Create a Swirled Bias Sleeve
I promised to share more techniques for creating sleeves that fit a larger biceps from Denise Severson. Denise, an alterations expert and Association of Sewing and Design Professionals member, wrote an article on the topic, "Bye Bye, Biceps Blues" in Threads no. 155.
Denise has a delicious dress in black. It's a bias-cut confection, with "swirled" sleeves. The sleeves are cut and seamed on the straight, but worn in the bias. She made this dress originally for the ASDP/Threads Fluid Fabric Challenge in 2008. The pieced fabric strips form a sleeve "tube." The strips and seams wrap around the arm, a delightful effect in sheer fabrics. You would use this technique after you've made the basic pattern alteration for larger biceps, outlined in the print article.
The Bias-Swirl Sleeve
Denise in her bias swirl dress, made in printed black chiffon.
1 Cut eight fabric strips. Each sleeve requires four. (The sections are illustrated in different colors for clarity.) Note: Readers have asked about the precise measurements. Well, there is some experimentation to perfect this technique! The strips' length and width are interdependent, because the strips spiral diagonally around the sleeve. Try paper first to get a feel for the technique, and Denise recommends guinea-pigging with scrap fabric to test length, width, and seam allowances.
2 Arrange the fabric sections for piecing. Each section is “dropped” by one fabric strip width, for a "stair-step" block. Drop the sections from upper left to lower right. The seam stops at the hem seam allowance of the left-most pattern piece.
3 Sew the sections together. For sheers, use a French or wrapped French seam; otherwise, baste, then serge to finish and trim the excess seam allowance. Continue the seam finish through each strip's curved end to hem the sleeve.