Adventures in Drafting: Flutter Sleeves

Ta-da! Jalie 2794, with self-drafted flutter sleeves.  One of my favorite warm-weather tops features flutter sleeves in knit.  I wore it continuously last summer and swore I’d make more, but longer than a mere cap flutter. 
 I made this of the same bamboo knit as my last top, I dyed this green by over-dyeing a vibrant green with a medium blue.  The bamboo is to die for, I think I have a new fabric to add to my go-to list.  We’ll see how it performs over the summer.
The sleeves seem a little uneven, albeit in a symmetrical way.  Regardless, I like them.  PR bids you not make a FBA for this pattern and I was more than happy not to.  I wish I had, I can see “Full Bust” wrinkles though I think the sleeve disguises the gaping armscythe.  The body went together perfectly as per the (wordless) instructions, though I used a triple-stitch zig-zag instead of a straight stitch to secure the elastic.
Make your own long flutter sleeves.  Coverage and breeze, a dream for summertime.  I used the Jalie sleeve pattern as my base.  This is really, really easy.  If you have a TNT top with an ordinary sleeve, why not give it a try? 

This is a “Jack O’Lantern” sleeve draft, I thought if I used only the upper sleeve I would create the desired effect.

I started out with a 10″ long sleeve, and trimmed it shorter as I worked.  First I trimmed off 1″ at the hem on each side, tapering to nothing.  I also rounded out the bottom edge.  I wasn’t sure how much to do that, so I’m learning by trial and error.

Then I divided it into eight sections vertically.  The simplest way seemed to fold it in half thrice and trace my fold lines.

Next, time to slash those lines.  I was a lazy monkey and left the seam allowances, so I had to make hinges. 

Starting with section A and using the diagram as a guide, I taped each piece to the table, arranging the sections as best I could to form a circle.  I could have tried harder.

Slipped another piece of polytrace over the top.  At this point I felt completely lost.  Should I connect the sections with a straight line and then round them out?  Should I use my curve tools?  In the end I used my curve, slowly working around the circle.  I feel like I’m making piles of beginner drafting mistakes, I wish I could take a basics class.

It occurred to me to fold the piece in half, with the shoulder seam as the midpoint, and trim down the edges so they would hang evenly when I wear it.  I toyed with the idea of folding it into little eighths to get a perfect circle (like when you prepare to cut a snowflake), but decided against it.  In retrospect, this would have solved my un even hemline problems.

Finished sleeve.  I barely fit it on the fabric left over from cutting the shirt body, I did have to cheat a little.  I didn’t bother too much about grain, I figured it would be fine cut on the bias.  Does knit have a bias?  I sewed the side seams and then attached the sleeve much like a set-in sleeve.  I left the edges raw because all my sneaky shopping shows me that knit flutter sleeves have raw edges.  I think if I hemmed, it would weigh down the sleeves and I would lose some of the movement.  Should I leave the “asymmetrical” edge on the sleeves, or trim them down?


  1. I love the sleeve idea. It's a really practical sleeve for our climate. I've never thought to make them myself, but I have a pattern for one so I think I will drag it out come summer. Thanks for the inspiration!

  2. I love them! And there is a real bit of 30s about them, isn't there? I think I would even them out to wear myself, that bit hanging down would bother me. But if it doesn't bother you, definitely leave them, they're certainly pretty as is!

  3. Pingback: Pattern Alterations: How to Fix Waist Length « 3 Hours Past the Edge of the World

    • Well… No, friend. I wrote here all the words to empower you to make your own sleeve, based on your own needs and measurements. Drafting isn’t terribly scary, and sleeves are a great place to start!

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