The pattern of the fitted sleeve

The fitted sleeve is this very tight sleeve that fits the arm and get tighter on the wrist.
To allow easy movement of the arm, the pattern provides a dart to the elbow.
The pattern is quite easy to make, I explain it here in 5 steps, according to the Esmod method:

  1. Once your armhole is set, draw your basic sleeve pattern. Measure around the wrist and add 4 cm of ease, this new length will be your sleeve bottom. Divide your sleeve bottom into 4 and draw vertical lines towards the head of the sleeve. You need to get a pattern like the one in Figure 1 (solid line). If your wrist circumference is shorter than the armhole line, then your sleeve is more like the dotted pattern.  
  1. We will call the 1st vertical line(from the front) the bend line and the 3rd one (from the back) the elbow line. Fold your pattern on the bend line and draw AB in mirror at AB’. On the bend line, from point C, draw a CD line at right angles to DE, such as DE = 1/4 of the bottom of the sleeve, and extend EF = DE. 
  2. Fold again the pattern on the AF line and draw AB” mirrored to AB’. Join FG and GB”.On AF, at the intersection with the elbow line, draw a line perpendicular to GB” and place the point L. Place L ‘at 0.5cm from the L towards the middle of the sleeve and trace GL’B” as a curve .
  3. Extend DE to DH such as HD = DE. Join HK. Make the difference between the length IKH and B”L’G. This surplus will be the value of the elbow dart = KK ‘. Draw KJ = 6 cm. Retrace JK ‘= JK and K’H. 
  4. Retrace the bottom of the sleeve to round off the angle formed in F. Close the dart and the under sleeve so that the sleeve is laid flat. Check IK + K’H = B”G and AB ” = AB ‘. Your pattern is finished. 

It’s a pattern that takes about 15 minutes to complete once you have your base pattern, so feel free to get started and share your experience.

The pattern of the pivoted kimono sleeve


After the basic sleeve, the shirt sleeve, the kimono sleeve and the raglan sleeve, I will show you today the pattern of a sleeve usually found in casual wear like hoodies. Depending on the shape, this sleeve can recall the raglan sleeve, but with no seam in the center.

Here are a few steps to build the pattern of this sleeve, according to the ESMOD method, from the book “Becoming a pattern-drafter “.

  1. Take your bodice basic pattern and put aside the front and the back. You need to balance the shoulders. To do this, draw a line parallel to the waist that passes through the shoulder of the back and another that passes through the shoulder of the front. Midway between these two lines, draw a third which will be your new shoulder height for the front and back.

  1. On your back pattern, draw your new shoulder line, parallel to the old one, and joining the line obtained in the previous point. By doing this, you have removed a few inches from the back neckline which you should add to the neckline of the front. You can now draw the new shoulder line, also joining it to the line obtained in point 13. It is now time to add ease to the final garment. There is no exact rule as it depends on the desired width. As far as I am concerned I added 5 cm in width, 10 cm in length, I extended the shoulder line by 7 cm and I lowered the armhole line by 7 cm. You need to draw a new armhole for the back, copy it as it is for the front, make sure the shoulders back and front coincide, as well as the side line.4. Draw a line parallel to the center front, tangent to the front armhole in point A. This point is located a little lower than the old front width line at the point where your armhole is the hollowest. Measure the length AB and transfer it on this line to set the point C.5. Measure the desired width for the sleeve and divide it by two. From point C, draw this distance, CD, which must be perpendicular to the center line of the sleeve. To ease the exercise, we will consider that the line of the center of the new sleeve extends the shoulder line. We will see later how to do if these two lines are distinct.
  1. Measure the desired length for the sleeve and trace it from point E to point F. Also measure the desired width of the wrist, divide by two and trace FG perpendicular to EF. Join the point G with the point C by a slightly curved line, respecting a flatness of 10cm from the point G. Retrace the AC line by slightly curving it
  2. Now you have your half kimono sleeve pattern that you will just recopy symmetrically from the middle line to get the full pattern.
  3. If you want a less wide sleeve, your point D’ will not forcefully fall on the shoulder extension line. The line of the middle of the sleeve thus forms an angle with the shoulder line. But it would always be necessary that CD’ be perpendicular to the line of the middle of the sleeve, EF’.
    1. If you want to make a sleeve that looks like the raglan sleeve, just draw a curved line from point A and join the neckline in point H.


