design a really great coat !

R. Jeffery Diduch said...

Thank you, Paul.

You are correct that the drape in the back allows for some forward movement like an action pleat but I think that the benefit is of limited importance compared to the amount of movement allowed by the size of sleeve for most people. Someone who kept his arms forward consistently would benefit from a different cut, but truck and cab drivers rarely wear jackets while driving anymore. This requires an bit of an understanding of anatomy so I will get to that in another monster post.


Anonymous said...

Dear Jeffrey,

This is le.gentleman from the LL. I just thought I post a comment right here at your blog.

When it comes to drape, I can perfectly understand your antipathy to it. Considering that you cut the front darts very high and with lower darts you'd have probably even more drape, I can clearly tell that I prefer a clean/lean cut.

I would agree with you that a truck driver or a conductor need a differently cut suit. Nevertheless, I think the more movement I can enjoy in a jacket, the better it is (of course we don't want to sacrifice the look). So, I am wondering which factors contribute to movement and in which order. A small armhole and a wider upper sleeve as well as excess of fabric in the back are some aspects. Are there other?

Regards, le.gentleman

Anonymous said...

Can you tell us what, if anything, you cleaned up in the coat, compared to your post Drape 2 when you sounded rather disappointed? Or did you just come to accept all the fullness for what it was?

And thanks for the sleeve/shoulder discussion. More please! If you are willing to reveal your sleeve cutting method we are willing to receive it.

Brian W.

R. Jeffery Diduch said...

Well, Brian, I mostly came to accept the fullness the way it was, but it also goes to show how a good pressing can make or break a garment. When it was in fitting stages it was still a bit of a mess. Finishing and a good solid pressing was what was needed to make it more palatable.

Et puis, le.gentleman et Paul, with regards to movement and comfort;

We do equate range of movement with comfort and we do assume that the extra drape or an action pleat will give us more movement, ergo more comfort. I will get specific on this but let me leave you to ponder this common image for a bit-

A bride with her back to her invitees raises her arms high above her head to throw the bouquet to the crowd. Her dress is not loose, nor is it drapy. She is probably strapped into it, and it is very tight to her skin. Some are sleeveless, but many are not. Still, corseted into her tight, boned and stiff dress she is able to reach high above her head.


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