To Make My Oversleeves
I used my own version of Jean Hunnisett's sleeve pattern (see Links
conjunction with Bess's sleeve patterns to make my sleeves. I found
that Jean Hunnisett's seemed to be slightly the wrong shape for the sleeve
shape I wanted.
What I used:
Fabric the same as the fabric for the main gown
Lining fabric the same as that used for the main gown
The lining of the turned back cuffs can be fur, the same as the main gown
fabric, or I used velvet the
same colour as my main gown
The method for working
out the amounts needed will be explained below.
1. Make the Pattern:
The pattern shape of
my sleeves is shown right. The sleeve needs to fit fairly
tightly to the upper arm. If you have never made any sleeves before,
the shape of the sleeve at the top is important to allow movement at the
back of the shoulder. This sleeve makes a sort of tapered turn back,
if you want a different shape such as the much squarer shapes of Mary's
reign, experiment with some calico to get the right pattern shape.
length from where you want the sleeve to start on your shoulder to about
6-7 cm above your elbow.
The length from the end of A to 4 or 5 cm longer than your fingers when
your arm is
To find this length, decide how far down your body you want your sleeve
to fall, hold your arm outstretched and ask a friend to measure from where
point A is to where you want the sleeve to fall. Multiply this measurement
by 2 to find measurement C.
2. Cut out the Fabric:
You need to make up two sleeves of identical shapes for each finished sleeve.
One is the lining (parts E & F) and one is of the top fabric (part
D). Remember to include seam allowance (SA).
Make sure that if you have a pattern on your main gown fabric (part D),
that the top of the pattern is at the top of the sleeve!
The gown lining fabric (part E) only lines the very top part of the sleeve
and is sewn to the sleeve lining fabric (part F), which lines the turned
back cuff and can be of whatever fabric you want. Fur, velvet and
the main gown fabric were popular choices - look at portraits to get an
idea of what would be appropriate.
3. Making up:
is a diagram of the making up process.
you have sewn part E to part F, you should pin and sew part D to parts
E/F, along where the
line is (right sides together).
out the sleeve so it looks like the diagram in 1,
then fold the sleeve in half, right sides
and sew along where the blue line is.
If you decide to use velvet like I did, unless you've sewn it before, you
will not know how difficult it is to work with as it slips around a lot.
To make it easier to sew, instead of pinning in a parallel line along the
SA, pin very frequently at right angles to the SA to keep the velvet in
4. Attaching the
sleeves to the bodice:
If you have a sewing
machine that is capable of sewing around small 'tube' shapes, machine sew
the main fabric to the main fabric of the bodice at the arm hole.
This will make it a stronger joint.
Push the sleeve lining
up inside itself, open the bodice (this gives the best access to the inside
of the arm hole) and hand sew the lining in place.
5. Securing the turned
You will need a friend
to help you with this. Put the bodice on and ask a friend to arrange
the cuff so that it hangs exactly the way you want. Get your friend
to safety pin the cuff at the back of your upper arm where you want it.
When you take the bodice off, you can sew the cuff to the back of the sleeve
to keep it in place. I have sewn a cluster of three tear-drop pearls
here on my gown, to hide the stitches.
Don't make the mistake I did! I assumed that the cuffs would meet
at the back of the upper arm where the seam was, and that the seam of the
cuff would be right at the bottom of the cuff when it was in place...this
is not the case. To get the ideal look, the seam placement should
be ignored! I hope this makes sense!
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