November 30, 2015


Right until the moment I started to take pictures for this blog post, I thought I had an easy answer.
Yesterday, before I went to the climbing hall, I sewed up very simple toiles of both of those patterns. A quick try-on showed me that on the half kimono-sleeve one, my alterations had worked. The raglan one had a nice clean fit under the arm but a weird bulge in front of each shoulder, a to-be-expected consequence of that trick I used on the sleeve so I wouldn't have a dart in the sleeve. 
The outcome seemed clear: Just make the half-kimono-sleeve one, the best one overall.

And then, I tried both on again today... A bit more carefully... (oh, and don't pay attention to the odd seam on the collar. I only made the under collar for the toile because it is quicker and the facing does not actually change the shape) 

This is the half-kimono-sleeve jacket:

The shape works but that big sleeve gives quite a bit of excess fabric under the arm. That is a normal result of this sleeve style so it can't really be removed. Not without seriously compromising freedom of movement.
Oh, and I should lengthen the jacket at center back and adjust that bottom edge to be a nice smooth line.

And this is the raglan one: 

No bulging fabric under the arm here. The weirdly placed excess material in front of the shoulders is on the seam lines, so it is easy to take in. With that issue out of the way, this version starts to look really good.
It also needs some more length at center back and the front bodice should be taken in a bit at the bottom edge. 

With the adjusted raglan version, the only really difference seems to be in that forward tilt of those sleeves.
Of course, I am never going to get that sculpted effect in this very thin fabric. My real fabric is thicker and I don't mind using some light interfacing but I won't go all-out with horsehair and heavy tailoring. 
But the shape is clear: Those sleeves curve forward and the hem looks shortest at the front. I can adjust the hem of my sleeve any way I like but that curve is a bit more difficult. I might take in the front seams (on either version) a bit. That would help a bit. The original may have the seam in an unusual place, more to the front (or have an extra seam) in order to get that shape. With my softer and slightly stretchy fabric, I don't think I'll bother though.
Which one to choose?


  1. I still think that the original is cut in one piece. Thus the sleeves forward tilt at the opening.

  2. great job, but i agree with aunty above that the one piece is probably it, as it forces the jacket to hang a certain way and probably the only sure way is to cut by draping on a manequin or person, whereas the flat pattern does give a more mathematical approach, which is easier to 'control'. your half kimono it has a nice soft look to it

  3. I agree with Aunty too- and wasn't it described as 'spiral' originally?

  4. I like the kimono sleeve better actually. The raglan seems to draw lines down the length of the arm which look more restricting than the original.
    The kimono gives you more fabric to sculpt. Perhaps kimono combined with some of the room of your original idea with the extra fabric between arm and front would give you the amount which could be sculpted better.

    But what you have already done is pretty amazing!
    Sandy in the UK

  5. That is such an eye-catchingly chic design. I love a wide sleeve (dolman, bat wing, komono, etc), especially in a mid-century context, and can already see how sensational the finished garment with the altered sleeve style will look here.

    Big hugs & many thanks for your lovely comment on my vintage blogger interview post this week,

    ♥ Jessica