Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Sleeves are evil

Okay, I'll admit, right now most things seem evil. (Like static, and straight pins, and plywood, and....) Nonetheless, sleeves can be a daunting project, especially if you're not working from any kind of pattern. As someone who tends to go, "Eh? Pattern? Why would I need one of those?", I want you all to know that I feel your pain, and I am here to attempt to help!

In my "helpful" attempt, I thus provide you with a tutorial on drafting and sewing sleeves. I know the page says "How to Sew Puff Sleeves," but take my word that this tutorial will help you understand sleeves better overall. It gives a very good explanation on how to make your own sleeve pattern. Yes, there's some math involved, but it's worth it. Before I leave you to continue work on the King of Static Cling (aka Jae-ha), I offer you a few tips gleaned from my own experience.

  1. Attaching the sleeves is way easier with a dress form. If you don't have access to one, see if you can steal a sibling or random passerby to pose with your shirt/dress/etc. while you pin sleeves on. If they object, be sure to poke them with pins.
  2. Be mindful - you can make a sleeve that's hard to get in and out of. Seriously, you don't want to do a creative wiggle every time you put on your creation. I learned that the hard way.
  3. Technically speaking, there are two ways to attach sleeves. One is "on the flat", which means you don't sew the front and back pieces together first. You sew them together at the shoulders, then pin the sleeve, and sew it literally flat. Then you do this one continuous seam up each side and down the sleeves. It's generally considered the "quick and dirty" way of sewing sleeves. The other way is actually sewing the front and back together, leaving armholes, and then pinning and sewing the sleeves to the armholes. I learned with the second method, so that's what I use. They say the first is easier, but I have never tried it, so I am not the best person to ask about that.
  4. Even if your arm fits through the armhole, you may have a hard time wiggling into the sleeve. Do a couple pinned or basted (depending on your pain tolerance) fittings before you officially sew the sleeve to make sure it's going to be comfortable, or at least livable. I personally have big biceps, and I have to accommodate that in my sleeve-drafting.
  5. Stare hard at that character's sleeves before you make any assumptions. If they're like Jae-ha, they're ready and willing to have fitted sleeves that are thinner at the elbow and wide at the shoulders and wrists. Which is, if you hadn't guessed, a pain in the butt. My point here, besides Jae-ha's general screwing with me, is don't assume the character's sleeves adhere to a straight line. You need to check if you are concerned with accuracy. And the same fitting rules apply here - make sure that fitted middle part, should ever you have it, fits your wrist and isn't a pain to squeeze into. If it starts to be a problem, consider using buttons or snaps hidden under a flap of fabric which you can fasten once it's on. Sure, it's cheating, but if you hide it well......
That's all I can think of right now. If I think of more things as the days go by and I work on these blasted sleeves, I'll blog them on Happy sewing, and may your characters be kinder than Jae-ha!

1 comment:

  1. Wow! What a great posting! I tried the "how to" for sleeve making -- truly excellent and really well laid out and understandable. Love your blog! Love you, dear niece!