February 15, 2011

considering sleeves and shoulders

This is not a post about fitting shoulders. I've been telling myself to write that one for months now because it's such an under-exposed issue in the general debate about fitting. But it will have to wait a bit longer.

I'd like to thank everyone who commented on yesterday's post (and if you didn't but have an opinion to share, please add the comment there anyway. I always read new comments to old posts, and I'm definately still interested). My boyfriend had a look at the muslin as well and he decided he liked those sleeves on me. 'Crazy, but you' was his comment. Or at least, something along those lines. Usually, I can trust his opinion.

I also had another look at those A/W 09/10 Balmain shoulders I mentioned yesterday. This is what those looked like.

Although in construction they are likely to be quite similar to my sleeve, the effect is rather different. Where I have narrowed the shoulder where the sleeve band is wider, these seem to built up and out from the 'usual' armscye. Their effect is purely power-woman, mine is (if I may say so) an odd blend between that and vaguely neo-victorian.
With that remark, I wanted to add a picture of a historical leg-o-mutton sleeve, but I won't because most of those were also 'built out' over the side of the shoulder to a serious extent.

I have to say I'm less worried now about having my jacket look too much like last year's runway fashion. I will still do some fine-tuning, but I'm definately leaning towards going with the crazy sleeve.

PS. In other news: It seems that Carolyn couldn't curb her enthousiasm ;-) and made a muslin-version of her gloves already... I'm looking forward to seeing her pictures of it tomorrow. If I'm no longer up for the finer points of pattern manipulation tonight, I may just try and catch up with her. And, as promissed, I will take pictures as I go along and tell you about it.
Darci, it's great you want to join in, I really hope you're not feeling put off by this chaotic start.


  1. It is looking good! I think I preferred the band slightly narrower, but that's just me.
    The 'Balmain' shoulder was also present around 2000, I remember as I made one myself! It pops up occasionally throughout fashion history so I think of it as an edgy classic, not just last years runway fashion!

  2. Just saw some pictures of Marc Jacobs show with a sleeve like yours Not as wide as the Balmain but that shaped top.

  3. Hi, and sorry!!
    I did make a start on my blog today... but I'll still go through the glove making process step by step, so don't feel like I'm leaving everyone behind!
    I really like the sharp shoulder. And like Sherry, I don't think of it as last year's fashion, but a new classic that will be around for at least a few years and will probably return in the future, and anyway, if you like it you should go with it whether it is "fashionable" or not!
    I made myself a cocktail dress last year using a Vogue pattern that had very sharp square shoulders, and I loved them.

  4. I recently made a extended sleeve cap top for my sister which is quite similar effect of power shoulders but i have also added gathers to cap ease. I am petite and would love experimenting with extended cap to get illusion of broad shoulders!

  5. I really like that shoulder, Lauriana! I'm just jealous of how it'll show off your teeny-tiny waist. I agree with Carolyn that it's going to be a new classic.

    I'm IN on the glove sewalong, although I'm going to be using the "Threads" mag glove pattern they published in 2009. I'm a little behind but hope to have it cut out... tomorrow? Friday? I'm currently on deadline, making my cousin's wedding hat. It's my first!

  6. That extended shoulder is very 30s. Reminds me of a gorgeous vintage coat pattern.

  7. Hi, I've just discovered your blog and wanted to say how much I love the sleeve and shoulder shaping on your jacket! I think the Balmain shoulders influenced a whole move toward stronger shoulders in jackets--there were so many jackets and blazers this year with subtle but angular shoulder shaping. I personally love this look because it gives me a bit of an hourglass (I'm very narrow on top). I'd love to see how a pattern looks with a narrower shoulder and wider cap and how to fit the two. Did you use darts in the sleeve cap?