My ASG group is learning about shirts and blouses this year so I picked up David Page Coffin’s Shirtmaking originally published in 1993. Wow! Now I know why this is a classic. It’s well explained and illustrated and, well geeky me, I’m reading it straight through. I’ve only made two blouses before, but they did not have any traditional details like collars and cuffs so this is all new to me.
His description of how to fit starting with a straight level yoke on a model or mannequin is spot on. I have uneven sloping and slightly forward shoulders that are notoriously difficult for me to fit and Bam! The shoulders on my first blouse mockup fit well the first time. Yeah!
There is also a wonderful explanation of the relationship between the angle of the sleeve and how this relates to both the height of the sleeve cap, and comfort and reach range. Conceptually a sleeve with a shallow cap projects out fairly horizontal and will therefore need to be fairly wide to connect to the bottom of the armhole. A sleeve with deeper cap will project down at an angle and will therefore be narrower. This means that there is also more fabric under the armpit in a shallow capped sleeve which allows for a greater reach range.
Most shallow capped sleeves drive me wild because of the excess fabric below the armpit and the drag lines from the shoulder.
Check out this fleece which has fairly shallow caps. See the diagonal wrinkles coming down from my shoulder point when my arm is down? I admit that this is super thick and therefore quite bulky under the arm, but you get the same drag lines with lighter fabrics.
(The fabric pooling on the bodice under the arm is because I didn’t slope the shoulder down enough, but I know how to fix that now, and yes the sleeves are too tight for the Fleece.)
I don’t need extra reach range in my daily commute and office life thank you, and I wear sweaters and jackets over my tops 90% of the time so I don’t want the extra bulk.
No wonder I keep finding these shallow caps in patterns for casual garments. They are “easier to fit” and more comfortable, but sometime they just don’t look that great.
Do you prefer shallow capped sleeves or those with a deep cap? Do you consider this when selecting a pattern?