Marfy sew along 1756 Pt 14 - Sleeves and sleeve heads

Marfy sew along 1756 Pt 14 - Sleeves and sleeve heads

I will keep this one short and sweet, as I know I don't need to show how to insert a sleeve :-)


I do want to talk briefly about the style and shape of the sleeve itself.

It took me a while,  when I first started using Marfy patterns to appreciate that their illustrations are not drawn to exaggerate a style as most croquis are but instead represent an accurate depiction of the finished garment.

and I know you've all made your muslin's and have probably made sleeve adjustments , but sometimes what's seen in a cotton will look completely different in a wool or similar.

The sleeve is one of those examples I think.

The cut of this sleeve is consistent with most of Marfy's jacket and coat designs... its a very high, very narrow sleeve head...made to elongate.   If you imagine a triangle with the shoulders being the widest part, then the narrowest part will give the illusion of a much smaller torso and waist.

Its truly a European look, and while it takes a little getting used to...especially if you are used to the American wide cap and ease, do try it...its incredibly flattering (and crazy comfortable!)

So, don't panic if you first fit the sleeves and they look odd!   spend a minute or two getting used to how it looks,  compare them to the picture above and wear the jacket for a while to see how you feel...



I admit to being very particular about how my sleeves look, I find it to be the most difficult and frustrating part of any jacket.

It's become my nemesis, which is why this post is late.

I had my sleeves all set and finished, and I kept coming back to them....they really were fine but after all the time and money I've spent on this jacket ....fine is meh and frustrating.

So I took them apart, had them unravel in my hands down past the seam allowance the second they were free and have spent the last two days rebuilding them...  and now they are much better and once steamed and catch stitched great I think! ...

(The dress form shoulder stops short of mine below - hence the collapsed look!)

The top of the sleeve should have a gentle roll, and stand ever so slightly above the seam allowance...its a fairly high end look and one often seen in really expensive men's suit...

Image from here

I used the French jacket method to join my sleeve to the bodice, pinning by hand from the outside so I could control the amount of roll I wanted..

(Obviously, this can only be achieved if your fabric has some weight or heft, a thin gaberdine, cotton  or linen will never look like this)

This was the initial pinning, just to get them vaguely in the right place ..and then I played around until I was happy - (having a grainline running down your sleeve here is invaluable, its much easier to spot if you are pinning them crocked and off grain)

As you might spot above, I had to join some additional fabric to the sleeve as there was nothing left to sew...these fabrics might be complete diva's, but they are also very forgiving if you need to patch things in  (and apparently it's a very common practice in couture houses to add here and there...)

I basted my sleeves by hand, (my left hand inside the jacket keeping the seams together  while sewing with my right)

Then I flipped the jacket to the inside and machine sewed around the entire armseye..



A sleeve head is a strip of bias fabric used to stop the upper sleeve from collapsing and/or dimpling..

They provide stability for the sleeve at the shoulder join, and help support that nice sleeve roll you've just made.

You can buy sleeve heads in a variety of sizes and fabrics, widths and colours but they are easy to make, if you have ice wool, felt, or wool scraps.

The first sleeve head is bought from Steinlauf and stoller and the second is three layers of bias ice wool scraps I had...

I personally like my sleeve heads quite thick as I have wide shoulders and a broad seems to visually balance out the jacket on me..

So if you are making your own, experiment.  Its much easier to reduce layers and length than add to it.

I generally cut mine almost the length of my entire internal sleeve (but 10 - 12" is more normal)  and about 2" wide.

 and then baste them very quickly into the sleeve before trying it on.

Snip, trim and manipulate them until you are happy, and then sew them outside of the seam line with a machine stitch.

If you have a crazy fraying fabric like me, trim the allowances down to a managable 1" or so and then hand over stitch (hand serging!)  or machine zig zag all the seam edges together to stop further disintergration.

You will be trying to create a firm upper sleeve, one that that falls slightly away from the shoulder seam and slightly out but also looks supported and tailored...

and trimmed to approx 1" width in want the sleeve head to support the arms eye but not go further than that...or you will find the sleeve will drop awkwardly from that ledge...


Colette has a small article here

Mel of Poppykettle got fancy and drafted hers here!

Craftsy has some info here

Paper, scissors, cloth has a tutorial here  


Tomorrow,  let's sew our front facing's.

Wednesday, we can add our pockets, hem the jacket and talk trim..

Friday we can add hooks and eyes and prepare a lining.


Have a great afternoon!


Marfy sew along 1756 Pt 15 - Facings

Marfy sew along 1756 Pt 15 - Facings

Marfy sew along 1756 Pt 13 - Back stays, back and side construction

Marfy sew along 1756 Pt 13 - Back stays, back and side construction