    10. You will need to add this piece of pattern delimited by AH to the pattern of the sleeve and to remove it from the pattern of the bust.

I hope I did not annoyed you too much. Drawings could help. It’s a fairly simple pattern to achieve after all.

And see you soon for new pattern-making adventures!

Checkered shirt

I present you today a quick and simple refashion of a checkered shirt that showed signs of fatigue at the collar.

I started by cutting the sleeves in three and stitching together the 1st with the 3rd part leaving the slit of the cuffs outside. Result, the sleeves are shortened, to the right size for me, and I got a few creases that make them slightly puffy.
In the second part of the sleeves that was not stitched, I cut out rectangles, then put them end to end to form a cord that I then turned into ruffles.





I removed the collar of the shirt and part of the neckline, and sewed the ruffles obtained in the previous step on the new neckline. If I had measured more carefully my cut, I could have stopped here, but as I was generous with my scissors, the neckline was too deep and too wide.

So, I laid flat and sewn on the ruffles the front of the neck and a piece of the collar that I had put aside. I already had many layers of fabric, I had to put a bias on the collar and sew it by hand on the neckline.

I got a tunic shirt for the city, or a dress shirt for the beach. What do you think?










Striped shirt

There is always a striped shirt in your boyfriend dressing. As stripes mix with almost everything, he is going to put this shirt very often and thus wear it out more than the others. In this precise moment you will pop up to propose him a 2nd life (to the shirt not to the boyfriend).

One year almost passed by since my last upcycling, my stock of silly ideas waited their raw material.

I began by imagining a neckline into the placket. Two benefits: the fabric puts itself slantwise and creates interesting folds; the shirt gets shorter to adapt itself to a XS size.

I needed to cut out the collar and to remove all the surplus of fabric in the back. Sleeves are removed too. I found myself with two enormous side cuts which must be fill in.

I made two triangles for sleeves from what I removed from the back. Last detail, I made two inserts for arms underneath.

And to finish, I made false French stiches where I was able to, and put a biais where I was not able to.

It was not the most serene refashion project because I had to change plan several times along the way but the result is completely wearable. Here we are, my 5th transformed shirt already began its 2nd life in a garden of the Parisian suburb, while waiting for the following transformations.














How to build a skirt or a dress

This article could help those who have already ventured on the path of pattern-making. Creating a garment from A to Z is three or four times longer than following a commercial pattern: all the steps are longer and tedious: model choice (higher number of possibilities), estimation of the necessary fabric (unless you draw the pattern before, but most of the time I prefer to finalize my model once the fabric bought), pattern drawing (bilding a master pattern and then transforming it into desired shape) and the assembly of the garment (as there is no user manual). The last part is even more important car if done wrong, all the work done before is wasted. It it is essential to recall some general principles:

  • The pieces (with pleats, ruffles, tucks, darts and zippers) are constructed before being assembled together

  • The pieces are interfaced upstream to allow them time to cool down

  • The collar is attached before sewing the sides together

  • Finish the bottom of the sleeves and the sleeves before sewing them to the bust

  • start with the belt and finish with the hem

To take the example of a skirt, here are the steps:

1. Prepare the belt (cut it, interface it and mark the notches)

2. Finish the edges (interlock) of the front and back pieces

3. sew and iron the darts

4. Make the slot if there is one

5. Assemble the two back pieces and place the zipper

6. Sew the front and the back pieces togheter

7.If there is a lining, sew the darts, turn them in the opposite direction to step number 3, assemble the back with the front and finish the edges

8. sew the skirt over the top of the belt and the lining on the bottom

9. flip the whole, fold the waistband and stitch into the seam to keep the skirt and lining together

10. Adjust the edges of the liner at the zipper

11. work the slot and make the hem of the lining

12. sew the hem of the skirt

13. Finish with the belt buttonhole

If you want to make a dress, the steps are as follows:

1. interface the collar

2. sew the darts

3. sew the shoulder seam (and the shoulders of the armhole trim if there are no sleeves)

4. apply collar or neckline facing

5. install the zipper

6. If no sleeves, sew the armholes facing

7. If the dress has sleeves, sew the cuffs and the sleeve and prepare the sleeve cap

8. sew the sides of the dress

9. Insert sleeves

10. If there is a lining, sew the darts, stitch the lining on the facing, assemble the shoulders and sides, finish the edges, assemble the lining to the dress at the neckline and armholes

11. finish with hem of lining and dress

Having a precise idea of ​​the assembly order avoids errors and saves time. Obviously, each step must be well executed and the seams must be ironed between each step.

