Since autumn is definitely here, you will need sleeves for your tops and jackets. The method I present here allows you to draw your own sleeve that perfectly fits into your bodice pattern. To put it simple, you begin to draw the sleeve pattern only after having tried and modified the bodice pattern.
You need to proceed by steps. You also need some patience and simple tools: pencil, paper, protractor, simple and curved ruler.
If you managed to draw the basic pattern of the bust without getting (too) crazy then you’re ready for the next experiment:
Carefully take the following measures (figure 1)
Join M and N and extend the side line next to MN. You’ll get:
XY = armhole depth
MY = length back armhole
NY = length front armhole
It is better to measure MY and NY separately, with a measuring tape placed around the perimeter of the armhole from the shoulder to the side line. NY is usually longer than MY.
Draw the frame of the sleeve cap like this (figure 3)
AC = 0.8 * armhole depth
CE = 0.75 * length front armhole
CD = 0.75 * length back armhole
Place a point F in the middle of the distance AC and join AD and AE
From F draw two lines FG and FI at an angle of 45 ° with AC. Do the same, from C and get CH and CJ. Place K and L in the middle of DH and JE.
As you can see, I extended the lines FG with 0.8in and FI with 0.7in. I also shortened CK with 0.3 and CL with 0.2in. These are average distances that might change after fitting.
You can measure the new arcs AD and AE:
- AD must be longer than the length back armhole measured in step 2 (MY) with approximately 0.8 in
- AE must be longer than the length front armhole (NY) with approximately 0.8 in
This extra length represents the fullness of the sleeve cap.
Extend the line AC with
AB = length of the sleeve (or arm length if you opt for long sleeves)
Draw two parallels to the line representing the elbow and the wrist.
AW = shoulder to elbow length
On the two parallel lines, mark as follows:
BS = BV = wrist circumference / 2
WR = arm circumference / 2 – 0.6 in
WT = arm circumference / 2 + 0.6 in
Insert your elbow dart (1.2 in maximum) and extend DV with the value of the dart.
You can now form the arcs ERS and DTV and mark the notches on your pattern:
A – shoulder line
J – arm-to-arm chest line
H – arm-to-arm back line
Your pattern is now finished. You can cut your fabric, sew your sleeve and adjust if necessary. It is preferable to leave a little more seam allowances for the sleeve cap.
This method comes from the book “Flat Pattern Making: alterations, vol 2” by Teresa Gilewska that I found less clear than the first volume. However, a few drafts and fittings later, I managed to build a custom made-to measure sleeve.
This method allows you to build the basic pattern of your sleeve that:
- either you use it to create a simple sleeve
- or you use it as a base for creating a different sleeve style
But remember that this pattern is meant to be used only once. If you change your bodice pattern, you need to repeat the previous steps because the length and the depth of the armhole may vary.
Starting from the 3rd sleeve, you will draft the pattern in 15 minutes only. So ready for a sleeve?