Wednesday, December 31, 2008

BWOF 07•08•133: Redesigning the Sleeve

I just completed a major redesign. It's no accident if that sentence sounds like I just finished a complex home remodel. That's exactly how I feel. My goal was to change the 3/4 sleeve with drawstrings on BWOF 07•08•133 to a standard long sleeve with cuffs. It took me many hours, (spread over 3 days and interrupted by a trip to visit my sister), about 6 feet of tracing paper and about 2 yards of muslin to come up the new sleeve. Whew! To lengthen the sleeve while maintaining the seams, I used the "Pivot and Slide" method described in Fitting Finesse (Zieman, 1995) or Pattern Fitting with Confidence (Zieman, 2008). I drafted the bottom of the sleeve to accommodate a cuff using Couture: The Art of Fine Sewing (Carr, 1993).

The process was made more difficult because of the placement and number of seams in the sleeves. It would have been simpler if there were only one underarm seam. (But, nooooo!) I had to draft the bottom of the sleeve as if it had one underarm seam, include register marks so the pieces could be matched accurately, then cut it apart and tape it to match the two pieces of the sleeve.

Click to enlarge
It would have been easier if I'd just lengthened the sleeve and left off the drape for the cuff. But, Roberta Carr said the drape is necessary; who am I to argue? At this point, I haven't cut the fashion fabric nor started sewing, so I don't know how this will all work out. The muslin still looks like a sleeve after my nips and tucks, so I'm encouraged.

Several times during this ordeal process, I considered quitting and making the sleeves as shown. I also thought about asking for help from Online Sewing Buddies. But, I wanted to feel the sense of accomplishment that comes from overcoming a challenge. I got out of bed before 6 AM - on a vacation day - to work on this sleeve! That's how committed I was!

After I finished this pattern work, I took down my Christmas decorations and did the associated house cleaning. After completing both tasks, I wondered which was more difficult.


  1. It may have seem diffcult, but I known you feel so good inside to have accomplish something out of your comfort zone. You go girl!

  2. Well congrats on working toward accomplishing one of your big goals. You are to be commended on that. Looking forward to seeing this blouse on you.

  3. I don't know which I enjoyed more, that you tackled this challenge or that you used proper academic citation of your sources! I so understand the drive to do both!

  4. Congrats! What an accomplishment. I know it was tough, but don't you feel empowered somehow? You now know you *can* do these sorts of things. I'm always changing things, but I still get moments of uncertainty like, "What in the world was I thinking?!? There is no way this is going to work!". It does, somehow, work out in the end.

  5. Congratulations, these are the thing that bring more confidence in your own skills. Looking forward to the blouse.
    Happy new year to you!

  6. Happy New Year!
    Congratulations! I'm sure the changes will be a success, so I'm looking forward to seeing the finished blouse :)

  7. Happy New Year!
    What a neat accomplishment! Redesigning a pattern is no small feat.