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Hello everyone!
I have a strange body type. I have wide hips and very narrow waist. My top size is 36 and my bottom size is 40. So it’s really hard to find a dress that really fits and flatters me. When I get such a pattern, having altered it of course, i hold on to it!
Unfortunately most of the dresses I like are summery of have no sleeves, so as to wear a shirt underneath.
Plus that, unfortunately, I can only sew by following a pattern… for the time being I hope.
Is there a way I can add sleeves to a dress that was designed with out sleeves? I mean I can find the style of sleeves I want each time by another pattern, but what kind of measurements do I have to make to make sure that my sleeve will fit in the armhole the original pattern has?

Please help me. Winter is so close and I really want dresses in my wardrobe!


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  • B-logo_large_large

    Sep 14, 2009, 07.59 AMby cutemei

    Hi Bohemiannow, For sleeves dress, the armhole would small and higher. I would low down armhole 2 to 3cm on sideseam, to make armhole bigger. then find a sleeves pattern suit for the style, sleeves must 2cm+ bigger than armhole. Good to try and good luck!


    1 Reply
    • 958f82a55d1f911aea11daf7f2e4e6295bbe805d_large

      Sep 14, 2009, 09.25 AMby bohemiannow

      so all I have to do is measure the round of the dress armhole and the round of the sleeve that has to be 2cm bigger?
      And in case I have to maximize or minimize a sleeve at which point do I add or take out cm? I guess at the top center of it ha?

  • 1ea8f961776a5fe83ce32501b0f5b0b7d32f5d9d_large

    Sep 14, 2009, 07.59 PMby oscarthegrouch108

    as cutemei said, the top of the sleeve need to be a little bigger than the armhole. if it’s quite a bit bigger you can always gather it more at the top of the sleeve.

    have you considered drafting your own sleeve pattern? the sleeve is one of the easier pieces to draft and only requires a few, easy, measurements. try looking on here for a how to draft, and at your local library for some good drafting books.

    2 Replies
    • 958f82a55d1f911aea11daf7f2e4e6295bbe805d_large

      Sep 16, 2009, 06.11 AMby bohemiannow

      That would be nice, being able to draft a pattern but I’ve never done it…
      Local library??? There are libraries for sewing? I don’t think there is one in my place…

    • 1ea8f961776a5fe83ce32501b0f5b0b7d32f5d9d_large

      Sep 16, 2009, 08.38 PMby oscarthegrouch108

      your >regular< library should have books on sewing and pattern drafting. if not try a sewing store, they might have a few books too.

  • B-logo_large_large

    Sep 15, 2009, 09.32 AMby cutemei

    Yes, must be 2cm more bigger, and gather at top part of the sleeve. I always add or take out cm from both sides of the sleeve (sideseam), not the Center Top, NO! because wide sleeves have bit short head, and slim sleeves have bit high head.

  • Missing

    Sep 17, 2009, 08.45 PMby mickeygirl

    You can draft a sleeve using the bodice from and back patterns from these instructions. You just might have to add more to the underarm on the bodice for a better fitting sleeve if you are using a sleeveless dress pattern. http://www.pattern-making.com/foundation-slopers/draft-dress-sleeve-juniors-misses-womens/

  • Missing

    Sep 17, 2009, 08.47 PMby mickeygirl

    You can also use these instructions http://www.vintagesewing.info/1940s/42-mpd/mpd-04.html

  • Missing

    Sep 17, 2009, 08.48 PMby mickeygirl

  • 990745-073_large

    Sep 17, 2009, 09.13 PMby nehmah


    andsleeeve-draft andto-draft-sleeve Hope they work. Nehmah

    3 Replies
    • 990745-073_large

      Sep 17, 2009, 09.14 PMby nehmah

      Nuts, the first two OK, the last may be too long. I’ll be back. N

    • 990745-073_large

      Sep 17, 2009, 09.14 PMby nehmah

      Nuts, the first two OK, the last may be too long. I’ll be back. N

    • 990745-073_large

      Sep 17, 2009, 09.24 PMby nehmah

      Once more, and ignore the second “Nuts”. N
      link to sleeve draft

  • Dscn0826_large

    Oct 1, 2009, 06.45 PMby ruthw

    Nehmah, first of all, DON’T cut the armscye (armhole) lower. If you do that, once you have your sleeves on, you will hardly be able to raise your arms without the whole dress rising with it. The smaller the armhole and the closer fitting the sleeve the easier it is to rotate your arms. Second, DON’T put any “ease” into the sleeve cap, It is totally unecessary – a myth – and just makes your life harder when you try to attach the sleeve, that is unless you want puff sleeves. Third, a sleeve should NOT have front-back symmetry. It should be larger at the back than the front. (Most pattern houses produce terrible sleeve designs). Otherwise you get that nasty seam-splitting noise when you move both arms forward at once to pick something up. Go to www,fashion-incubator.com and look up everything on sleeves. The website is really for professionals but if you are determined you can learn everything you need.

  • Dscn0826_large

    Oct 1, 2009, 06.46 PMby ruthw

    Sorry, not Nehmah – I meant it for Bohemiannow

  • 958f82a55d1f911aea11daf7f2e4e6295bbe805d_large

    Oct 2, 2009, 06.18 AMby bohemiannow

    Thank you all girls, you are all wonderful. I’m definitely going to try one of these methods soon.

    • This is a question
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