Jacket making: the chest shield

Some techniques used in sewing are rarely found in pattern instructions. One of them is a chest piece or chest shield.

The bib is a layer – or, sometimes, multiple layers – that provide stability, body and reinforcement to the upper front of a jacket. Every woman, even if she has a large bust, has a small crease or hollow next to the armhole at chest level that can cause vertical wrinkles or folds in the upper chest of a jacket or jacket. ‘a coat. To remedy this, we put on a breastplate. The shield improves the fit and overall appearance and gives structure, support and shape to the chest area. It also contributes to a more flattering, fitted look, creating a smooth, well-defined silhouette.

Although bibs are common in men's jackets and high fashion clothing, they are rarely seen in women's ready-to-wear. Chest protectors can be made from quality canvas, silk organza, fleece, muslin, Pellon fleece or Thermolam. If more structure is needed they can be multi-layered and any combination of the above.

TIP: Do not use iron-on fleece as this is a high stress area on the garment and it will not stay fused.

The bib is cut to the jacket's pattern to ensure it matches the shape and size of the front panels, but can be customized to your body shape and preferences to ensure a personalized fit.

Use the front of your jacket or coat to create a pattern by drawing a curved line from about two-thirds of the way up the armhole to the shoulder. Do not enter the rolling line (Figure 1). Cut a piece of breast for each front.

Figure 1

After applying the interfacing to the jacket fronts, pin the chest pieces along the shoulder and armhole seams and baste them in place. Fold the curved edge back about 12″ and attach the chest piece to the jacket with a very loose running stitch, making sure it is not visible on the right side of the garment (Figure 2).

Figure 2

Sew the chest piece directly into the shoulder and armhole seams during construction and trim the seam allowance from the chest pieces to reduce bulk. If your garment will be lined, the chest piece will pass between the outer fabric and the inner lining.

Press the breast area onto a ham and allow the garment to cool and dry in this position. The ham simulates the curves of the body and will help shape the garment to your figure.

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