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Matching sleeve and armhole


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#1 Nishijin

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 11:21 PM

 

This thread was initiated by Schneidergott on the former Atelier section of the London Lounge. On his request, I publish here a digest of the discussion he had with Jefferyd. I claim not to be the author of this very interesting thread, but just the "editor" of the work of Shneidergott and Jefferyd. I hope I will have been faithfull to their words and meaning.


Drafting the sleeve head according to the armhole

Schneidergott posted a translation of the following instructions (from a German tailoring book from the 1960’s), to make them available for the english speaking world. Looking at all the badly set in sleeves, with bulging fabric in the back, it seems that this kind of information is not common knowledge.


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There is a sleeve draft included, but that is not what we will be discussing in this thread.

Look at Abb. 6 : this is the starting point by placing the sleeve pattern onto the front and side part pattern in the way displayed. The centre of the sleeve (indicated as 6 in the draft) has to match Zs1 at the armhole. Further down, the centre line is placed according to the customer’s stance.

The armhole should be fitted and corrected before drawing and adjusting the under sleeve shape accordingly : the black and white diagram in the middle (Abb. 7) shows how to do that.

Most tailors/ cutters already cut out the sleeves along with the rest of the coat. However, in many cases, alterations of the coat are made during the different fitting stages: usually, that is influencing the width and height/ depth of the armhole. The following image shows the changes necessary when for example the armhole diameter becomes smaller or bigger.

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On this plate, Abb. 1,2 &3 show different armholes from normal (Abb. 1) over a 1 cm enlarged one(Abb. 2) to a smaller, narrower one (Abb. 3) with -1 cm compared to the normal one. As you can clearly see, the shape of the armhole changes, so the shape of the sleeve has to change also.

Abb. 5 shows a regular sleeve, which will fit in the armhole shown with Abb. 1 if the lines from Ae to A match(see Abb. 6)

If you try to set the normal sleeve into an enlarged armhole, the following problems will occur(Abb. 7): Point A is moved further to the back and at point B the under sleeve will be too full, causing that bulge under the arm.

Abb. 8 shows what happens when the normal sleeve is set into a smaller armhole: Point A is moved to the front and it will need a strong gathering of the under sleeve to get it into the armhole, creating a baggy look.

Abb. 9 shows what changes need to be done to receive a well fitting and good looking sleeve. At the same amount that the under sleeve has to become larger the upper sleeve has to become smaller and the other way round.

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The sleeve cap must not only be matched to the armhole, but also to the coat itself. Here are some “rules” of major importance for the fit and comfort of the coat :
- for a coat with less additions to the body measurements (close-fitted back), the sleeve has to be wider to give some comfort for movement of the arms, since the back can not provide enough room.
- with a wider back the sleeve can (should ?) be narrower, as less ease is needed from the sleeve head.

This is shown with the sleeve draft diagrams( Abb. 10 to 12), where the sleeve head from A to B will have only 5 cm instead of 6 cm added to the armhole diameter. To get a somewhat broder under sleeve the line to shape it is drawn from u1 to B1( instead of u1 to B), moving point K1 closer to point K.

Abb. 13 and 14 show the final sleeve shape with the final seams placed onto each other.
Abb. 15 to 18 display the set in sleeve.




Here is another instruction, from a different magazine from about the same decade:

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Zeichnung 1 shows how to change the sleeve parts if the armhole diameter had been enlarged by 1 cm. At the upper sleeve the shoulder mark is moved 5 mm to the right(1/2 of 10 mm) and broadened to the right by again 5 mm. Same happens with the under sleeve.
The instruction on how to get the needed extra 10 mm into the under sleeve is as follows:
- Draw a vertical line at about the half of the under sleeve
- Measure 10 mm to the right
- Draw the new shape accordingly.


Zeichnung 2 shows how to adapt the sleeve head when the armhole is 10mm deeper.
- Move the front pitch down 10 mm
- Move the back pitch down only 5 mm.
- Deepening the armhole by 10mm makes the armhole width to become 20 mm larger. Of these 20mm, 10 mm are gained through heightening the sleeve head, leaving the rest to be added at upper and under sleeve 5 mm each.
Other changes must be done on the sleeve, as can be seen in Zeichnung 2 : note that to keep the correct sleeve length the sleeve has to be shortened at the hem if the sleeve head height is increased.


Zeichnung 3 shows the needed changes for a widened and deepened armhole. It is a combination of the aforementioned instructions.



Adapting ease to fabric type

The ease added in the sleeve head varies according to the type of cloth used : silk or tightly woven cloth allows less shrinking than loose weaves such as tweed, and the object is to shrink in as much as one can, but not too much.

One could conclude that, since the sleeve needs to be much bigger for the loose weave than the close weave, it seems ultimately more “rock of the eye” than rules and systems. Indeed, the systems help to cut a better sleeve draft, but in the end it is still a judgement call by the tailor and not the cutter, who cuts enough so the tailor can put in as much ease as he possibly can.

