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How to Draft a Two-Piece Jacket Sleeve From a One-Piece Pattern

In Threads #182 (Dec. 2015/Jan. 2016), Jacque Goldsmith shared her technique for creating a functional vent on a lined sleeve. This technique requires a back sleeve seam, which a one-piece sleeve pattern lacks. Here, we'll show you how to create a two-piece sleeve from a one-piece sleeve pattern. 

A two-piece sleeve provides a more refined shape than a one-piece sleeve. The extra seam is an added shaping opportunity, as it offers twice as many seams to adjust for a better fit. Many jacket and coat patterns are designed with one-piece sleeves, but this doesn't mean that everything about the pattern is wrong. If you like the jacket's other design elements but want the fitting finesse of a two-piece sleeve, as well as a place to add a functional sleeve vent, it's possible to create a two-piece sleeve pattern from a one-piece sleeve pattern.

Drafting a two-piece sleeve is not an exact technique, and personal preference enters in, but the results can be satisfactory. All it requires is patience, judgment, and this easy-to-follow method.

This is a better solution than attempting to use the sleeve pattern from another jacket, as that requires using the armscye from the other pattern, too, and transferring the armscye (which usually involves three pattern pieces). It is a trickier job than redrawing the sleeve.

Converting offset-seam sleeves

There are two types of one-piece sleeves: the typical centered-underarm sleeve, and the less-typical sleeve with the seam offset toward the back of the underarm. The latter type gives the appearance of a two-piece sleeve. It is also the easiest to convert and is covered first. The symmetrical sleeve with the seam at the underarm is more common. The procedure for converting it is slightly more complex, but it's not difficult.

1. Press the pattern. Draw a line through the underarm mark, which all American-made patterns have, parallel to the grainline and the length of the pattern. converting offset seam sleeves 1 
2. Draw a parallel line 2 inches from the first line and from armscye to hemline.  converting offset seam sleeves 2
3. Measure 3⁄4 inch to either side of the new line at the elbow. Draw identical curved lines from the seamline to the hemline through the marked points. Use a curved ruler, follow a favorite two-piece sleeve pattern, or eyeball it. Mark these as stitching lines.  converting offset seam sleeves 3
4. Cut the pattern on the curved lines, and add a 5⁄8-inch seam allowance to each. Check the sleeve width at the hemline. About 10 inches is typical for a size 12: 6 inches on the upper sleeve and 4 inches on the undersleeve. If necessary, narrow the wrist by redrawing the vent seamlines: Take off half the distance (usually about 2 inches overall) on each side by tapering the seams gradually from the armscye to the elbow, then taper more sharply from elbow to wrist. In a size 12, there should be about 2 inches from the underarm line to the vent placement line. If the vent falls too far underneath, add to the undersleeve and take off from the upper sleeve, keeping a nice curve in the process.  converting offset seam sleeves 4

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Comments (3)

maguertae maguertae writes: Make sure you notch the new pieces that will go together so you don't end up putting the wring pieces together.
Posted: 12:26 pm on January 14th

user-3359049 user-3359049 writes: Thanks for sharing. I've done this so many times WITHOUT the specifics. So now, there will be no need for guesswork.
Posted: 10:03 pm on November 18th

user-5370693 user-5370693 writes:

Thank for sharing.

This is a technique I am definitely going to try. I will post the end results once I tried it on a garment.
Posted: 2:34 pm on November 8th

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