Friday, February 20, 2009


Sleeves are the bane of some people's existence, or maybe it's armholes.....
I find them fascinating-they can be many different shapes and they can be challenging or simple.
I have a number of drafting techniques I use for sleeves depending on the garment. These will be the sleeves for the doublet in the previous posts. I decided not to do a "period sleeve" per se, but adapt a general sleeve technique for my purpose. I started with drafting a one piece sleeve block, and I use the Natalie Bray basic technique for women's sleeves to do this.
(I generally tend to adapt patterning techniques to suit my purposes and generally, women's sleeve pattern basics and manipulations are what is required for many men's period sleeve shapes.)

Then I make a two piece sleeve from that. This gives me a front seam that is quite forward unlike a tailored suit sleeve which has the front seam lower or more under the arm.
This will be the sleeve base.

This is the "puff" and the lower forearm pattern that will go on top of the sleeve base. The upper section will gather or pleat into the lower close fitting section. This sleeve will be able to be buttoned closed from top to bottom along the front seam. In the sketch, the forearm section is closed and the puff is open to display the shirt underneath. Except that there is no shirt proper-I've been asked to fake the shirt underneath. OK. That just complicates things, but ok. There will also be a lace decorative cuff that will look as though it is a shirt cuff that turns up over the hem of the doublet sleeve.

The complications I can see are:
I think that I need the sleeve base to control the extra length that is gained in making the puff sleeve.
The forearm section is quite fitted, and will have to unbutton a bit for the actor to put his hand in and out
The decorative cuff doesn't open at the same place as the doublet sleeve.
The sleeve base also needs to undo for putting the garment on and off. I don't want it to fasten at the front because then there will be closures on top of closures.

The inner sleeve base could open at the back seam, and the decorative cuff could attach to it. Maybe.

I think we'll make it up in the real fabric leave lots of seam allowances in case of designer changes and see what transpires. I don't know if I've made it big enough, or if I've allowed enough extra length in the puff along the front seam either....
We'll see.

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