Saturday, June 30, 2012

Sleeves On Saturdays

The Cape Sleeve
This sleeve could actually be a cross over post with Fabulous Free Pattern Friday as it is really nothing more than half of a circle. And to be honest, it's easier to draft than a circle.
The sleeve just floats over the arm. Great for summer tops. Okay, I have to tell a short story here, Gail, who follows my blog left a message earlier today that had me rolling on the floor. Living in the United States, we forget that there is another side of the world where they are experiencing winter. It has been so hot here in Chicago. I can't remember a time when I have run my air conditioner as much as I have this summer. I ended yesterday's post with, "I hope you're staying cool." Gail replied, "Cool? That snapping you heard was the sound of my poor frozen toes breaking off." Gail lives in Sydney, Australia where it is now winter. So, to you Gail and any others who may stop by from the other side of the world, file this sleeve away until your warm weather arrives when you'll be able to smile knowing that we here in the midwest are probably freezing to death. When we have a really warm summer, it is usually followed by a really cold winter. And when I say really cold, I mean really cold!
Okay, so back to the sleeve. As I said, the sleeve floats over the arm, just like a little cape.
It's extremely easy to draft. Measure the armhole of your pattern as you see below. Make a note of the front armhole measurement and the back armhole measurement.
Using those two measurements, draw a straight line. The notch that is in the center is your shoulder mark. Decide the depth of your sleeve by measureing over your arm the amount that you would like for the sleeve to fall over your arm. Measure out from the center the amount that you would like the sleeve to fall over your arm and draw a curved line back to the ends of your straight line.
If you would like for your sleeve to have more fullness, divide the sleeve as you see below. Besure to number the pieces. 
I've included this picture as an example of what can happen. I cut through my line and one piece fell off. Now, what if other pieces fell off? I might have a difficult time putting the pieces back together. Believe me, I learned from experience! Number all of your pieces.
 Spread your pieces equally.
 In the picture below you can see that the spread lines don't line up.
 Basically, you want a nice smooth line so you will divide the difference in order to get a nice smooth line.
The final pattern. This will give you a very nice floaty little sleeve and it is so very easy to draft.
A lovely treatment for this sleeve is to do three that are stacked one on top of the other. The bottom sleeve would be widest. The second would be a little smaller and the last would be once again a little smaller. 
This is especially pretty in light weight fabrics like chiffons.
I hope you'll give this sleeve a try. It's so easy to do and it adds a lovely feminine air to any dress or blouse.
Hope you're having a lovely weekend whether it's warn or cold!!! 

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  1. Thanks for sharing this tutorial. It really does make a nice sleeve.

  2. I'm a bit dense, but I don't see how I can sew a side seam in the sleeve. Do you just leave it loose? If so, how do I finish the bottom of the armsceye if the sleeve just stops. Would love to see a picture of the INSIDE where the sleeve meets the garment side seam in the armsceye.

    1. You are not dense 😊 The sleeve does not have an underarm seam. Turn up the hem edge and finish. Then sew the sleeve into the garment. The ends of the sleeve will meet at the underarm seam of the garment. If this isn't clear, I can do a sample in a future post. Just let me know.

  3. Hi Rhonda
    Thanks for sharing. Will this sleeve work on knits?
    On your sample picture it looks like is a beefy knit material.
    Thanks again

    1. The top in the photo is a knit. The sleeve will work with any fabric that has a drape.