Saturday, September 22, 2012

Sleeves On Saturdays

I hope this post finds you all having a lovely weekend.  
Today we are going to do a very simple sleeve, the dolman sleeve and give it a very big twist.
The Basic Dolman Sleeve
You can take a your favorite t-shirt pattern, a dress pattern, even a jacket pattern and turn it into this basic dolman sleeve.
 Begin with your bodice pattern.
 Draw a line out from the shoulder seam.
Fold your sleeve in half. There is no reason to worry about the front and back of the sleeve as this sleeve is not set into an armhole. Match the sleeve to the shoulder seam and place the folded edge along the line that was drawn from the shoulder seam. If you are using a pattern with seam allowances, be sure to over lap you seams at the shoulder.  
For the sleeve that we will be doing today, we will need a rather deep underarm curve. The curve begins just below the approximate elbow and curves back to the waistline of the bodice. I have drawn in the red line to show that this can also be a shallow curve if you like. Just remember, the deeper the curve, the more comfortable the top will be. 
The basic dolman sleeve. This sleeve offers a lot of ease for wearing, in other words, it is really comfortable.
The Twisted Dolman Sleeve
So now, let's have some fun. I'm sure you've seen lots of pictures on Pinterest of all the twisted tops that are designed by Japanese designers. They are so much fun and I've been wanting to give one a try. So here's my version. 
You will need to look closely at the picture above. One sleeve is over the neck and the neck opening is hanging off the arm.
Next, in order to ultimately get this top over the head, some of the sleeve will need to be cut away. I cut off approximately 10" of my sleeve.  
Because the entire top has been turned to the side, the right side seam is hanging away from the body. Pin that in so that it forms to your body. 
 The left shoulder where the original neckline opening is will need to be reduced. In the above picture you see a pin on the "new" shoulder. In the picture below you can see pins in the original top seam of the sleeve.
Cut open a new armhole. Here's where I made a little bit of a mistake. I cut the armhole while the piece was still on the form, so the armhole ended up a little larger than I wanted it to be. So my advice. Mark the armhole area and cut it once the piece is off the form.
In the picture below, I have the top laying flat. I have pinned in the area where I want to take it up in order for it to have a better fit. Notice that I will be closing the original neckline.
 You can see the pinned neckline a little better in the picture below.
The original straight sleeve pattern was used for the opposite side of my top.
And here I am in the top.  
 You can see in the picture below that the one side is very draped.
 And the other side is much more fitted.
This top was a blast to put together. Start to finish, the top took about 2 hours to complete. My exchange student actually stopped on her way out the door this morning to tell me how much she liked the top. That's quite a compliment from a 20 year old!  
A few notes in case you decide to give this a try;
1. Be sure to use a two-way stretch knit fabric. The knit should stretch as much in the length wise direction
    as it does in the crosswise direction. 
2. Because the top is twisted to the side, you can see in the picture below that one side will rise up. In order
    for my top to not be too short, or at least shorter than I would like for it to be, I added 7" to the     bottom of my original top. Even after the top was twisted to the side, this gave me a finished length that I was happy with.
One last thing, if you don't have a fitting form, try making the top in a knit that would basically be a muslin. To decide where the new armhole should go, you can hold the piece up to your body and make an approximate mark, or you might want to try and see if you can try it on and mark where the top of  your arm is and cut the arm hole after you take the piece off. Just remember, knit is VERY forgiving, so you can usually fix whatever it is that you don't like. 
Good luck if you decide to give it a try. As I said, I really had a good time with the top and it's rather fun to wear as well.

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  1. Rhonda, this is the second free pattern I've gotten of yours in two days. I got the slippers and now this top, which is really gorgeous. If you're not careful, I am going to learn a little pattern drafting from you and at the same time break my addiction for buying every new pattern that comes along. Thank you!

  2. Very cool, Rhonda! I really like what that does at the upper chest.

  3. I love this! I want to try this very soon, thanks Rhonda!

  4. wow ur do magic. wht the heck is this?? ha ha sorry its so amazing thats waht i wanted to tell

  5. YIKES! I think I would feel like I was in a straight jacket. Doesn't it pull on your neck?