Sleeve madness

I have gone a little crazy with sleeves this past week or two. So crazy, in fact, that I cannot even remember what project I was working on when I decided that I needed to refresh my sleeve making skills (quite a mystery as my last two sewing projects were sleeveless!)

I had posted this sleeve block "how to" a little while back, but also realised that the job is not quite done once the sleeve is drafted.

There is still the issue of checking that the sleeve fits in the armhole, and working out how much ease is in the sleeve cap.

Once you know how much ease there is in the sleeve cap, you may want to increase or decrease this amount to change the fit of the sleeve.

The amount of ease needed in the sleeve cap depends on a number of factors - the type of fabric you will be using (for example,  jersey won't need any ease in the pattern as it can be stretched into the armhole, although woven fabrics will need some ease) as well as the style of sleeve and will take some experimentation.

I came to a bit of a mental hurdle when I decided to start on the tutorial on how to adjust the amount of ease in the sleeve cap (I do recall my patternmaking teacher at uni just urging me to change the curve until it met my requirement, but I assumed there must be a more accurate and predictable way!)

After lots of internet trawling (which made me wish my patternmaking books were with me here in London, or that my local library was better equipped), I found a couple of methods that made sense to me. I decided to make two separate tutorials - as the methods alter the amount of ease and distribute it in two different ways.

This method is appropriate if you do not want to increase/decrease the bicep circumference of the sleeve (you are happy with the width of the sleeve at the fullest part of your arm), but can afford to increase/decrease the cap height. 

By cutting down the grainline and along the bicep line, you will be able to adjust the length of the sleeve cap.

The second method will increase or decrease the length of the bicep, but will not alter the cap height. 

You will be evenly distributing the ease throughout the sleeve by using the 'cut and spread' technique to open the cap line by the same amount at each of the guidelines.

If it is a large amount of ease (over 3cm) you are wanting to add or remove, you may want to combine the two techniques avoid getting a sleeve with a very flat (if you are adding ease) or pointy (if you are removing ease) sleeve cap.

After thinking about ease for far too long, I moved on to the dropped shoulder.

A dropped shoulder is when the shoulder point (and therefore the sleeve cap) of the garment lies beyond the natural shoulder point.

The curve of the shoulder is distributed between the bodice and the sleeve (rather than all in the sleeve cap as it is in a set-in sleeve). 

And then I was so crazy from being entrenched in sleeve land, that I decided to make a sleeveless dress!