Monday, 29 August 2011

Handmade Monday - what is it with sleeves?

What is it with sleeves?
Whenever I make anything with sleeves - they just don't work. I follow pattern instructions to the letter and they just don't fit! I'm sure you know what I mean - you can't lift your arms above 45 degrees without pulling up the whole bodice!
If you know how to make 'em fit I'd love to know about it.

So Today I decided that I needed to adapt the a sleeveless dress pattern to include short sleeves. I made a muslin and drafted two styles of sleeve - both with gathers (Sorry didn't take photos). I had the problem I mentioned above. After much adjusting and redrafting I have a better sleeve, but I'm not 100% happy with it. - Keep going and make improvements. I'm going the make the dress out of a lovely floral fabric I bought in China, and if the sleeves don't work I'll just take them off!

I also adapted the dress pattern to make a blousey top with a yoke. I have some nice drapy fabric, given to me by my MIL. Hopefully it will turn out better than the effort at a blouse that the one I tried to make on Saturday - without using any kind of pattern = Epic Fail.

Watch this space as to the results!

As an aside, I've been accompanied in my sewing and drafting by the sound of bubbling beer. John is making his first brew! To go with it he's designed bottle labels, in his usual fun and bonkers style. Life is never dull in this house - the photo session to achieve this was definitely fun!

pop over to Handmade Monday and see what everyone else has been up to.


  1. Clare - have you tried increasing the width of your bodice slightly? I always think a sleeveless dress can have a more fitted bodice...

    As to the beer, my childhood soundtrack is hearing the sudden explosions of my father's homemade beer/wine/cider as the yeast went into overdrive... don't ever let him rest it in the airing cupboard - t'was like the Texas Chain Saw Massacre when the Blackberry Wine went up...

  2. a petal sleeve should give you a little more motion

  3. Sleeves sound simple till you try to design one. From my years drerssmaking (many, many years ago!) I'd say sleeves are fuller than you'd expect them to be, and even and ungathered sleeve has a lot of fullness to ease in. Best of luck (might be worth looking at some dress patterns if you can for shapes or a dress pattern designing book).

  4. Thanks for all the advice on the sleeves issue. will try those out.

    Ros - thankfully we don't have an airing cupboard so it will be the garage that gets it if they explode. We managed to explode Elderflower champagne last year, but all is under control so far!

  5. I'm hopeless with sleeves. I'm altering a couple of outfits for myself and the sleeves are my nightmare. Good luck with yours.

    Jan :o)

  6. I wouldn't even try dress-making so I think you're brilliant to do it!
    Jo x

  7. Pretty cool post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to saythat I have really liked reading your blog posts. I have bookmarked this for my friends. Keep blogging.


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