Nevertheless, some “systemic” indication can be used by the cutter to improve his draft. Depending on the weave (and the ease needed), the sleeve should be 7 to 12% larger than the armhole depending on the fabric, so silk, linen and rather stiff and/ or densely woven fabrics can have only 7 or 8%, while softer or more loosely woven fabrics, incl. flannel and tweed can have more. It could be tricky to go higher than 10% for the woollen cloth, since every millimetre extra means more gathering and shrinking.

Many cutters cut the sleeves with large inlays and seam allowances and then leave it to the tailor to deal with it. Does the cutter correct the sleeve after the first or second fitting when the armhole is finalised? Maybe he should not : if he already marks in the pitches and notches, it will be so much faster and easier for any tailor to set the sleeve in. And even then, there is still enough space for jugement of the eye. ;-)

The back pitch is normally 1/4 of the rear scye depth (back depth line to finished shoulder seam. You can then measure the distance from the side seam to that back pitch and add 7 mm or more (up to 15 mm depending on the cloth and the size of the armhole) and measure that distance on the under sleeve as well (starting from the side seam notch) and mark that point. At the sleeve head point one can measure 3,5 cm or up to 4 cm to the left and right, but measure only 3 cm from the shoulders down.
On Abb. 7 (the black & white sketch on page 96), there should be no width gathered from front pitch(Ae) to point Ad.

All the mentioned millimetres are of course not a rule, just a suggestion.



Adapting the sleeve to body proportion


In the end it depends on the experience and skill of the cutter and tailor how large a sleeve can be, but as always, extremes are no good. Here is an example:

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Armhole and sleeve need to be in good proportion, a huge sleeve for a slender person will look as bad as a tiny sleeve on a massive person.

If you have to have a wide sleeve to get the muscular arms into it then there are other ways than just draft an overall huge sleeve and (try to) gather all the extra width of the sleeve head. You can measure from font pitch to shoulder of the coat's front part and transfer that result plus 7 or 10% to the upper sleeve from front pitch to sleeve head point. Same do in the back. This way you can determine the unwanted width and take it out by cutting from the point between the notches down to the head height line and left and right. Make the notches match. Correct the shape of the sleeve head.

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(Before anybody crys out: "What a strange shape for a sleeve!", this is just a rough sketch done by hand.)



Drafting with checked cloth in mind


Some RTW practice can be adapted to bespoke drafting with good result :
- Always draft and adjust as if cutting a check, regardless of whether the fabric is checked or not. This way, when one achieves a succesful fit, one can keep the pattern for future garments and know that it will be balanced for checks.
- Always draft for the most difficult type of fabric. It is easy to be loose when working with tweeds but if you then come to cut that same pattern in a lighter fabric, there is usually some trouble. Great precision in the sleeve area is required.
-When drafting and trueing the sleeve, working with seam allowances stripped leads to greater accuracy.
- The shoulder and armhole should been fitted before drafting the sleeve (as already said) : this way, rather than adhering to a typical drafting system, one can use the real shape of the armhole to develop the shape of the sleeve.

Here is the instruction proposed by Jefferyd:

Once the armhole is fitted, strip the armhole seam allowance, and strike a plaid line perpendicular to the grain line, intersecting the front pitch. One reason for stripping the seam allowances is that notches (or balance marks) must be perpendicular to the seam edge : the angle of the seam can cause a balance mark to appear higher or lower than its actual position on the seam line, which will become clearer soon.
Place a crossmark along the scye seam line at the front pitch, and use THIS mark for matching, not the notch.
Extend a plaid line which will intersect the scye about 4” below the shoulder point, and here place a notch. The angle of the armhole is such that the notch appears lower than it should in order to intersect the plaid line exactly at the seam.
Measure line a-b along the seam line, not the cut edge. The little seeming variations in the positioning of the notches may seem insignificant, but in light, tightly-woven cloth it can make all the difference between success and failure (they have beel slightly exaggerated in the diagram so it is more clear).

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Begin the sleeve draft in the usual way.
Strike a line the length of the sleeve inseam, then two more ¾” on either side of this line. Square out form this point, then determine the crown height, which is usually around 1 1/8” lower than the average height of the shoulder points, with the seam allowances on, but will vary depending on the type of shoulder.
Determine that the inseam will intersect the armhole 3/8” forward of the side seam, match the sleeve draft to the front and trace off the lower armhole up to the front pitch, keeping the 3 straight lines of the sleeve draft perfectly perpendicular to the front grain line; the line of the sleeve will start to deviate away from the armhole about 1/8” at the pitch notch.
Now if you place a notch perpendicular to the sleeve seam line but which intersects at the correct point, you will see that it appears higher than it should but in reality is properly balance to the check line.

