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Pattern Drafting 101 – The Men’s Shirt Sleeve Block

18 February, 2011

Thank you all for your support- it makes me incredibly happy to see all those hits on my drafting posts! Let me know if there’s anything you want to see and feel free to post comments or questions!

Also, my fiancé pointed out to me today that I should include a glossary of terms on this site, so starting with this post, I’m including hyperlinks to the new glossary page. I’ll be going back and adding them to the older posts soon.

For the men’s shirt sleeve, you’re going to need the following:

  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Newsprint Paper (It’s easier to see through than thicker papers and will be useful in transferring the markings from the shirt to the sleeve. It’s also fairly inexpensive and readily available at most craft stores.)
  • A copy of your completed Men’s Shirt block – you’ll be using markings from this to create the sleeve, so make sure you haven’t erased your marked points.

Step 1: Rename the Points- For the sake of simplicity, we’re going to rename some of the points on our completed Men’s Shirt block to use on our Sleeve Block. Rename the following points according to the chart below.

Shirt Block Replace with….
Point K Point (a)
Point L Point (b)
Point Y Point (f)
Point U Point (g)
Point M Point (h)

Step 2: Measure the Armscye- Lay a flexible measuring tape or a length of string along the armscye curve. Record this measurement. Extend the line (ab) upwards a distance of 1/3 the armscye measurement and mark the end point (c).

Step 3: Drawing in the Construction Lines- Extend the Armscye Line out to the left, through point B. It doesn’t really matter how far, just far enough. You can always make it longer if you need to. Do the same from Point (c). Mark point (d) halfway along line (ac), and extend a line out to the left of point (d) approximately the same length as your other two construction lines. These lines don’t need to be drawn in very heavily; you’ll only be erasing them at the end.

Step 4: Mark Some New Points- Where the construction line from (d) intersects with the left side of the armscye, mark the point (e).

Step 5: Measure and Pivot- Measure the distance from (f) to (b) in a straight line. Add 1.5cm to this and record. Pivot your ruler on point (b) until it intersects with the topmost construction line at the distance you just recorded, to the left of point (b). Draw the line and mark the endpoint (i).

Measure the distance again from (g) and (e) in a straight line. Add 1.25cm and record. Pivot your ruler on point (i) until it intersects with the middle construction line at the distance you just recorded, to the left of point (i). Draw the line and mark the endpoint (j).

Step 6: Measure and Pivot again- Measure the distance along the curve from (e) to (h). Add 1.25cm and record. Pivot your ruler around point (j) until it intersects with the Armscye Line at the distance you just recorded, to the left of point (j). Draw the line and mark the endpoint (k).

Measure the distance again along the curve from (b) to (h). Add .75cm and record. Pivot your ruler on point (b) until it intersects with the Armscye Line at the distance you just recorded, to the right of point (b). Draw the line and mark the endpoint (l).

Step 7: Sleeve Length- Draw a vertical line straight down from point (i) to the desired sleeve length (This block creates a long dress-shirt sleeve. I’ll go over pattern editing for shorter sleeves at a later date. For now, it’s good to have a longer base to work from). Mark the endpoint (m).

Step 8: The Hem Line- Draw a horizontal line to the right of point (m) until the end lines up with point (l). Mark the end point (n) and connect (n) to (l) with a straight line. (mnl) should be a right angle. Do the same for the left side, marking the end point (o) and connecting (o) to (k)

Step 9: Suppressing the Shirt Block- Go ahead and get rid of your shirt block lines at this point. You won’t need them after this. Make sure to keep everything you’ve done on the sleeve so far.

Step 10: Shaping the Sleeve- Measure 5cm inward from (n). Mark the point (p), and connect it to point (l). Do the same on the other side, marking the resulting point (q) and connecting it to point (k).

Step 11: Sleeve Slit- Mark point (r) midway between (m) and (q). Draw a short, 1cm line straight down from point (r), and mark the end point (s). Draw a line straight up from (s) 10cm long. Mark the end point (t). The line (st) will become the sleeve plaquette in the finished pattern.

Step 12: The Sleeve Hem- Draw a curved line connecting points (m), (s), and (q).

Step 13: Drawing the Sleeve Cap- Connect the points at the top of the sleeve with curved lines, following the chart below.

From point… To point… Direction of Curve Maximum Deviation

k

j

Downward 0.75cm

j

i

Upward 1.5cm

i

x

Upward 2cm

x

b

None (straight) 0cm

b

l

Downward 0.75cm

Step 14: Marking the Elbow Line- Find the halfway point between  (n) and (t); 2.5cm above that, mark a point (z). Draw a horizontal line through (z) until you reach the line (kq). This is the elbow line of the sleeve.

Step 15: Cleaning up- erase all the construction lines, and you should be left with something that looks like this:

Tada! You’re done! You now have a completed men’s shirt sleeve block ready to be turned into something amazing!

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