Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Origami Sleeves

Another wonderful feature of this design is the rather intricate sleeve.

When it comes to measurements and drafted pieces not matching up (vintage or contemporary patterns alike), I always assume I am the one who has made the error.  However, when it comes to directions, I often find myself second guessing the illustrated diagrams and wording even before getting the pieces in my hands.

And I have to admit that when I happened upon the diagrams for this sleeve craziness, I scoffed.  What were they thinking sewing things with raw edges out?!  Well let me tell you, the writer of these particular directions knew exactly what they were doing with these origami-like creations.

Thank you, my muslin, for proving me wrong before I made a huge mistake!  By the way, all of those bias cut layers use a lot of fabric and I would have been rather peeved if I had to re-cut them out of expensive or precious material.  

They also look very similar.  To help keep everything straight, I pinned the letter names of each individual piece right on the fabric until the sleeve was completely finished.

Fabric choice becomes important with these sleeves.  I am using a mid-weight wool, and anything thicker would make them just about impossible to construct.  There is a whole lot of bulk going on here and a bunch of trimming of seams.  If I found a fantastic brocade that demanded to be made up using this design, I would probably opt to do without all the extra overlapping pieces.  I think a plain three-quarter length sleeve would go beautifully with this look, although for my first attempt I am sticking with the original – if only for the challenge!

First misunderstanding resolved!


  1. What a wonderful design! This dress will be awesome. I almost want to buy the pattern and keep it in my stash as motivation to get better at sewing :)

  2. Wow -- it's already looking great. Can't wait to see the finished dress!

  3. Looks fantastic. I'm a big Spadea fan, and though their directions can take some time to figure out, they're very meticulous. I'm eager to see how it turns out.

  4. Ahh, the magic of bias! It just doesn't ravel.

  5. Just looking at the instructions and illustrations makes my head spin. I don't think I'd be able to figure it out. :)

  6. Fascinating! Do the origami folds open up at all in wearing- creating ease for movement? Or would a flat pattern piece of the same finished shape move just as well? Kimbersew

    1. The folded pieces are actually layered on top of a standard set-in sleeve shape – so they are merely ornamental in this case!

  7. Such an interesting sleeve! Just beautiful. Kudos to you for taking the time to test it out!