I hope you liked this post and do not hesitate to leave your questions or remarks in the comments, I will try to answer you as soon as I can.

A dress full of checks

I am going through a period of fabrics under-consumption: my sewing years have left me a lot of remaining fabrics and I am facing typical problems of our time: buy or reuse, store or throw away … I trust my economical instinct and I use my unused fabrics first, before buying new ones, even if these left-over fabrics do not always correspond to my desires from the moment.

So here I am in a phase of post-move lull. I glimpse through my fabrics and find a piece of cotton tartan. If you have been following me for more than 2 years, you may remember my 100% organic cotton pajamas, named “Miss Baker”, which became my favorite clothing for the cold winter nights.

Miss Baker Nuit et Compagnieimg_7201

I undertake to cut a dress of simple shape and easy manufacture in this cotton shirt, cozy and fine. Because I am also in a period of under-manufacture: any sewing project is thought 10 times before taking out the scissors. The lack of time and my 4 years of sewing push me to projects that easily complement my daily wardrobe and results are almost safe.

I did not even make a pattern for this dress, only used my mannequin. I put the fabric at an angle and cut a neckline and sleeves into it. I added 2 squares on the sides to lengthen the skirt and once finished, I created the fold behind to absorb the surplus fabric.

It is not the most refined dress I have ever sewed but I would have pleasure to wear it. Luckily for the photos, I managed to finish it before the Great Cold.

And you, did you change your way of sewing over time?







The rosy dress

This dress comes from a desire to sew silk, a difficult and misleading material butwith undeniable qualities: summer or winter, a silk dress gives a certain alure.

I wanted a dress inspired from Roaring Twenties, fluid and not over-dressed. The only precious detail is the wave-shaped bottom border of lace.

It’s a dress that is definitely too wide for me, I could weigh 100 pounds and I could still wear it. Somewhere in my calculations I added too many inches. But with a sweater and a belt on top of it, I could hide the extra width.

I wanted to show it because even an error could be interesting. I think I was too confident and enthusiastic (I spent a lot of time choosing the silk and the lace) but did not have enough time to make it. Finally do not aim a too ambitious outcome, but move slowly.

I’m glad to be back on the blog. After a few months absence, I finally found the time to take pictures and write. That is generally the kind of post stirring less interest than a pattern-making tutorial, but it’s the only one I had the energy to write.

And you, would you like to read mathematical formulas or rather see pictures?





The long life of a shirt

I’m on my 5th man shirt upcycling, I guess I like the exercise enough. Wrinkle it, ruffle it, turn it upside down, there are so many possibilities when refashioning a shirt.

I took a thick chambray shirt as a basis:

First thing, take away the worned out collar and cut the sleeves like a tank top.

Cut out the cuffs into triangle:

Pin it into the armhole.

Sew a zigzag stitch (leasier to sew than a topstitching)

Fold the remaining sleeve like an envelope

Pin it at the bottom to lengthen the shirt

Sew both sleeves and press

It gives a V-slot on the back

As the front is slightly shorter, I stitch together both shirt plackets

Side view:

And this is me who enjoys the soft light of a summer evening.

Needless to say the enterprise was fun and gainful because I granted myself a new dress with zero additional budget and zero waste in a very short time You can see other recycling ideas here.

Dress for a summer night

This piece of silk in rosy and browny shades was waiting for me in a drawer for over a year. It took a marriage party and a sudden urge to attack difficult materials to get me to sew again.

I had not touched my sewing machine since last September, too busy in my new job. Fortunately, having constraints (such as not finding the right dress) pushed me to action.

I had a terrible time to choose the model as I had too many ideas: dozens of images collected for years on my Pinterest board reflect my love for lace.

I started with a simple line (H shape dress with elastic waist), which already gives less formal look to silk which is so noble. I then cut a rectangle in lace that I positioned diagonally to create long pleats at the shoulders.

The model seemed simple and I started to assembly it with optimism. As usual, the simplicity with silk is only apparent because the finishes require a slow and careful sewing.

Dress was finished a day before and photographed the same day, before leaving under the gray, threatening and so frequent thunderstorms of this month of June.

In my creative fever, I finished a second silk and lace dress, that I will show you soon, hopefully.






