• November 30, 2023

Understanding Jacket Design: A Guide to the Lingo

Jacket Design Lingo

Navigating jacket lingo can be a bit confusing, but this guide has all the bits and bobs (and a little flair) you need to understand what your jacket is talking about.

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The Front

In the jacket front side there are a few different parts you might see. The part where the lining and collar meet is called the gorge. The portion of the collar that rolls from the upper to the under side is the under collar.

A soft shoulder is a style that doesn’t use any padding or roping for shaping the shoulder. The pocket flap on a jacket is usually a welt pocket. It is also known as a jetted pocket.

You might also have a double vent on the back of your jacket, which is a nice feature that helps keep you cool. A welt pocket is a nice formal type of pocket for jackets. You may also have a working cuff, which was originally designed for surgeons who needed to roll up their sleeves but is now more of a fashion preference.

The Back

The jacket back side is the seam where the jacket back and the jacket side back join. This is often a curved seam for quality fitting. Some jackets have a vent at this point, where the garment opens for movement and comfort.

Many shirts have multi-pieced sleeves, with the top piece being called the upper sleeve. The lower piece is known as the under sleeve.

The sleeve head or cap is a key fitting point on most coats. This is where the upper and under collar meet. Some jackets have a vent at the front of the collar, where the fabric rolls from the upper to the under side. This is a common feature of business attire jackets.

The Sleeves

The sleeves are a major part of any jacket, and shaping them well is critical for flattering the shoulder. You should measure the shirt sleeve length separately from the jacket sleeve and compare them for proper proportions.

A good jacket sleeve should extend straight down from the shoulder seam and be shaped to fit around the shoulder. The cap of the sleeve, which is the point at the top that meets the armhole, is called the head.

Sleeves can be either one-piece or two-piece. A one-piece sleeve has its seam centered under the arm; converting it to a symmetrical design takes a bit more work because you need to transfer the armscye seam to the front and back pattern pieces. Two-piece sleeves have ease dots for adjusting the elbow and wrist curves, and they may have double or single notches to mark the back or front of the sleeve.

The Collar

Many jackets feature a curved opening that goes around the shoulder from over the collar and up through the neckline. This is called the armscye (pronounced arm-sigh). It’s another important line to reference for alignment when hooping jackets, along with the center back seam and the front upper collar.

There is a lower portion of the collar that’s under the front upper collar; this is the under collar. The point where the upper and under collars join at the notch is called the collar roll.

Ignite – Jenna Terese

The Lining

Some jackets are unlined, but lining helps your body move easily and keeps your shoulders warm. It also protects the canvas from stains or spills that might damage it.

When choosing lining fabric, look for one that matches your jacket color or is a brighter tone to help it stand out. Lining fabric should also be relatively flexible. Test out a piece by folding it and moving it to see how it responds.

Pin the lining pieces together according to the pattern instructions, making sure the notches and darts match up correctly. Sew the lining back to the jacket front (A). Stitch the machine buttonholes at the placement marks on the right jacket front.

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