I've gotten pretty good at pattern drafting since I started to teach myself about two years ago. Sleeves, however, have continued to befuddle me. I see the ability to make a good, well fitted sleeve as a distinction between beginning and advanced pattern makers.  It also opens up possibilities for the types of garments I can make and their appropriateness for womens' wardrobes.  Living in Vermont, it's not fair to expect to make cute, sleeveless sundresses all year round!!  
I've done some short sleeves that look fine (see above), but as you can see, they fan out a bit. That means that they don't work as extended long sleeves. They result in a comfortable yet baggy and unflattering sleeve appropriate only for cave dwellers.
I've been sweating it out with my long sleeve pattern for a long time now--I started on my vacation last September, fiddled w/ it some more in January, then said  AHGHGHGHG I can't do this anymore and set my sights back to sleeveless summer designs. 

Here is one of the earlier patterns. Once I got a good look at the back I realized it was sagging and drooping. It seemed that once I fixed that issue, it was too tight. And on and on and on.

Today, June 17, I think I finally got it! A combination of coffee, DBT skills and reviewing some helpful alteration books got me to "as good as it's going to get for now" with my sleeve.
Plus don't you just love the awesome brown floral I'm using for muslin? It is a sheet set I got at Salvation Army--hence why I'm not using it to make anything for sale. Please excuse my looking like an ancient troll that just climbed out from under a dirty rock. It's Sunday morning after all.

To those struggling to make a sleeve sloper or modify a commercial pattern, I wish I could offer hard and fast advice. Unfortunately what you'll need to do is entirely contingent on the shape of the wearer's arm and torso. I found The Perfect Fit and Fit for Real People quite helpful. Sewing books and even pattern drafting books don't offer much in the way of alteration except in a pretty basic sense.



06/17/2012 10:04

Hahah! Ancient troll... no you don't!
Those look like sleeve-y sleeves to me! Well done :)


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