Big, fluffy sleeves

I would like to announce that I am personally thrilled with all the cool and weird sleeves that pattern companies are drafting these days. I’m always behind trends and haven’t sewn any of the bell and bishop sleeves that have been coming out, but I’ve been buying a few patterns here and there for when the urge strikes.

I did sew up a couple of unusual big-sleeved beauties earlier this year – one of them was probably the first project of 2016. | Vogue 1228, v1228 Vena Cava

I’d made it once before as a dress. This time, I raised the neckline by 1″, did some kind of weird square/forward shoulder adjustment that I can’t remember, widened the hips to fit my measurements, and cropped it at a shirt length because I wanted to use up some larger silk CDC scraps. | Vogue 1228, v1228 Vena Cava

Ultimately, I wish I’d left the neckline lower but narrowed it. I could use a sway back adjustment. I still like it and wear it though. This pattern – designed by Vena Cava – is so cool and unusual, and construction is fun but not overly complicated origami.

Then in July, I made a new McCall’s pattern, 7325, in a black cotton voile. | McCall's 7325, M7325

I narrowed the bib based on my design preferences, and cuffed/tacked the sleeves. I also added some vintage cotton ribbon from Nancy’s Sewing Basket as trim. | McCall's 7325, M7325

I think part of the cotton was rancid, because it washed away. I still like the visual effect enough not to remove it. | McCall's 7325, M7325

In addition to both of these projects featuring big, fluffy cuffed sleeves, they are both sewn out of fabrics I don’t really love. Voile is very irritating to me, for some reason! It’s evasive during cutting and sewing, sheer but with body, and attracts lint. Silk CDC is a pleasure to sew and beautiful to look at, but there’s something about it that puts me off from wearing it very often. Still, I like both of these projects and the black top saw quite a bit of wear during the summer months.

I’ve had some time off lately, and have been doing quite a bit of sewing. I have this crazy idea I can blog what I’ve made, plus a couple other unblogged stragglers, before the end of the year – three shirts, four dresses, and denim trousers in total. (Let’s just ignore the two shirts and pair of jeans I sewed my husband). Wish me luck!


28 thoughts on “Big, fluffy sleeves

  1. That little bit of ribbon is so transformative! I love the way it gives definition to a very blousey silhouette. You are rocking those big sleeves!

  2. Oh hello Morgan! Blogging all that before new year sounds rather ambitious, but I would love to see what you’ve been making! I like the big sleeves on you and can definitely appreciate they must be cool in the summer. Talking about big sleeves, I used to like those long gothic-y sleeves that are wider at the bottom and wore them a lot before I nearly set light to them on the gas hob.

    1. Hi Philippa! It would certainly be a change of pace, given that I didn’t blog for all of November. I did take pictures of everything with my sis today, however, assembly-line style. Your sleeve story is terrifying, by the way. If I go big, I think I’ll have them gathered to cuff… for safety!

  3. They are epic sleeves indeed! That is quite the challenge you’ve set yourself re blogging! I’ve got 3-4 things I want to get posted, and 2 already have photos – I think I’m dreaming somehow!

  4. Oooh, the black one looks great! The trim really makes the yoke pop, too bad it disintegrated, but it looks fine from here. I’m wondering if I can’t just snap a few photos and make one giant blog post covering the last 4 months, myself. Maybe a project for the weekend…

    1. It’s nice to start the new year with a fresh slate, blogging-wise. I certainly haven’t for the past couple of years! I say go for it! I got my photos squared away this afternoon.

  5. You are the best at using bits of trim to make a garment more special! I really like both of these tops. Hope you can get the rest of those items blogged, I always love reading your posts!

    1. Thanks, Lisa! I did get my photos taken care of this afternoon so this just might happen 🙂 I think trim is so much fun to play with – it’s not usually too expensive but a little of it goes a long way, design-wise.

  6. I especially love that Vogue dress. I keep pulling out the pattern, reading your posts (it doesn’t seem to have been made much), consulting my fabric stash and then freaking out it might swamp me… I know I will make it sooner or later I just need to get brave. I love the blue top version, looks gorgeous.
    Japanese pattern books often have great billowy sleeves on their tops.

    1. I’ll bet measuring how deep and wide the neckline is would help you figure out alterations before sewing. I have a super long chest. The sleeves and side seams would probably be easy to adjust on the fly. I hope you give it a try! I’m afraid of Japanese pattern sizing for the opposite reasons – rightly or wrongly, I worry they’ll be drafted for someone on a daintier scale than me!

      1. There is that general perception of the Japanese pattern book world. While I often find they need lengthening, they generally have a lot of ease – with the exception of Drape Drape which is completely different to their usual simple Japanese style clothing anyway. I love them for basic tops and dresses, the books cost about $20 and you get a lot of patterns to work with!
        Thanks for the Vogue neckline tip!

  7. I love both tops and much prefer these sleeves to bell ones, the blue is a fab colour on you and the black has a lovely boho vibe especially with the ribbon.

  8. I’m hearing you on the wearability of CDC. I think it’s the ever so slight sheen that puts me off, because it seems a bit more nightime than daytime? But when I do get around to wearing it, I love it. So delightful on the skin. You blue top is positively delicious. The sleeves suit!

  9. yay to statement sleeves! I am all for it. Both tops look really cool – my favourite is the black one with the ribbon … i love that detail. Can’t wait to see you progress through your sewing and blogging list

  10. They’re gorgeous, and perfect choice with the trim.

    I wish I were seeing more patterns with cool sleeves! I love fancy sleeves and I find the pattern companies rarely get as crazy as I would like. But I still have hope.

      1. That is pretty cool. I like it.

        I keep looking at the designer blouses in the last year or two with the crazy victorian sleeves–the puffs, the smocking, the mutton head sleeves–and I haven’t seen anything like that in patterns yet. I know bell sleeves etc. are easier and maybe that’s why. But I would kill for a sleeve pattern with something really fancy going on that I could stick into other shirts as desired.

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