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Create a Custom Sleeve Pattern

comments (7) August 19th, 2008     

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_nikki_ Nicole Smith, contributor
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Measure your sloper.
Measure your arm as shown.
Start drafting your sleeve pattern on the fold.
Measure your sloper.

Measure your sloper.

Photo: Scott Phillips
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a. Fold your pattern paper in half lengthwise as shown; you’ll be drafting on the fold so that your pattern is symmetrical.

b. Along the foldline, mark points indicating the length of your arm from the shoulder point (top) to the wrist (bottom).

c. Square a line at the top point

d. From the top, measure down and mark your armhole depth (the number you figured out in step 2).

e. Square a bicep line out from the armhole depth that is half your adjusted bicep circumference.

f. Measure down the foldline and mark your elbow point. Draw a line half your adjusted elbow circumference.

g. Square a line at the wrist point from the fold. Draw a line that is half the adjusted wrist circumference.

h. Draw the underarm seam by connecting the bicep and elbow marks in a straight line that connects to the wrist line as shown.

Start drafting your sleeve pattern on the fold.


Turn the folded edge of the paper to the underarm seam. Crease the paper to create a one-quarter marking line and then open it back up again.

Fold your pattern in half to create one-quarter marking lines.


a. Now that you’ve made the basic shape of the sleeve, you’ll draw the top edge of the sleeve, which is called the “sleeve-cap.” To start, place marks 1/4 to 1/2 inch on each side of the center line at the top of the sleeve and 1 inch inward from the underarm seam on the bicep line.

b. From the bicep line, measure up from the center line one-half the armhole depth plus 3/4 inch and mark a point.

c. Square a guideline through the marks across the sleeve and then mark line intersections.

Draw a guideline through the marks.

d. Connect the various points with straight lines as shown to form the sleeve-cap guidelines.

Connect the dots to form the sleeve-cap.

e. Mark a halfway point on each of the sleeve-cap guidelines.

Measure and mark halfway points.

f. Measure in and out at each of the halfway points as shown. Using a French curve, connect the dots with a smooth, continuous curve. The dots are merely guides, you don’t have to touch each one with your curve. Just try to not make any sharp points in the cap.

Measure in at each halfway point and use a French curve to create the cap.

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posted in: wearable, sewstylish feature, top, shirt, pattern making, sleeve

Comments (7)

MurielN writes: Thank you. Instructions are really clear and easy to follow. I have already used this tutorial to create two of my own patterns and it worked! I am helping an amateur theatre group with their costumes and of course they can't afford patterns! I use any bits of material I can find to create the costumes so to be able to create and insert a custom made sleeve is brilliant.
Posted: 3:22 am on October 22nd
twixytwix writes: Great! I've been looking for this a very long time and it'll be so easy now as the description is so well described with pictures. It will be a dream to make sleeves as I've got several patterns of tops without any.
Posted: 4:04 pm on July 13th
bespokeshirts writes: Forget Costly Shirts,customize your shirts according to your body type at affordable cost....
Posted: 2:46 am on August 16th
AllynG writes: Quick question:
I'm making this sleeve for a ready-made sleeveless dress. I've unpicked the armhole on the dress, but I'd like to know whether or not I need to add a sleeve allowance. Can anyone tell me?
Posted: 11:53 am on June 3rd
3ahra writes: thx so much,but what is the name of this method?
i want to make a 2 pcs sleeve like men`s coat sleeve,but dont know it,can u help me
Posted: 4:08 pm on February 10th
sophiecai writes: thanks for it....great to learn more
Posted: 11:11 am on February 15th
dette writes: Fantastic! Such a clear easy to folow tutorial. I prefer to wear a sleeve and often dicount a pattern because it doesnt have a sleve, Not any more!!!
Posted: 11:34 am on September 17th
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