Essential sewing keeping me clothed and sane

Tweedy Jacket Wrinkling Issues


Do me a favour? Try on one of your  RTW or hand sewn jackets and look very carefully at the bit between the lapel and the armhole; just above the breast and below the shoulder. Stand naturally in front of a mirror; button the jacket, unbutton the jacket; put your hand the the pockets, sling a shoulder bag on – just do whatever you normally do.

Does it wrinkle? Does it crease?

Mine do – both in RTW and hand made. And for the life of me I cannot think of a reason or a solution! Well, actually, I think I’m a bit round shouldered and this is creating a hollow at the front and hence the wrinkling. But even on Doris the wrinkling still exists, and she’s perfect!

There seems to be too much fabric – I can pinch the excess.


So I set to try and remove the wrinkles. I inserted the sleeves a million times, each time moving the armscye more  and more forward, thereby removing the excess on the fronts until my sleeves practically emerged from the princess seam and making me look more round shouldered that I actually am! I ripped out the entire insides and took in a bigger seam allowance on the princess seam and all this did was pull the armscye forward.

I narrowed the shoulders but then the sleeves didn’t hang properly. BTW, want to see perfectly hung sleeves?



Slightly forward to mirror the natural shape of the arm and according to my tailoring books – this is what a sleeve should look like.

I thought the armhole was possibly too small but I didn’t want to cut into the jacket in case that didn’t fix the problem.

I tried a couture shrinking technique – tacked in some pleats and steam pressed until the fronts almost turned to felt!


All I achieved with this was to overwork the fabric which will now never recover from its trauma.

In the end I re-sewed everything exactly as it was back in place and left well enough alone. I did make some extra padded floating breast shields and sewed these in but I still have wrinkles and they’re doing my head in.

I’ve tried to disguise one side with a rose which I’m hoping will fray into a delicious melange of tweedy bits.


When the jacket is buttoned and I stand with shoulders back and head erect, the wrinkles disappear. But I have to hold my breath and suck my tummy in and gradually turn blue – so it’s not really a practicable way to solve the problem.

Even Cate Blanchett in Armani has wrinkles. I have an Armani Jacket and yes, there are wrinkles there too but not as much as in my own hand made ones. There are loads of images of women’s jackets without wrinkles but I worked in the print industry for years and I know how much retouching is done before a picture is deemed acceptable to be included in an advert. Is it a feminine issue with tailored jackets? Are we presented with a retouched, perfect image that is, in reality, unobtainable?


Any ideas?



38 thoughts on “Tweedy Jacket Wrinkling Issues

  1. Hmmmm. I have seen a man’s very expensive suit jacket – custom made obviously – the front was cut on the bias. It was plaid – I think Prince of Wales check – and it laid on the chest utterly beautifully. Of course it was on a man’s body – no breasts involved.

    Did you use the hair canvas right across the front, right up to the neck to support the fabric?

    You know what I like in your photos – I like the three lines of stitching where you are trying to eliminate the fullness. I would keep them, use them, make them into a design feature.

    But as to your real question, I have no answer. Perhaps an old tailoring book would help.

    You’ve put so much work into the jacket – it’s so beautiful. The sleeve is amazing. Coco Chanel would be proud of you.

    • Thanks Barbara. I too have seen beautifully flat fronted jackets and that’s what I aspire to achieve. I’ve canvased those jacket fronts so much it can practically stand up on its own! Just have to keep trying

  2. One more thought. Is the lining too small? That popped into mind after looking at the first picture once more.

    • Not the lining but maybe there’s a mismatch between the canvas and the fabric, although I did baste all round the armscye and made sure all was lying lfat before inserting the sleeves – you know, it could just be a s simple as that.

  3. Have you interfaced all the top of the fronts from about 2″ below the armhole it should completely cover the front.
    Can you help me out where did you get the fold over elastic for your Chanin skirts

    • Hi Linda, yes the entire fronts are interfaced with canvas and I added floating chest shields which did reduce the wrinkling a bit.

      The fold over elastic came from My Fabrics but it’s narrow. I couldn’t find any this side of the Atlantic that was 21/5 “. Try ebay. On one of the skirts I didn’t fold it over at all and just sewed it in line with the skirt’s waistline – that worked. Good luck

  4. I just checked my 3 RTW jackets. No wrinkles there when buttoned. Slight wrinkles when unbuttoned. All feels like they’ve got a bit of interfacing in that area. Doesn’t Armani do slouchy soft tailoring? Probably best to observe designs with more traditional tailoring.

