Author Topic: Fitting a shirt for a large seat  (Read 718 times)


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Fitting a shirt for a large seat
« on: July 03, 2018, 05:04:58 AM »
Hey all,

Looking for advice on fitting a shirt on a man with an abnormally large hip and seat. Images of pattern pieces, book/article recommendations, drafting adjustment instructions, or just handy hints. Whatever you've got!

What I've Learned So Far

Lest it be thought that I'm coming here empty-handed and demanding you do all my work for me  ;) , here's what I understand about the problem so far:

1. My instinct is that pattern pieces would look similar to a corpulent shirt cut - the side seams would no longer be vertical, but slightly flared.

2. Hulme has taught me that excess girth has to be distributed correctly - big waists or big busts have the disproportion on the front of the body, and so I assume that for an abnormally large butt the disproportion would need to be placed on the back of the body.

3. When Hulme draws his armscye line, he demonstrates a clever trick. The armscye line is the width of the bust + wear ease. However, the scye is placed with reference to the breast measurement (above the boobs, under the armpit). Measuring from the centre-back, this means that however much excess width you have at your bust over the net width of your ribcage is correctly placed at the front of your body where your boobs are - and where your chest rises and falls when you breathe. Might a similar process be used with, say, your waist measurement, to correctly locate the excess girth at the back?

4. Some of the excess width needs to be at the sides, however, because of the larger pelvis

5. Womenswear usually avoids this problem altogether by having shirts that flare over the hips and stop. After the trouble I've gone to, I appreciate why! I'm trying to design a shirt which is the correct length for menswear. It's possible that borrowing techniques from pencil skirts or sheath dresses will help, but nothing I've found really talks about shape and position the way - say - Wilson talks about the shape and position of upper-body abnormalities. There are lots of different butt shapes and angles. I want excess fabric to be tidily folded away and not drawing attention to itself - but I don't understand posterior shaping and fitting anywhere near well enough.

6. I've looked at pencil skirt drafts and can't understand how to apply them correctly to this problem. The seams aren't in the same place, and they're also designed for very normative bums. They seem better suited to literally making a pencil skirt, rather than defining the complex shape of the hip-seat. Most only use your waist and hip measurements!

7. Extra fabric and need for shaping means I'm designing the shirt to have the maximum quantity of seams. I'm following the Roberts/Onishenko image of a body gore shirt to create a pattern with a more-or-less rectangular front and back piece, and an hourglass-shaped front-side and back-side piece - allowing me 6 seams in total, or 8 including back darts. I understand that good balance means these seams have to hang vertically, and therefore the excess needs to be distributed correctly between them. I've tried making a duct-tape copy of the lower body, using Hulme's technique with elastic bands and vertical sticks, and also covering myself with masking tape. For the life of me, I can't get the fabric distributed correctly so all the seams hang straight.

8. Worse, I haven't figured out how to distribute the excess systematically - I could probably stand people in front of the mirror in a toile and noodle around with pins, but I'd like to have a bit more of a theoretical/technical grounding than just draping and guesswork. I hope to write up what I learn for my blog so others can use it in future.

9. Especially because I'm now also looking at the Onishenko torso-line shirt as an option to hide the extra bulk at the chest our imaginary client may have. That draft would be redistributing the excess in a different way.

10. And maybe I shouldn't even be thinking about body-gore and torso-line seams until a basic shirt sloper is done, from which I should then adapt the pattern and shuffle the seams around once I know what the correct suppressions and increments are.

11. *incoherent wailing noises and the sound of sewing manuals propelled into the wall at speed*  :'(


Help me Obi Wan Kenobi

I've done a lot of reading & collected a lot of books and resources to learn the technical/noodly side of fit - I'm currently studying Hulme's Theory/Practice of Garment-Pattern Making, which is pure genius, J. King Wilson's Art of Cutting and Fitting, and the Unicut system (thank you for posting the latter two here!). But I confess, I'm feeling a bit demoralised and run down - I've been so hyper-focused on learning the details of the upper body that the prospect of now having to repeat that process from scratch for the butt makes me want to cry. I wanted to finish a shirt before moving on to trousers. I feel certain the answer is in here somewhere, but I can't see the wood for the trees, and for the colossal stress of a project so endless and taxing I've taken to calling it the white whale, imagining Captain Ahab going mad on the deck of his ship hunting for it. I don't know anything about fitting below the waist, and I don't know how to sort through all the information I have to discover the correct & systematic process for solving the problem.

Very much appreciate the time and expertise of anyone who replies - even if it's just a few pointers. Also accepting books recommends, articles, images of pattern pieces, or anything else.

Thank you for everything you have posted in the past both to this forum, and the other one - I've enthusiastically lurked for years now & learned a lot. Looking forward to participating in the community and hopefully sharing some of my Hulme books soon, as I've not seen them around and he is a genius.

(For context here, I'm learning to tailor for the transgender community. I'm designing shirt patterns for FtM (female-to-male) transgender men. So when I say "abnormally large", I mean outside of the normal range of seat disproportion you would expect to see in cisgender men - and more similar to the hip and seat fitting challenges in womenswear. Hormonal transition is like a second puberty - it generally redistributes your fat/muscle to look like the "other" gender, but has no impact on the skeleton. In the context of this fit challenge - our client is likely to have a taller and wider pelvis than yer average chap. Depending on where he is in transition, his muscle/fat might be pooled on his butt and thighs, or it might be flatter and started pooling on his waist like other men, or with a bit of work and lucky genetics, it might be in the kinds of places which make any man green with envy like so:

My measures are: chest 84cm, waist 75cm, and seat 104cm :(

No conversations about politics please - I'm here to talk about tailoring and fit. I'm happy to answer any reasonable questions necessary to solve the challenge, but not get into debates about identity or whatever.) 


Here are the Roberts/Onishenko images:


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Re: Fitting a shirt for a large seat
« Reply #1 on: July 03, 2018, 09:47:37 AM »
I find it very useful to take a series of photos, especially in  a series: front, right side, left side and back. 

Even if you don't post them, although that would be best, you can use them yourself to analyse where the changes to the normal proportions lie.

With great respect the Onishenko draft is not a particularly smooth draft to use, but you have it and you could continue with it.  I would just like to point out that there are others.


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Re: Fitting a shirt for a large seat
« Reply #2 on: July 03, 2018, 08:33:32 PM »
The way to go is to make a pattern with proportional measurements and then adapt it to the specific disproportional form.

A proportional hip measure would be chest +6cm so you have to add about another 14cm.

Because the usual shirt pattern has no hip line, you first have to add a hip line to your pattern, where you can install the enlargements. (Itīs just a horizontal line in hip height)

The question is where to add it:

Look at the body from the front. Is the hip diameter wider than the chest diameter? (if yes, you have to add at the sides seams)

Look at your body in profile: Does the butt protrude a vertical line falling from the most protruding shoulder blade point? ( If yes, you probably  have to add width within the back piece by slashing and pivoting. To get an idea You can see the wedge in the back piece in the last pic of #144:

Look once more at your body in profile: Does the hip  protrude a fall line from the most protruding point of the chest or belly? (would be very unlikely, but who knows)

All this "on the desk fitting"  is just a start and has to be proofed by a pin fitting; there are no shorts.