Ilford Jacket

Adjusting the Ilford for a Cis Male Body

Adjusting the Ilford for a Cis Male Body

A common question we get is how to adjust the Ilford Jacket pattern for a cis male body. I recently made an Ilford for my boyfriend Finn and wanted to share the pattern adjustments I did. Beyond the adjustments to the pattern pieces, the sewing process stays the same so this is hopefully an easy hack!

The Ilford Jacket is drafted using sample measurements for someone how is 5’6” tall. Finn is 6’2” and always has trouble with sleeve length because he has a 6’6” wingspan. I knew I wanted to pay extra attention to sleeve length. The Ilford has drop shoulders but depending on how broad your back/shoulders are it will fall higher or lower on your shoulder.


For this version I used the Lived in Cotton Twill from Blackbird Fabrics.

First let's take some measurements:

You’ll need chest, waist, and hip measurements. You’ll also want to use a jacket that fits the way you want your Ilford to fit so you can measure it for reference. I absconded with this jacket from Finn’s closet that I know fits him and his long arms well.

      1. First I am taking the chest and waist measurements of the ready to wear jacket and comparing them to the finished garment measurements on the Ilford Jacket. I have identified that the right size for Finn is a size large in the shoulders and chest, blended down to a medium at the hips. A common fit issue for cis-men making the Ilford is that it is too boxy at the hips so blending to a smaller size will help with that.
          2. I am taking a measurement from sleeve hem to center back. I want to make sure my sleeves are long enough, so I am going to adjust the Ilford pattern to match this length. Again, because the Ilford has a drop shoulder, taking just the sleeve length measurement won’t be enough in this case because we don’t know where the drop shoulder will land on Finn’s shoulder. 

            3. Lastly I am measuring the length of the jacket because I know Finn likes this length. I’ll adjust the Ilford length to match this as well.

              Time to adjust the pattern pieces! Here are the adjustments we will do:

                1. Lengthening the body: I compared the desired jacket length to the Ilford pattern length and identified that I needed to add 5” of length to the shorter version (I could have used the longer jacket version but it was already cut out lol). This adjustment will need to be done on Front (A) and Back (B). 

                2. Blend down betweens sizes at the hipsStarting below the sleeve markings I drew a line blending down between sizes large to medium. This adjustment will need to be done on Front (A) and Back (B).
                3. Lengthening the sleeves: We need to lengthen the sleeves but first need to figure out how much. For that we will want to know the sleeve hem to center back measurement of the Ilford pattern. The seam allowance on the Ilford is 5/8” so I marked the seam allowance on the shoulder of Back (B), the top and bottom of Placket Sleeve (D), and the top and bottom of Cuff (F). I measured across the back of Back (B), and measured the length of the sleeve and cuff. I added them together, subtracted that number from the sleeve hem to center back I got from the ready to wear jacket and the difference is how much I need to lengthen the sleeve. I ended up adding 4” to Placket Sleeve (D). 

                4. Widening the forearms: The last adjustment is widening the forearm! We have gotten feedback that for some folks the forearm on the Placket Sleeve is a little tight especially if you want to wear a sweater underneath. I measured the forearm of the ready to wear jacket and compared it to the forearm of the Ilford and identified that I needed to add 4”. I am going to make a pleat with the excess fabric so that the cuff still fits. On the side of the sleeve with the placket I slashed straight up to the top of the sleeve without cutting through. I spread the sleeve to add in 4” and taped a piece of paper behind the new opening. 

                Thanks so much for reading. Happy sewing!

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