How to Draft a Sleeve Pattern When You are Desperate and No One Has Ever Shown You.
We home-sewers are always going it alone it seems. When constructing Simplicity 3786 I found I liked the bodice but the sleeve fit was abominable. I would need to draft a new sleeve pattern.
The problem is that no one has ever shown me how.
Prior to my sewing snit over this sleeve I had heard two solutions but I could not see either working.
Solution #1;Looks Like a lot of Work for a Sleeve that Still Might Fit
Butterick 5746:Fitting Shell or Personalized Sloper
There are pattern drafting books that cover drafting sleeves. However, their sleeve patterns are drafted from a personalized bodice pattern, often called a sloper. Slopers are usually very form-fitting, more a carbon copy of you with some ease thrown in for movement. Additionally, the sleeve drafting is explained in a separate chapter and there are no illustrations of the relationship between the sleeve cap and the curvature of the bodice shoulder.
Solution #2 Which I Think Only Works if You Make the Same Kind of Shirt All the Time
I have also been advised to take my French curve and measure the armscye curvature on a blouse whose fit I like best. But then there is the problem of matching sleeve to shoulder. Because I like a certain blouse does not mean that the pattern I am currently sewing was designed with the same curvature and fashion ease. Just a glance in the closet tells you that garments each have their own unique curvature at the armscye.
So what to do?
Here is what I did.
It won’t win me any ribbons at a contest I’m sure, but it worked.
This design had a flat sleeve head. By that I mean it had no gathers and minimal ease. That made what I did easier.
Simplicity 3786:The sleeve from the pattern envelope. You can see how tightly it fits. Nothing I did to alter the original pattern worked.
1) I seam ripped the sleeve from the pattern company and threw it in the scrap bin. (That kind of made up for the previous night’s snit over the sleeve’s general chumpiness.)
2) I also ripped out the side seam so I could lay the bodice flat on top of a large piece of paper.
Then I winged it.
If you have sewn a lot of sleeves you will notice some commonalities. The deepest armpit portion is curved away from the sleeve cap. A few inches in from the side seam there is usually a notch. Any easing or gathering takes place between the notches most of the time at the sleeve cap.
SOOOooooo. . . . . .
3) I put on the sleeveless shirt and got the shoulder seam and armscye I wanted. Cutting and pinning until I got it right.
4) Then I laid the garment completely flat over a large piece of interfacing.
Shirt laid open over interfacing. Mark your notches, remember one notch for the front, two for the back, then trace the curve for the sleeve cap.
5) I guesstimated where the notches should be on my new armscye. I marked both the interfacing that was to be my new sleeve and the bodice.
6) I traced the top portion between the notches, the sleeve cap, directly from the bodice.
Flip the garment over and trace the underarm curve portion. Remember to mark where the seam ends, that will become the underarm seam for your sleeve.
7) Next I flipped the bodice over, matched the notches and traced the armpit curve using the bodice as a guide.
Remember to make a slash where the curve ends and the side seam begins. That becomes the underarm seam of the shirt.
My new sleeve cap. I just had to tidy up the lines and draw the seams.
I had my sleeve cap. From there I just needed to decide how long I wanted it. Since Simplicity 3786 has a three
The sleeve not fit with the looseness it was designed to have.
part sleeve, I took the pattern for the cuff and gathered lower sleeve and altered them to fit my new upper sleeve.
I realize that this isn’t by the book, but if I had a book to show me how to redraft a sleeve for an existing pattern I wouldn’t have had to make this up. You must consider the variables of your specific pattern and you must make a practice sleeve, but this a quick and dirty method that may be of help if nothing but a new sleeve pattern will work.
Next Post: Friday, November 19, 2010: Week Ten- I Can’t believe it! – Stash Bash Update