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Divot terror

Tangfastic

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In a new thread worthy coincidence, I have just received an e-bay purchase of a nice flannel jacket right during the unfolding of that thread with the divots. The jacket is lovely, and fits well in the chest and length, but has incredible shoulder divots. I think it's from the 1980s, I am slim with slightly (normally) sloping shoulders, I expect most size 38 OTR jackets to fit reasonably well. The e-bay jacket was cheap and I'll probably drop it off to a charity shop. But the timing has made me think.

I have only had a divot problem with two jackets I have ever tried on - a cheap h&m cord blazer and a better constructed Jil Sander one. Anyway, I must have tried on / owned dozens of jackets and only come across divoting twice until my latest e-bay purchase.

Have I been remarkably lucky in avoiding divoting in the past?
Can anything aside from going bespoke (beyond my small-timer means) be done to cure a divoting jacket?
Is divoting always due to shoulder padding?
Can I ever buy a jacket I haven't tried on again in confidence?

Thanks to SF I have become happy to spend up to 30% of the retail price on really quite expensive jackets, but now my whole jacket related world has been thrown into doubt and confusion.
 

TheFoo

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Obviously, you are overreacting. Cloth moves, you know--particularly when it is black and has a sheen.
 

Tangfastic

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I still have 2 e-bay jackets I'm waiting to receive. I doubt I'll have pleasant dreams until they turn up and I actually get them over my shoulders.

I was hoping for some reassurance or solace on divoting, maybe even someone with in depth knowledge going into body types and shoulder padding levels, tips to look out for to avoid divoting and possible remedial tailoring action, that sort of thing...
 

jefferyd

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This one keeps coming up and most people are mistaken about the causes so here's a detailed look at what causes shoulder divots or dents.

First, the divots have nothing to do with the width of the shoulder- we often hear people making comments about a shoulder being too wide because it is denting but this is not the cause. Look at old photos of Tommy Nutter's work- you can't get much wider than that and they don't dent.

Second, the divots have nothing to do with the amount of shoulder padding; again, you can tons of it and not have dents, and you can have dents on an unpadded shoulder.

THIS is what causes the divots.

The armhole must be cut in the right shape for the body of the wearer. The sleeve is then cut in a very precise relationship to the armhole. In the figure below, the height of the armhole dictates the height of the sleeve cap and the width of the armhole dictates the width of the sleeve cap. We'll say that distance a-b must be equal to e-f and distance c-d must be equal to g-h (for the super geeks, this is not the actual formula but we'll say it is for simplicity).

If you put on a jacket whose armhole has not been cut wide enough for you, or that the chest pulls because it is too tight (or a host of other reasons the armhole may distort) the armhole will contract- it will get wider and shorter. The sleeve cap is now too long and narrow (a-b is shorter than e-f and c-d is wider than g-h) so it pulls from front to back, and the extra length collapses. THIS is what causes the divot.

The only way to try to remedy this is to remove the sleeve and shorten the cap (cut away excess length); this will, in some cases, be sufficient, but in many cases you also need some extra width to the sleeve cap, which you will not be able to gain since there is no outlet for it. This is neither easy nor cheap so your average dry-cleaner alterations tailor may not be able to do it.

The only way to know if a jacket is gong to do this is to try it on. If it dents, try a size up or try a different maker.

 

niidawg3

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Originally Posted by jefferyd
This one keeps coming up and most people are mistaken about the causes so here's a detailed look at what causes shoulder divots or dents.

First, the divots have nothing to do with the width of the shoulder- we often hear people making comments about a shoulder being too wide because it is denting but this is not the cause. Look at old photos of Tommy Nutter's work- you can't get much wider than that and they don't dent.

Second, the divots have nothing to do with the amount of shoulder padding; again, you can tons of it and not have dents, and you can have dents on an unpadded shoulder.

THIS is what causes the divots.

The armhole must be cut in the right shape for the body of the wearer. The sleeve is then cut in a very precise relationship to the armhole. In the figure below, the height of the armhole dictates the height of the sleeve cap and the width of the armhole dictates the width of the sleeve cap. We'll say that distance a-b must be equal to e-f and distance c-d must be equal to g-h (for the super geeks, this is not the actual formula but we'll say it is for simplicity).

If you put on a jacket whose armhole has not been cut wide enough for you, or that the chest pulls because it is too tight (or a host of other reasons the armhole may distort) the armhole will contract- it will get wider and shorter. The sleeve cap is now too long and narrow (a-b is shorter than e-f and c-d is wider than g-h) so it pulls from front to back, and the extra length collapses. THIS is what causes the divot.

The only way to try to remedy this is to remove the sleeve and shorten the cap (cut away excess length); this will, in some cases, be sufficient, but in many cases you also need some extra width to the sleeve cap, which you will not be able to gain since there is no outlet for it. This is neither easy nor cheap so your average dry-cleaner alterations tailor may not be able to do it.

