Monday, July 8, 2013

Hinging the sleeve

So far I went through three sleeve mock-ups and I am nowhere near content with the cut and fitting.  

For quiet a long time, I wasn’t decided on how exactly I would do the sleeves. At first I thought I should simply go with an all-over looser sleeve, omitting the tightening (and thus the buttons or lacing) at the forearm.  (I thought about braving the grande assiette for a while, too, but at this stage the torso of the dress has already been fitted and sewn. And it would probably be better to first experiment with this technique extensively and create some sort of a pattern before applying it onto a dress.)
In the end I decided for practical sleeves, quite loose at the shoulders (and probably also with a diamond-shaped gusset applied to the armpit, so I won't be in constant fear of ripping the seams open when reaching for something), but with tightly fitted forearms. I've wanted to be able to move my arms freely, but also to make the sleeves snug at the lower arm. And I decided to try to construct the sleeves of my kirtle using the elbow hinge.

Tasha Kelly made several wonderfully informative articles - available on her blog, La cotte simple - on the Charles de Blois’ doublet, including the sophisticated construction of the sleeve, which uses both the grande assiette and the elbow hinge. Even though I knew I didn't want to try the assiette yet, I immediately took a liking to the elbow hinge and the idea of tight sleeves without compromising the arm's mobility

At first I wasn't sure how to fit the two parts of the sleeve together and around my arm, but in the end I simply first made up the upper part of the sleeve and then pinned the lower sleeve in the place where the arm drops into a dip at the elbow. My totally awesome mom then helped me pin the "wings" of the upper edge of the lower part of the sleeve so that I could bend my arm without bursting the fabric open at the elbow, thus creating the hinge. I fitted the forearm myself, curving the seam more or less along the ulna, that is from the back of my arm at the elbow to the lateral (pinky) side of the wrist. The seam of the lower sleeve is a continuation of the seam of the upper sleeve, which runs along the back of the arm

The white pattern is the upper part of the sleeve, ending above the elbow. The brown pattern is the lower, forearm part of the sleeve. The "wings" form the hinge, creating additional space for the elbow when the arm is flexed.
Then I made a new mock-up and pinned it on. This is how it looks like now:

 So far so good. It is comfortable at the elbow; maybe just a bit too tight at the forearm - but that can be easily remedied.

But when I let my arm drop...

I can't say I'm surprised. Of course there would be some bulging - presumably proportional to the tightness of the sleeve and the roominess of its elbow part. But this just looks... a bit too much, perhaps? Maybe it will look slightly different when done in dark wool on linen, maybe it's simply a price for having the cake and eating it too (super fashionable tightness AND mobility). Or maybe I could try widening the upper sleeve, so it would be looser and the bulging wouldn't show this much? Or I can reduce the wings of the hinge, and simply accept that the extreme bending at the elbow simply won't be very comfortable.

I'd guess it's time for a new mock-up. :)

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