    I checked my Vintage Couture Tailoring book which has a couple of examples that look like tweed jackets. There aren’t any wrinkles in that area. But these jackets were shown on a dress form, so I’m not sure if they’d be as wrinkle-free on a real person. But on p71 there are a couple of photos showing badly-fitted canvas vs well-fitted canvas. In the badly fitted example there are a fair bit of wrinkles in that area, though the wrinkles look somewhat different from yours.

    Were the wrinkles there before the sleeves were inserted?

    • Hi Pia, thanks so much for doing some homework for me.. That’s exactly the book I was using but I think you may have hit the nail on the head – when I read the small print, instead of just looking at the pictures, it says, DO NOT TRY TO MATCH THE RAW EDGES OF CANVAS AND FABRIC – guess what I did? Thank you.

  5. Your sleeves have been set in perfectly. I wish I could achieve that standard every time!
    I add a chest piece of bias hair canvas to help support a jacket between shoulder and breast. I think it is called a plastron.
    Could you try hiding a dart under the rever if a plastron is not enough to take out the wrinkles (think shawl collar neck dart).
    A tutorial on the rose please (or a link if you have explained this before and I have forgotten or missed that post).

    • Hi Anne, those sleeves did not go in like that first time! I added a plastron too when I saw the wrinkles and it did help. I’ll do the rose soon – so easy and a good way to use up tonnes of scraps.

  6. I too have sleeve envy! I think the upper chest area looks a little wider than either you or Doris are. Kenneth King shows a method of creating fisheye darts from the wrinkles and then transferring that excess into a nearby seam…. I’d be tempted to try to pin out what you’ve darted out into the side-front section of the shoulder princess seam; tapering to 0″ at the shoulder. Just my 2 cents. TinaLou

    • Hi Tina I took in the princess seam as that seemed the obvious place to start but to my eyes it pulled the front armhole too far forward. Sometimes I just get fixated on one area and then can’t see the wood for the tress. A lady in a shop the other day admired the jacket when it was out for a test run and I asked her “Do you see wrinkles here and here?”. “What wrinkles?” she replied.
      Thanks for your help and you’ve given me an idea of just making a dart – in the tweed it won’t be that noticeable and if it is – then it’s a design feature! The simplest ideas are often the best!

  7. One thing I picked up when learning (basic) tailoring is that strip of twill running along the wrong side of the roll line which is eased in 1cm or so tighter, so that the garment curves in and sits close to the body where most of us have a hollow. Did you insert this? But your excess is a bit further towards the sleeve so whether or not you did this might be irrelevant.

    I love this kind of detective work with everyone’s theories
    But also appreciate your frustration after all the hours you’ve put in.

    • Hi Marianna, I love that bit of tape on the roll line. In this jacket I also added a bit to the back neckline so that it curves in towards the body too and sits snuggly. I’m scrutinising every jacket I see now and when compared to the masses, mine isn’t so bad.

  8. Could it be the shape of the upper side piece? To me it looks as if it might help if it was Angeled slightly differently. Obviously you would have to unpick the front sleeve, shoulder and upper princess seam to find out which I honestly wouldn’t do on this jacket anymore as it is beautiful, but that may be something to look at next time.

  9. thats a hollow place where many women naturally sink in (not the most attractive of descriptions, i know)and not fill their jackets and coats. you have to build it out with either hair canvas, like high-end menswear or another kind of interfacing, depending on the thickness of your fabric. by the way, the same thing happens in menswear. and sometimes filled with more than one layer of canvas.
    experiment with various paddings.

    • Hi Barbara, we normally obsess about big bums and tummies – and now we have another whole new area of our bodies to fret over – LOL! Thanks for your input, hair canvas and more hair canvas

    • Hi Maura, sorry your comment was delayed because WordPress deemed it spam with all the links. But thank you so much for them – I’m off to check them out. Thanks again.

  10. My wrinkle chart says that diagonal wrinkles from front armhole to neckline means a sloped shoulder figure and the front pattern needs to be adjusted by cutting a rectangular piece from the shoulder seam down and out to the armhole and move that piece down. Difficult to describe. I have no way to draw a picture or scan the picture to the comments

  11. Found a tutorial for the sloped shoulder adjustment that shows what I mean.
    Hope it helps I have never tried it.

  12. I used to have a similar problem with jackets until I added the plastron. As another explained it is caused by the curve of the bust which creates the dip and that dip needs the extra support provided by the addition of a plastron. I also think that the style of your jacket has high underarms or very fitted armholes and this will make the dip more prominent. Not a mistake in the armholes just the style of this particular pattern. Is it a Claire Schaffer by any chance and does the pattern describe itself as close fitting or fitted. The plastron is inserted quite early on in construction so I wouldn’t try for this one as you have a beautiful jacket but if you make th pattern again try adding the plastron.

