Sunday, March 26, 2017

A sleeve that will do, mostly

As I think we all know by now, I love novelty prints.
And I wear them all summer long.
And I didn't buy any of these. Shocking I'd pass on Rocko.

In the winter, I wear a down vest. I'm working from home, and it gets cold and expensive.

Yes, I wear other things I sew in ridiculous prints, like jeans. 
They are still shrinking. I'm not getting taller.

But not many woven tops.
Vogue 1257

Most of the woven tops I like are Issey Miyake patterns, or variations on that ideal.
I think Miyake's 80s sleeves tend to be slightly mis-drafted: there's a slight curve to the cap, while the top of the armscye is flat, and you get that bulge on the dropped sleeve head. I've been drafting them out of the patterns; this is from an Ebay photo of a Miyake Plantation line linen shirt. The bulge was always part of the design it seems. Which is weird; it's not a case of removing shoulder pads from a too-wide 80s shirt, but a shirt with dropped shoulders that has a vestigial rounded cap sleeve pattern piece.

The Miyake sleeves are just too wide to fit into a down vest armhole. 

Long story slightly shorter: I wanted a woven long sleeved shirt, to keep the tasteless vibe going all year long.

The body part is easy. I'm flat-chested but broad in front.
 My back is rounding, but not too badly.

The sleeve part is the tricksy part.

Bad shoulder, wider upper arms than previous patterns I've drafted/edited, and a desire  to be able to move and reach things: these have compounded my errors.

What I kept coming back to was this article about flamenco sleeves. I am pretty sure I read about this on the Curvy Sewing Facebook page, and I thank that person, whoever they were. It's a great explanation and clearly diagrammed.

I felt I was onto something

Kinda like that sleeve at the top left.  From Butterick 4238.

I had picked this up to make a Bryn Walker knock off shirt for my sister, from some of the miles of IKEA curtain linen I've hoarded kept for her. I made one for myself and was impressed at how it fit right out of the box, with little/no ease on the sleeve. In a pullover, no less. High fives all around!

First version: not bad. It needs to be a little wider at the bicep, and it pulls up in the center. Also just noticing that the sleeve needs to rotate back a little bit. Note made!

Very wearable top, I should mention. The front flap is just for grins, but it's pretty and I crammed this into a 54" wide yard of fabric (without nap) at size 14.
No buttonholes!

It features a wider, flatter sleeve cap, and a deeper curve at the base of the armsceye. There is minimal ease in the seam, no gathers.
The deeper armsceye gives me some room for the extra width of the sleeve. 

Armed with my new ideal sleeve, I draft a new pattern.

You know the drill. You draw a seam. You match the seam with its reciprocal seam. That's off. You go back the other way, sleeve to hole, hole to sleeve. 
I am removing the year it took me to get here.
Blogging is time travel.

The green line is the back piece, the lower layer red line is the front. Slightly deeper in the front, but essentially the same. 

Another way of talking about this is with a pattern that you could look at yourself

Like the Collette Sorbetto pattern, which is updated to their new block and is free on their website.

It's a standard bodice, comes with a sleeved variation. The pullover ease comes from the pleat in the front. The sleeve has gathers at the top. This covers a multitude of wide bicep sins, and is worth thinking about.
I mean, I'm spending a LONG time just trying to get rid of those gathers.

They don't look much alike because - tiny problem - I don't have a bust so I don't need a dart. Certainly not one for a B cup like that one. And that dart moves the armsceye enough to confuse the shape issue.

(There is a link, to the right, on this very page about a SBA, from Trumbelina Sews, and it's well worth taking a look at if this is an issue for you. She also addresses a broad back adjustment)

Nevertheless, there are some clearly illustrative changes. I have cut the Colette to my size and it lines up with my measurements and ease allowance.

Lining the front pieces up on the center line, my front bodice piece has a closer-in shoulder (I want that seam at the top of my shoulder for maximum mobility) and about the same armscye measurement.

(I know the shoulder slope is off. Oh and moving the shoulder seam up the shoulder would mess something else up)

(there's a lesson here in the conservation of mass)

 The fabric has to go somewhere. You pull something here, it comes from where? 
Wrinkles point to the problem.
See, it's pulling up in the center of the sleeve!  Wrinkles trying to tell me something! What is it, little wrinkle?
Did I listen? No.

The greatest difference is in the sleeve: it's the same width, just flattened out and wider in the bicep area. I've also removed most of the ease from the seam (okay I have no gathers at the top of mine).

It is a little shorter in the seam than the Colette sleeve, but it has roughly the same seam length as the Colette.

The rest is trial and error. And sewing.

This where all the effort pays off and unravels, about the same time. 
I've gone too wide in the sleeve, and need to increase the height of the cap (still pulling at the center sleeve). I missed that entirely until writing this and staring at the photos.
In addition, I've continued the error of the shoulder angle, so that the top wants to fall to one side or the other. Since so much of this shirt is about the shoulder line, this is a big enough error to make me want to pick that all apart (bias binding included -KKEERRAP) and fix it.
Eh, let's make another one.
Introducing version four: the Frida
I have added 1/2" of height in the cap. Also reduced shoulder slope

Smoothing out the transition in the new sleeve cap

And lookit that! I did not change the armsceye, just paid more attention to getting the sleeve to fit at the top. Woven fabric will ease in without too much distortion.

I know, busy print, hard to read details: the sleeve is not pulling up as much. I brought in the width of the sleeve below the bicep an inch as well

Yes, I am wearing the Frida jeans. They are very very wrinkled; I am a trifle too big for them now. This is why you aren't seeing more of them in this photo. This is my blog, dammit

I am a lot closer than I was, however. I should add a slight bust dart. I am good with the slight bag at the back sleeves. Style wise this pattern needs something else going on to avoid Nurse Scrub Shirt-itis. 
My goal is to make a shirt I can move my arms in.
And that I can make out of this:
The only thing that makes me hesitate is that it's rather scratchy in texture. Maybe it needs to be culottes. I mean, it is sort of butt-centric themed.
Maybe they still have that Rocko fabric up at the Joann's super store?
I should go check.


  1. Ren, Stimpy, Rocko AND Frida all in one post. Loving it!
    Maybe it's the combination of pink and the mention of culottes, but you might have fun with one of these 'equestrian' skirts with the button on/off front panel...I love mine!

    1. That is a handsome skirt, and see how that center panel makes the print say hello! Such a smart outfit!
      My issue with the novelty prints is that my eye wants to break them up with contrast pieces, but then I think they look dumb. Patchworky humble hands at home. Possibly my dressmaking skills at fault. I did add some extra bits, but at a distance, the Frida shirt is....really dull.

  2. I love reading your blog. It's like I'm talking to myself.

    1. Well, sistermine, it's kinda like you are......

  3. Love the crazy Frida print!

    Re: short sleeve hem pulling up in the center, I find that inevitable with a flatter cap. But then again I have not really properly followed instructions in 2 of my patternmaking books for drafting a fitted short sleeve:

    I wonder if the proper approach would yield less lifting in the center & wearing ease draglines at the armpit with arms down.

    I'm still struggling to understand how the Indians do their choli blouse sleeves to give mobility + not have hem center flip up & out like a pair of wings }:-) Their rather imprecise drafting approach bugs me but maybe they do know what they're doing & maybe I should give their instructions a try.

    1. I have that book. I know I've seen that page. Did I really read it, or did I burn past, trying to find something else? I have a couple of choli patterns. I could dig them up. I have more fabric. I don't think I'm going to run out.....
      Thanks lady!


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