Sunday, December 14, 2008

Weekend Project: Nothing Up My Sleeves!

I have a tendency to wear my mind on my sleeve
I have a history of taking off my shirt
from the song "One Week" by Barenaked Ladies

Due to the Christmas rush of sewing up gifts for several family members, I find myself having a somewhat unusual opportunity. Within the same week, I am able to compare two different pattern approaches to the same basic garment component - the sleeve. Here are the two patterns that I am using:

On your left is the Simplicity pattern that I am using to make a long sleeved shirt for my oldest nephew and on your right is the McCall's Palmer & Pletsch pattern that I am using to make a long sleeved shirt for my grandmother.

And here are the two sleeve patterns (same arrangement - Simplicity, then McCall's):

Probably the first difference that jumps out at you is in the sleeve caps. Here is a closer view of those two sleeve caps:

So why did Palmer and Pletsch modify the traditional sleeve pattern?

The answer is simple, yet ingenious - they did it in order to make the plackets easier to sew. More specifically, they shifted the location of the sleeve side seam, in order to have that seam align with the placket. Take a closer look at the bottom sections of the two patterns (again, Simplicity, then McCall's):

In the Simplicity version, I have to cut into the solid fabric of the sleeve to form the placket. In the McCall's version, I simply make the placket at the bottom of the sleeve's side seam.

Now, this does make a difference in the final shirt. In the Simplicity shirt (which I haven't sewn yet, so no pictures - sorry), the sleeve seam will be under the arm and line up with the side seam of the shirt.

In the McCall's shirt, the sleeve seam falls along the back of the arm and lines up with the yoke on the back of the shirt. Here are some pictures:

First, a full view of the sleeve and shoulder from the back of the shirt.

Next, a close-up of the shoulder area (still from the back).

Finally, a close-up of the cuff, placket and side seam. See how nicely the placket emerges at the bottom of the seam?

You'll probably notice that I didn't line up the plaids very well with this pattern. That may have been easier with the other pattern, I'm not sure. But I can tell you that this placket was very easy to make.

I'm about to start working on my nephew's shirt, with the Simplicity pattern. I expect that his plackets will be more difficult, and probably won't look quite as clean and neat... We'll see.

Someday, when I'm not as rushed, I'm going to figure out how to modify sleeve patterns myself so that the plackets are along the side seams. I'm also going to figure out how to get plaids to match with this modified pattern. You know, in my free time... ;)


Anonymous said...

Thank you for this wonderful post! I always learn so much from you!

Did you see the November 2008 Threads article on Mastering the Sleeve Placket? It was very informative!

Joanne said...

I like the plaid you're working with, it's very comforting, and timely - a big trend this fashion season!

Summerset said...

Neat comparison. Redrafting that sleeve shouldn't be difficult - provided you have time to do so!