Oh, the medieval romance of the sleeve with the little pointsy-doo that falls gracefully over your hand… So lovely. The problem is that half the time something goes wrong and you end up with a sleeve that looks like it’s flipping you off – the point doesn’t follow your hand (unless you put a loop on it), it doesn’t lie smoothly, it wrinkles at the wrist… It can look so sweet, but it can go soooooo wrong. Here’s a drafting trick I picked up in a Bridal Couture class a few years back.
I just used this on a client’s wedding dress, which is what got me thinking about it again. Start with a sleeve head that works – if you happen to have a whole sleeve that works, you can skip the first few steps. If you have a sleeve that works on you, but is more than 2″ wider than your wrist measurement, just use the sleeve head for this.
You will need to measure your:
- Shoulder Tip -> Wrist
These directions are specific to a sleeve head that doesn’t have a lot of poof to it. Sleeve heads that are poofy often have added length – the poof is more of a gather otherwise.
I’m adding 2″ to the wrist measurement for two reasons. First off, it’s a nice amount of ease around the wrist so that you can get your hand into the sleeve without needing buttons.
More importantly, though, but giving the wrist a little ease you reduce the risk of wrinkling on the finished hand point.
You can use less ease if you want a sleeve that buttons at the wrists, but you will need at least a half inch or your hand will look a little strangled.
Why is that so wrong? First off, it will land the point right in line with your middle finger.
Um, missa, isn’t that what we’re trying to do?
Here’s the part I learned in Bridal Couture: it’s more flattering and less error prone if you line the point up with your ring finger. There’s two things at work here: one is proportion – dividing the hand in half makes it look shorter and fatter. Dunno about you but “shorter and fatter” usually isn’t my goal. ;) The second thing is that pulling the point off towards the ring finger does some sort of suspension magic that causes it to follow the hand better.
If you happen to have the target hand available, measure from the wrist to about 1/2″ below the level of the ring finger knuckle, then measure the distance between the ring and middle finger knuckles (center to center, not edge to edge), and use these measurements instead.
And we’re done, right?!?
Easy, there, killer…. The problem is that hands flare.
Normally, I’d show you the pic of the finished sleeve on the happy human. In this case, it’s part of the Tolkien Inspired Wedding Dress, and while I might be working with the single most lovely, level-headed, happy bride in the history of ever (who didn’t even freak out when she walked in to the sewing room and saw a metal awl sticking through the back of her dress), it’s general bad form to post pics of the dress before the wedding… It makes brides tetchy. ;)