Make a custom pattern with “mode pour lol”

As I was saying in my previous post, I have recently discovered “mode pour LOL” videos. I found it very visual and accessible and I wanted to try this method of pattern-making for the bust. I was already happy with my results from Gilewska method, but it has been a while that I has not amused myself with calculations and therefore I was ready to re-new with pattern-drafting.

The method of “mode pour lol” adds ease to the measurements before dividing everything by 2 or 4. The advantage is that at the end, you no longer need an additional step because the pattern is already ready to try. Then there are some shortcuts that facilitate the construction task, eg standard measurements for neck and shoulder dart. In Gilewska method, these measures are based on calculations from measurements and require more time, the advantage being that, in the end, the pattern asks very few adjustments.

The video is easy to follow and the fitting part is very well explained. In terms of calculations, I would say that the difficulty is somewhat equal to the Gilewska method, we finally get there and when we cannot, it is mainly because of inexact measurement (there is also a chapter dedicated to this part). I followed the advice to start with a small scaled drawing and to note all the calculations, in order to avoid errors. I drew my pattern on a woven grid paper, which I highly recommend for basic patterns. In addition you can sew it and pin it and avoid transferring the pattern on another fabric. When trying on, I only changed the slope of the shoulders, the rest was perfect.








You can accesss this method for free (with English subtitles) here.

In the DVD, you will find how to make the basic pattern for skirts and pants, several chapters dedicated to sleeves and how to transform basic patterns in different models. To my view, this DVD (in French only) is more than useful and I can only recommend it.

2016 Couture Shows

I started this post right after watching last season couture shows ending this week. I belive that twice a year, I need to scroll through the exquisite world of houses that excel in the art and crafts. Speaking of art, Viktor and Rolf have seduced the press once again with their Cubist paintings like dresses. Their way appears distinct from the others, I wonder if their creations are made for the press and museums, or for women.

Once again my heart went to Italian houses.

Valentino takes us to the world of luxury and voluptuousness. Velvet embroidered with gold, golden mesh and nymphs transparent white robes are an invitation to seduction. The snake on the head amplifies this illusion.


Not so far away, Alberta Ferretti takes us in the 30s and art deco, with all the codes of the femme fatale: fur, lace and snake (again!).


Giambattista Valli dresses are shorter and less made for the red carpet. I especially like the volume of the sleeves, the colorful embroideries and the sophisticated necklines.


Ulyana Sergeenko continues on her way calmly and grow in the esteem of journalists with each show. This year her collection is a mixture of deconstructed and punk military, Slavic and contemporary codes. I love the boots and the fish bags.


This is my couture selection of this January 2016. Too bad I can’t read the choices of a happy few haute couture clients.

Sewing Inspiration from 2015

My posts became so scarce recently … a full-time job, a family with two children. Hours for sewing or writing seemed inexistent … time was running so fast, weeks and months without taking me forward on the path I believed following … but enough sorrow, we are in holiday season and I will not darken myself with everything I could not do but open up to the future and new projects.

Meanwhile, I’ve put together a small selection of sewing projects achieved by talented seamstresses and bloggers from around the world. The order is completely random.

From Canada, the Petite Josette sews patiently colorful and humorous outfits. For her, it is not productivity that counts but the quality of the result. Her creations seem both fresh and timeless.
1_Petite Josette - III_3769 - Summer Dress - by Brice Ferre Studio
2__6642 - Petite Josette Sewing Projects -er

From Norway, Nina pours her rich creativity on creating clothing. You can download patterns made by herself. I like her preppy style with touches of color:

From Japan, Chie has created her clothing line “Vivat Veritas” in complete autodidact. Everything is handmade and her style blends femininity and innocence.

From Poland, Mustikka sews simple and graphics clothes that go very well with her tomboy style of an apparent austerity.


From California, Jade shares her fashion inspirations and sewing tutorials in a sexy and so west coast street style. I am especially fond of her leather creations.


From Lebanon, Sabrina shares her personal creations and offers sewing classes in her studio. I like her palette that ranges from glamorous 50s to chic sportswear of 2000s.

From Switzerland, Miushka has created her blog after sharing her achievements on Instagram. I discovered her by participating in the contest “the refashioners 2015” that Miushka won with her shirt turned into pants. Her blog tracks the learning process of a beginner full of talent.

Wishing you a New Year full of friendship, love and serenity, and sewing moments as many as you want.