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This next step is important for the proper matching of checks. If the shoulder has been widened or narrowed the sleeve head neeeds to be adjusted, if the shoulder has been crooked or straightened, the head should also be adjusted to accommodate for the shift of the angle of the armhole relative to the plaid line.
The grain in the area between a and b on light worsteds permits no more than 3/16” fullness; any less, however, and the sleeve will draw up slightly when the sleeve head (rollino) has been inserted. It is a very fine point but often overlooked in many garments. In order to have precisely 3/16” fullness and also have a sleeve that will match correctly, now apply the measurement of line a-b plus 3/16” to the seam line of the sleeve, intersecting at the plaid line, labeled a1-b1.

When adjusting a sleeve which has already been drafted, measure the fullness between these two notches, always on the seam line, and readjust the head shape here.

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The undersleeve shape is developed from the shape of the side body armhole as shown in the german texts we’ve studyied. The position of the elbow seam (point K in the texts above) is where one can adjust for fullness. It is determined roughly at ¼ the breast less ¾”. Then, measure the armhole and sleeve head - any necessary adjustments to add or remove fullness are done mostly by shifting this point forward or backward as required.



Adapting the sleeve to costumer’s posture


In some systems (as in the Rundschau system), the construction lines and the grain (stripe) lines are not parallel. In others, all grain lines are kept parallel to the line squared down from the neck at center back.

More than just an drafting option, this is must be taking in consideration, as the setting of the sleeve depends on the customer’s posture : cutting the sleeve to the wrong posture should create pitch problems.

If we look at the page 96, we can see that the shape of the sleeve has been correctly balanced to the armhole, and that the sleeve is set to the natural posture of the customer, according to the position of the wearers arm. On a normal posture, it appears that the sleeve is sitting a bit forward of plumb: the position of the centre front of the sleeve is at ca. 1/2 of the pocket.
For an erect costumer, the sleeve is more plumb with the jacket, and the sleeve head pivotes. It must be adjusted accordingly : the undersleeve would need to be hollowed out, and the front curve adjusted a bit for it to fit properly.

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Now let’s have a look at this diagram. This is the upper part of a so called 50/50 sleeve, which makes pattern matching easier, since there isn't that much stretching involved because the sleeve parts are more or less equal at the seams.

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Instruction says: Draw a line from Dp (pivot) down to the hem( point H ). From there measure 1,5 cm to the left. Hold sleeve pattern at pivot and move the point H to the new point H1.

The old grain and base lines are kept, so if you then do the adjustment shown in Abb. 6 it might create matching patterns with the back. I have to try it once in a while.
The normal sleeve itself is not drafted into the armhole. It starts with a square, like so:

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One might try it with a mock up sleeve first. Adjusting the check if the pitch needs correction is a lot of work and means recutting most of the sleeve, that is with enough inlay left.
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#2 Sator

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Posted 22 April 2009 - 09:40 AM

It's wonderful to see this thread resurrected!

#3 Terri

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Posted 02 August 2010 - 12:04 AM

Good information. Thanks.

#4 posaune

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Posted 23 August 2010 - 06:50 PM

Hi Nishjin

can't see the pictures anymore. Is this my computer?

Lg
posaune

#5 J. Maclochlainn

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Posted 23 August 2010 - 07:22 PM

I can't see them either, looks like the extension moved or the images removed
Silly Cognoscenti, Drape is for windows!

#6 Sator

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Posted 24 August 2010 - 07:34 AM

This is why I started a move to host pictures on the forum in the Gallery area.

#7 Martin Stall

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Posted 24 August 2010 - 05:58 PM

So the thread is permanently broken? pity....
Sure, I believe your work rocks, but... have you considered, how are you going to sell that stuff?

http: under construction...

#8 Lokar

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Posted 24 August 2010 - 09:37 PM

Hopefully Nishijin still has the original images and can re-upload them.

#9 Martin Stall

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Posted 24 August 2010 - 09:47 PM

Oy, Nishi..... you out there?
Sure, I believe your work rocks, but... have you considered, how are you going to sell that stuff?

http: under construction...

#10 Nishijin

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Posted 25 August 2010 - 09:08 AM

Hello everybody,

sorry, I'm not in Paris this week, and have limited internet access, and much more important not these files with me.
I'll restore the pictures as soon as I can, which means not before monday when I'm back home.

I have this problem with all pictures that used to be hosted there, so now I'll host them either here in the forum gallery, or on my own web server.

Sorry for the inconvenience.
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#11 Martin Stall

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Posted 25 August 2010 - 09:12 AM

Great, Nishijin, thank you.
Sure, I believe your work rocks, but... have you considered, how are you going to sell that stuff?

http: under construction...

#12 Nishijin

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Posted 02 September 2010 - 12:21 AM

OK, I did not find how to edit the original post. So here it is with all pictures restored, and hosted here on the forum, where they belong. Maybe Sator can copy this in the first post, then delete this one...

[OK done! The original post has been updated with pictures hosted on the forum server after the images hosted by a 3rd party corrupted.]

Edited by Sator, 02 September 2010 - 12:38 AM.
Opening thread updated

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