What's in a sleeve?


After I have finished my basic sketch of my garment, and settled over the stitches. I analyze (aka obsess over) my construction options. There are tons to choose from, but I usually only pick from 3. Who knows why, but that's what I do. In my last design, I literally tossed and turned over this for days. Each day I decided on a different angle. Now, none of other options would have been wrong, but in my mind the might have been more difficult or would wear oddly. Lost?

Here's what I'm talking about.

Rent InspirationI was designing this jacket (more or less) with this swatch. (The sketch is like version 1.0 and I ending up going with version 2.3 for the book, but that's another story). The main idea was to have a classic crochet pattern in a comfy wrapping garment. Easy enough. But I wanted to make sure that it was:
1. Not to difficult to describe, and keep the pattern at an intermediate level.
2. Would wear well, and not hang off of the body like a dead fish.
3. The arm / body seam would look ok with the stripes.

Here's the options I was weighing.

A. One piece construction.
one peice
I adore this construction. Its probably the one I use the most.
+'s: I love it, There's only 2 seams to sew.
-'s: Stripe pattern at the sleeve would be running down instead of across the sleeve and upside down in the front, No seam at the shoulder could stretch the fabric after a few wears.

Example: Pseudo Kimono from Not Your Mama's Crochet
Kimono Reinvented

B. In the Round
in the round
Whether you are going from top down or bottom up, its always a winner.
+'s: Trying it on as you go is awesome, Raglan sleeves would look good on this project, and no seams= no sewing!
-'s: Since its a ripple pattern, the increases at the sleeves would make the pattern go from intermediate to advanced, and I really wanted to keep it at intermediate.

Example: Cowl Sweater from Sensual Crochet (Bottom up)
angel sneak preview

C. Drop Sleeve
drop sleeve
Classic construction. Some times oldies are goodies.
+'s: Stripe pattern can be easily lined up at the seam with some creative planning, Shoulder seam will reinforce the hardest working area on the jacket.
-'s: You have to sew all the pieces together. Ugh.

Example: Peacoat from Not Your Mama's Crochet
Peacoat front

In the end, the structure won out over the sewing. Since its a jacket (and even though the yarn is light) it will naturally be heavy, it needed a good solid shoulder seam. Plus, I had to go with the drop sleeve to keep the pattern easy to explain while keeping a good looking arm seam. It sounds simple now, but last week it was all I could think/ dream about. Some designs are just like that, they take over. Let's hope this week's designs don't do that.
So all that said, what's your favorite sweater sleeve construction?


Megan said...

I've been playing around with different sleeves lately too, and looking at the way my sweaters and shirts are constructed. I think I like set-in best, but raglan sleeves are also nice. I think sometimes drop-sleeves seem to be a little bulky in the armpit area but I guess it depends on what is you're crocheting and what yarn and stitch you're using.

kristi said...

I typically like set in sleeves the best for fit and hang and all that. I've been experimenting with pick-up and knit down sleeves that are set in. That way you know the sleeve fits in the armscye by empirical test and the seaming is a little easier.

On the piece in question though, you could also do one piece side to side, so the sleeve stripes would go the "right" way and the stripes on the body would be vertical (flattering!). Two pieces from cuff to center back would keep the patterning symmetrical.

Love to see what you come up with!

Robyn said...

Thanks guys!

great idea kristi, with going side to side!