The only way to know if a jacket is gong to do this is to try it on. If it dents, try a size up or try a different maker.



great post!!! thanks for taking the time to write such a well thought out response.

the picture didnt show up though.
 

apropos

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Originally Posted by jefferyd
This one keeps coming up and most people are mistaken about the causes so here's a detailed look at what causes shoulder divots or dents.

First, the divots have nothing to do with the width of the shoulder- we often hear people making comments about a shoulder being too wide because it is denting but this is not the cause. Look at old photos of Tommy Nutter's work- you can't get much wider than that and they don't dent.

Second, the divots have nothing to do with the amount of shoulder padding; again, you can tons of it and not have dents, and you can have dents on an unpadded shoulder.

THIS is what causes the divots.

The armhole must be cut in the right shape for the body of the wearer. The sleeve is then cut in a very precise relationship to the armhole. In the figure below, the height of the armhole dictates the height of the sleeve cap and the width of the armhole dictates the width of the sleeve cap. We'll say that distance a-b must be equal to e-f and distance c-d must be equal to g-h (for the super geeks, this is not the actual formula but we'll say it is for simplicity).

If you put on a jacket whose armhole has not been cut wide enough for you, or that the chest pulls because it is too tight (or a host of other reasons the armhole may distort) the armhole will contract- it will get wider and shorter. The sleeve cap is now too long and narrow (a-b is shorter than e-f and c-d is wider than g-h) so it pulls from front to back, and the extra length collapses. THIS is what causes the divot.

The only way to try to remedy this is to remove the sleeve and shorten the cap (cut away excess length); this will, in some cases, be sufficient, but in many cases you also need some extra width to the sleeve cap, which you will not be able to gain since there is no outlet for it. This is neither easy nor cheap so your average dry-cleaner alterations tailor may not be able to do it.

The only way to know if a jacket is gong to do this is to try it on. If it dents, try a size up or try a different maker.

Perfect.

Would this 'divoting' not occur as well if a shoulder has been cut too 'square' for one's shoulders? In that case the height of the sleeve cap would be excessive, despite the width (hopefully) being ok.

I had the exact same thing happen to me a few days back during a forward fitting. The tailor ripped the entire sleeve off and increased the 'overlap' between the front and back panels of the jacket to better follow the slope of my shoulder, also imparting at the same time a forward 'sweep' to the shoulder seam.
 

Tangfastic

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Thanks Jefferyd, I shall sleep a little more soundly tonight, and will now take my flannel jacket to a tailor.
 

alepenn

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Sorry to bump an old thread but do you have this photo? I'm having the same problem with some MTM jackets. How can I solve for it? I didn't quite understand the solutions above.

Thanks
 

alepenn

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I second this question- am having the same problem and the shoulders are relatively "square." if ther was a steeper drop in the shoulders so that the padded shoulder ended a bit earlier/closer to where my natural shoulder is would the divot be eliminated?

Thanks
 

OttoSkadelig

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Originally Posted by Tangfastic
In a new thread worthy coincidence, I have just received an e-bay purchase of a nice flannel jacket right during the unfolding of that thread with the divots.

threads can have divots?

this calls for a superstring theory of divots.
 

Despos

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Originally Posted by alepenn
Sorry to bump an old thread but do you have this photo? I'm having the same problem with some MTM jackets. How can I solve for it? I didn't quite understand the solutions above.

Thanks


Originally Posted by alepenn
I second this question- am having the same problem and the shoulders are relatively "square." if ther was a steeper drop in the shoulders so that the padded shoulder ended a bit earlier/closer to where my natural shoulder is would the divot be eliminated?

Thanks


Maybe this will help. If you have a circle that is 10" in diameter and you try to fit an 11" diameter circle into the 10" circle you will have to bend the larger circle to make it fit. That bend is the divot. You have to trim the larger circle down to a 10" diameter and it will fit into the other cleanly. Padding or shoulder extension or shoulder slope are irrelevant. Read Jeffery again.
 

furosemide

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Originally Posted by Despos
Maybe this will help. If you have a circle that is 10" in diameter and you try to fit an 11" diameter circle into the 10" circle you will have to bend the larger circle to make it fit. That bend is the divot. You have to trim the larger circle down to a 10" diameter and it will fit into the other cleanly. Padding or shoulder extension or shoulder slope are irrelevant. Read Jeffery again.

So I have the same issue and have sunken a significant amount of money into MTM that all have this issue of the should divots. Is there anything I can tell my MTM maker to change? Or is the only way to get around this to go bespoke?
 

clemente21

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Resurrecting this with a particular problem - why would one shoulder divot and not the other (If it has nothing to do with slope and width)? Or is the fact that it happens to one side proof that isn't a divot and that it's something else entirely (ie some horrendous bodily defect)?
 

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