Every year there is always a body part we love to show off. 2015 was the crop top, showing off perfect and in my case not so perfect abs. One-shoulder cuts were hot too. Chokers were the thing to accentuate a nice neck. For 2016 showing one shoulder was all the rage but this year it’s both! Good thing shoulders. When have you ever NOT loved your shoulder.
Echoing runway offerings….trade shows place strong emphasis on sleeves. Dramatic shapes and fresh details make arms key focal points, with volume reigning supreme and tweaked constructions providing edge and interest.
Put on your bangles, dab your favorite perfume on your wrist, this is the year of the arm (and by way of association, the sleeve).
Designers Phillip Lim, Chloé, Free People, and patternmakers such as Butterrick, McCalls and indie pattern designers are bringing a fresh take on the sleeve. Look for bell shaped sleeves, ruffled sleeves, long past the wrist sleeves. For a more urban look, there are split seams, cutouts, and unfinished hems to jazz up sleeves on denim and leather. A softer look for spring is around the corner with blouses and tops featuring fluid sleeves that evoke a romantic look.
Tips for wearing statement sleeves!!
If the sleeve has lots of volume, pair down the rest of the outfit. A tiered sleeve will look best with close fitting pants or skirts. If you have a wild print as your fabric, look for solid colors for the bottom portion of you outfit. Ruffled sleeves can look great with a tailored jacket, have the ruffles peak out from the cuff.
For bell shaped sleeves my best advice is to be aware as to where you are wearing it. Nothing spoils a look like dragging your huge bell shaped sleeve through grandma’s spaghetti sauce. Save the bells for a night out dancing not at a buffet. And, please watch the candles!
Tips For Sewing Sleeves
So, here we are getting all excited about sleeves and now let me apply the brakes. Who likes to insert sleeves? Some sleeves are much easier to insert than others. A dropped sleeve , kimono and raglan sleeves are all on the easy side. Knit sleeves are far more easier to insert than woven (in my experience). But, the set-in sleeve can be a bit of tricky devil. The problem is the arm hole (or armsyce) is smaller than the circumference of the sleeve. The trick is in getting excess fabric into a smaller ‘hole’ with zero puckers. Sometimes patterns can have a lot more ease added in to a sleeve cap. I measure the armhole every time and compare it with the sleeve. If I find there is too much ease I remove it and my sleeves go in with very little effort.
- Make sure all notches and markings are placed correctly on the bodice back, front and sleeves.
- Did you know that on the sleeve pattern the double notches means it’s the back of the sleeve and the single notch is for the front of the sleeve. It’s very important to have the front and back of the sleeve properly placed. If not your sleeve will never go in right.
- There is more ease in the back of the sleeve than in the front.
- Measure the armscye and the sleeve to see if there is too much ease.
- When inserting the sleeve pin at the top of the seam, the bottom and at the notches.
In our latest issue of Sew News Linda Reynolds in her Master Class feature gives over 20 pro tips on inserting set-in sleeves.
- Always fit the armhole before setting in the sleeve.
- Hand baste the sleeve in place rather than using pins.
- Use contrasting thread for ease stitches (brilliant!)
- When stitching the sleeve place it garment side up and the sleeve facing the needle plate.
If you plan on sewing up some statement sleeves this season don’t miss Linda Reynolds Master Class: The Set-In Sleeve now in Sew News Apr/May issue. You’ll learn:
- What is sleeve cap ease and how to remove it.
- How much ease is the right amount for the sleeves
- How to adjust the sleeve cap
- When to cut and attach sleeves
- How to set in a sleeve
- Knits vs wovens
- Proper pinning
- How to use ease stitches, and more!