    • Brenda, the pattern is a ‘proper’ equestrian jacket by Jean Hardy 875 and I did make this version much more fitted than previous ones, so all seams are much more close fitting. I’m so glad someone else has (had) this issue. Thanks so much for your comment and suggestions.

  13. Ruth, I haven’t read any of the other comments yet, so I don’t know if what I’m about to post has been suggested or not. I have an older sewing VHS tape by Clotilde. She was an American sewing teacher/expert; and ran a successful mail order notions business, taught at sewing expos, wrote books, made sewing tapes, traveled for sewing seminars, etc. So, the lady really knew her (sewing) stuff.

    At any rate, she talked about that “gap” in between the breast and armhole that you’re referring to in her “Sewing for the $500. Look” video. I can’t remember exactly what she said, but it was something like this:

    The gap or wrinkles that are there, are supposed to be there. If they weren’t you wouldn’t be able to move properly, because the fronts would be too small or tight.

    I did see that your RTW jackets do the same as the one’s you make. That tells me that you’re doing it right, chica.

    Your work is exemplary, btw.


  14. Almost forgot. Sorry.

    She said that the fronts would be too tight WHEN BUTTONED, were it not for the “wrinkles” or relaxing of the fabric at the spots in question. That’s where the fabric goes when it is unbuttoned and relaxes.

    Again, no worries. You’re doing it right.

    • Oh thank you K – three cheers for Clotilde (and you!). My husband said to let the fabric do what it wants – let it relax. I think that’s what I need to do too.

  15. Oh my goodness! what an interesting thread of comments! Now I know why I never wore fitted jackets when I was working 🙂 Actually, I did have one, it buttoned quite low, was cropped, and was cut on the bias. So no issues as described. Curious – Any idea how hacking jackets fit? And nice sleeve, btw.

  16. OK, I got really curious and went up to my closet to verify with the two suits, RTW, size 10, that I still use. Both are lightweight wool blend, single-breasted, long, back vent, 4 button, classic suit cut. And no wrinkles. But I’m broad across my back and shoulders, and have a full bust. Maybe that picks up the bodice of the jacket in a different way. I also tried on a couple winter coats, they fit me the same way. I would really like to see more pics of the jacket and/or other jackets on you, see what’s happening.

  17. I have been thinking about this since you posted. I tried on my jackets and don’t have this issue myself. So I have a different reaction to everyone else which is probably completely wrong. But Fit for Real People stated something I have practiced for a long time and that is to buy a pattern by the high bust measurement (right under the arms), exactly where you have the trouble. Then alter for the bust measurement and/or cup size. If you went down one size (ie a 12 rather than a 14) and then did a FBA I think you might get a better fit. Certainly for me the upper chest/neckline/armhole is the key area to fit in a jacket, and buying the right size here may make all the difference.

  18. What a great thread of comments on this post, Ruth. Love all the links for answers and now am curious about my jackets, both me-made and RTW. Except I only have one in my closet and it’s cut to hang open. Thanks for posting, and I love your tweedy flower. It’s going to be spectacular as it frays.

  19. I think the problem relates to the slope of your shoulders. On your next jacket try to increase the slope a little and take the corresponding amount out from the lower armscye. Unfortunately our shoulders seem to sag a bit as we get older (along with everything else). That is my experience.

  20. What a great post and thread of comments. I have nothing to add except that I love the tweedy flower

  21. try raising the should seam1/2″ and tapering to 0″ at the neck line. I do that on blouses for sloping shoulder, not sure how it would work on a jacket

  22. Yes, it’s the sign of a forward shoulder.

  23. This is a fabulously informative post and thread, thanks Ruth and all others who contributed. The more sewing one does, the more developed the eye for impeccable tailoring. I know Armani and all others photoshop when advertising, but in the live collections, especially haute couture, I still drool over the fit. Your jacket may not be perfect, but it is still much much closer to the holy grail of perfect tailoring than most RTW. Thanks for posting.

  24. Pingback: Mildly interesting…. | corecouture

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