Thursday, August 13, 2015

More progress – sleeve

In this jacket I chose to use the “sleeve wrap” method instead of the more conventional sleeve head. I first saw this method used in one of Ann Rowley’s jackets and kind as she is, she has a photo tutorial in her Flicker album. I’ve used it once before when doing a course in making a classic tailored jacket.

This is how it looks like on the inside.


And here on the outside.

front jacket 

Lyndle asked how and when I add seam allowance, on the fabric or the pattern and whether I use the actual seam lines. I absolutely prefer to work with the seam lines and not often add the default seam allowances. I use wax tracing paper to trace the actual seamlines to my fabric and use those during construction. That paper is a normal sewing notion in the shops here.

That said this jacket is a break from that routine: the fabric would not take marking with wax tracing paper and a lot of fusibles were applied too. I cut with the 1.5 cm (5/8”) seam allowance added to the paper pattern, but still mark the actual seamlines on crucial points after applying the fusibles. For example the top of princess seams, the top of sleeve seams, the neckline corner. I love the accuracy of working with the seamlines. It’s how I learned to sew, patterns with added seam allowances were something I did not know till I bought my first Vogue pattern (pretty sure that was a Claude Montana pattern), and then I was in my twenties and had been sewing for over 10 years. Never got used to patterns with added seam allowances.

seam allowance marked  

In above picture you can see the curved ruler that’s 5/8”wide which I used to mark the corner. Claire sells them again, also in metric measurements. I use them regularly, they’re such a handy tool.


  1. Now you got me intrigued with the sleeve wrap method,...
    I've also learned to sew without added SAs to the pattern, and it was only when I first tried Vogue patterns that I found out about them. I slowly started to incorporate them when tracing BurdaStyle and Patrones patterns (only when I was pretty sure about the fit though) but I always thread traced corners, darts and main lines like CF for ex. With my current project (the Susan Khalje's jacket pattern) I went back to no added SAs, and it felt somehow liberating,... it's more time consuming with all the thread tracing but it pays off in accuracy. If all the lines are thread basted, the cut SAs are wide enough and the pattern was previously checked for its measurements, I find little use for a muslin (the garment can be basted and tested on fashion fabric directly), unless there are major fitting issues to deal with. That's how I learned to sew (when I was 11-12) with a professional seamstress that lived next door; she always tested the fit on the fashion fabric giving the amount of ease and allowances enough for any adjustment. There were several fittings along the construction process (I thing I remember three fittings) and the fit could be refined while the construction evolved.

  2. I too am intrigued with the sleep head wrap. How are you attaching it? How wide is the strip, or are you cutting it to the shape of your sleep cap?

  3. I learned that sleeve wrap method on a tailoring course too (through the English Couture Co in the UK), I really like using it, I think it gives a nice smooth shape to the sleeve.

  4. I learned to sew with seam allowances but much prefer to not have them now. Much easier to alter if you need to. The sleeve wrap is a nice technique.