|The boneyard of fabric scraps...and sleeves. At least they can become trim for the gown, and not go totally to waste.|
Sleeves of one cut or another have gone on and off this bodice countless times in the last three days. Finally last night I decided to crack the nut and figure out what the hell is up with sleeves...and how to beat them at their evil games.
So here are some things I have learned about sleeves in the past 24 hours...
- 17 inches seems to be the magic number for the circumference of the armscyes. (PLEASE tell me if I've got this wrong, master pattern drafters!) I measured the armscyes of a handful of my ready-made patterns, and they all ended up to be 17 inches.
- The length of the seam line of the sleeve head should match that 17 inches, if the sleeve cap is to be set in smoothly, a la 18th century.
- If the armscye binds, drop the underarm seam - picked up from The Perfect Fit: The Classic Guide to Altering Patterns.
- It's better (for me) to have a high and narrow sleeve head rather than a long and shallow one. (though I am not totally sure of the benefits and drawbacks of both, at this point)
- Always add ease at the side seams. Always. Do it.
- Mark the grain lines of the sleeve (vertical line from shoulder point, horizontal line at bicep) before basting the mock-up to the bodice, and trying on - the vertical line should hang nice and straight from the shoulder. If it doesn't, rotate the sleeve cap fore or aft until the line is straight. For me, I have shoulders that roll forward, so I needed to rotate my sleeve cap forward in the armscye.
|"The Perfect Fit" on the left, and a marked-up sleeve toile on the right.|