Drafting a Sleeve Pattern for the Mauve Italian Gamurra
The mauve gamurra is nearly done. The one remaining item is to finish the sleeves. While I have numerous sleeve patterns from Margo Anderson’s collection, none of them match the sleeve design I want to use based on the inspirational dress from the television show The Borgias.
The sleeve on the inspiration dress is a two part tied on sleeve. The first part is over the upper arm and the second part is over the lower arm and they are connected by what appears to be ribbon. The top half of the sleeve is velvet to match the bodice and has the center trim on the sleeve. The lower sleeve is silk to match the skirt of the dress. Basically, I have to draft two different pieces for this sleeve. The sleeve is a tie on sleeve; so, it does not have to match an armscye– or armhole– on the bodice
The sleeve on the inspiration dress is a two part tied on sleeve. The first part is over the upper arm and the second part is over the lower arm and they are connected by what appears to be ribbon. The top half of the sleeve is velvet to match the bodice and has the center trim on the sleeve. The lower sleeve is silk to match the skirt of the dress. Basically, I have to draft two different pieces for this sleeve. The sleeve is a tie on sleeve; so, it does not have to match an armscye– or armhole– on the bodice.
Starting with the upper sleeve I looked at what I needed to draft to fit. I am fat and I have what I refer to bat wings on my upper arms. This makes fitting a sleeve to me rather quarrelsome, as I end up fighting with the fit an awful lot and never end up with a great fit. As you can see from the below photo (please forgive the bra/cami look–it afforded the best view of the bat wing), I have the bat wing that hangs rather ponderously below my arm from the top to towards the elbow but does not go all they way to the elbow. This means that my sleeve “tube” needs to be significantly wider at the top and middle than right above the elbow. In practical terms you can only narrow the sleeve so fast which means the sleeve will be tighter around the bat wing and somewhat looser near the elbow.
I took some measurements from around the largest part of the bat wing, from where I want the sleeve to start on my shoulder to where I want it to end above my elbow, and from where I wanted it to start under my arm and where I wanted it to end above my elbow. Next I rough sketched a sleeve pattern on an envelope to figure out what shape I would need before drafting it to size.
As you can tell, this was a very rough back of the the envelope sketch of what I was going to need to draft. The measurements came from my initial measurements that I took previously plus a 5/8 in seam allowance. 23 inches was the measurement around my bat wing. 9 inches was the measurement from armpit to elbow. 12 inches was the measurement from top of shoulder to elbow. The curve on the top was a guess at the shape I was going to need.
The next step was to take this sketch and create a full size pattern with these measurements and shape. I also refined my shape a little and made the outside edges pull in towards the elbow a bit.
From this pattern I made a mock up from some scrap fabric and looked at the fit (the seams at the top and bottom were not done so I left enough seam allowance to get the end look I desired). I ripped out my seam a couple times and adjusted where the seam fell and adjusted the angle on the edges more to try to taper the sleeve around the elbow. In the end, I ended up with a fit like this:
I ripped out the seam one last time and then drafted the final paper pattern from the cloth mock up. I employed the help my my artist wife to get the curves nice and even as I still have not purchased a French curve– which would have come in very handy for drawing this curve. The final pattern was more symmetrical for the curve at the shoulder and evened out the seam edges.
Now that I had a pattern for the upper half of the sleeve, I needed a pattern for the lower half of my arm. Again I looked at what I had to work with and took some measurements. I measured around the fattest part of my lower arm right under the elbow, over my wrist, and the distance between those two points.
I drafted an initial pattern. The pattern was a symmetrical trapezoid. The long base was the measurement around the fastest part of my lower arm, right under my elbow. The shorter base was the measurement around my wrist. The height was the distance between these two points.
I cut a mock up from an old sheet. I checked the fit and found that the top was too snug (it fit but it would not have allowed a voluminous camica under it) so I adjusted my pattern and added an inch to the top and readjusted the side angles. It looks a little long but the seam allowance on the top and the bottom are both not taken out.
The final pattern looked like this.