Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Marfy's Sleeves Weren't Good Enough for Me

Hello readers! I'm afraid it's been a little while between posts :( I've succumbed to the summertime temptation of wearing swimsuits instead of sewing them and cooking without wearing a camera! But hey I'm not going to dwell on it because

Hopefully someone still remembers my most recent project ;) That is: my quest to recreate this Marfy pattern using minimal, mainly Google-derived pattern-drafting skills: 

                               Marfy's pattern --> my pattern. NOT THE FINISHED GARMENT. Just the muslin ;) 
In my last blog post, I covered how I drafted the body of the dress and the color-blocked style lines using dart rotation and princess seams. This time, I'm going to explain how I drafted the sleeves to go along with my Marfy knock-off. 

And guess what: they're not the sleeves in the Marfy pattern! I decided that to add a little pizzazz to my final garment, I'm going to design some crazy avant-garde sleeves. Because what's the point of customizing a pattern if it's not going to be custom?

But first things first. I figured that before I started constructing my original-by-Anelise shoulder adornments it was probably smart to start with a basic sleeve block. The best style for what I was looking to make was a simple tight-fitting set-in sleeve.

Thankfully, I found an excellent tutorial online for how to create a set-in sleeve from scratch using just a bodice pattern! This tutorial is not an exact science and I am positive it is not correct pattern-drafting technique but hey, it worked, and I ended up with a sleeve that fit my garment perfectly. My only comment is that sleeve cap ease (the fullness, or puffiness of the sleeve at the shoulder) using this tutorial is directly correlated to ease in the sleeve band (the part that goes around your arm), so if you're looking for something specific like a really full sleeve you might have to use more sophisticated techniques. But I ended up with this beautiful little pattern!

Excuse the sharpie marks...
My own drafted-by-hand-actually-resembles-a-bell-shape sleeve pattern! Whoopee!!!
Now for the fun stuff!
My sleeve design was influenced by the fabric I'm using for my final dress. It's entirely plated in clear square sequins (not tacky sequins--please) and sort of reminds me of armor. In that vein, I was inspired by the overlapping plates of metal that form the curved shoulder of a suit of armor.

Picture courtesy of jacksonbrown.com
My aspiration for the shoulder detailing was to create a series of overlapping curved flaps of fabric that bridge the shoulder and jut out slightly to give some drama and some volume. 

By sort of squinting and thinking really hard about it, I realized you could achieve this effect with a flat, trapezoidal piece of fabric. Picture a symmetrical isosceles trapezoid.

Image courtesy of Matt66.com
If you pinch the flat shape so that the non-parallel edges (DA and CB) were perpendicular to the shorter base (DC) and parallel to each other, the longer edge (AB) would push upwards into an arch. The result would be a curved, grounded, vaguely arch-shaped construction. 

I came up with a pattern piece utilizing this idea:

The trapezoid is created by doubling the purple section along the (yellow) fold line. Then the protruding edge of the trapezoid (marked by the red dashed line) is lined up flush to the flat blue section. The result: a beautiful self-lined arch made out of one continuous piece of fabric! By putting together a bunch of these little units on-end one, you can create a whole sting of (possibly overlapping) flaps. 

Who wants a picture?

Isn't it cute??? And look at how nice and clean the bottom looks: 

It's pretty simple to put together...and I took pictures of that too.

Start from the lowest end (that's from the perspective of the sleeve; in other words, the end farthest from the shoulder); that way you can overlap the flaps properly. 
Fold the diamond-ish protruding pattern piece in half to make the desired trapezoid
Line up the trapezoid with the flat edge of your pattern piece.
I wanted a line of these ridges running, not only down the sleeve, but also across the shoulder. So I decided to make the top of the shoulder and the outer edge of the sleeve a single straight panel. 

I cut out a band of fabric from the shoulder area and a band of the same width from the top of the bell of the sleeve. These two pieces together would be replaced by my decorated shoulder/sleeve piece.
Another nice thing about my ridged design is that it conforms really well to the shoulder shape without any additional darts or fitting. Obviously, the armscye (armhole) and the sleeve are not the same shape; the discrepancy between the pieces accommodates the shape and movement of the shoulder. It means that if I wanted to use a flat piece of fabric to encompass both the shoulder and the sleeve, I would have had to use darts to add curvature; but the pleating I used above curves naturally so !no extra fitting!

I then drafted a pattern piece that would come out to roughly the same length as the combined shouldercap/outer sleeve after pleating. It looks like part of a dinosaur costume.

Of course, to some people it probably looks like I am making a dinosaur costume ;) 

When I had the final sleeve pattern all drafted out, I made (yet another!) muslin of the finished shoulder-sleeve complex (well, technically a one-quarter muslin that just covered the top right portion of my body...but nonetheless)

Just in case anyone was wondering, F is for front. 

Pretty cool, huh?

And perhaps the best part is, after I was done cutting out this 1/4 muslin, I could convince myself that I had little enough sea-green floral fabric remaining to justify its residence in my fabric chest any longer.

I shed no tears for this fabric!
So now, officially...

My first complete, in it's entirety, usable, wearable self-drafted pattern!

Next time I post a garment, it will be an actual dress made with this pattern...and I'll get to see if it's really as awesome as I think it is ;) 

No comments:

Post a Comment