Photo of Suzy Furrer

Patternmaking + Design: Creative Sleeves

with Suzy Furrer
Patternmaking + Design: Creative Sleeves
Expand your patternmaking prowess. Arm your wardrobe with custom style as you draft a collection of perfect-fitting sleeves for blouses, dresses, jackets and coats.

Create custom-fit woven and knit sleeve slopers and use them to design more than a dozen sleeve styles with Apparel Arts founder Suzy Furrer. Build patterns for basic sleeves, tailored sleeves with elbow darts and two-piece sleeves for a jacket or coat. Draft a short sleeve with an anchor and hem, a three-quarter-length sleeve with a cuff, a mutton-leg sleeve with pleats or darts, and more. Tackle bell sleeves with varying degrees of fullness. Create chic cap sleeves, eye-catching tulip sleeves and luxurious lined sleeves. Design sleeves with a placket, pleats and a cuff — perfect for a button-down shirt. Plus, learn how to draft a bodice and sleeve with a drop shoulder. Reach your patternmaking potential! Draft custom sleeves like a fashion designer.

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Lesson plan


Lesson 1. Introduction & Getting Started

  • Meet your instructor, Apparel Arts founder Suzy Furrer, and consider the changes you'll need to make to a bodice sloper before you start drafting your sleeves. Suzy reviews the pattern modifications needed for a blouse, dress, jacket or coat, then goes over the key measurements you'll want to take for accurate sleeves.


Lesson 2. Basic Sleeve Sloper & Tailor Sleeve

  • With your measurements in hand, you're ready to draft a sleeve sloper that will serve as the base template for your sleeve designs. Suzy walks you through the drafting process line by line, and shows you how to true up the sloper to your bodice pattern's armhole. Then try your hand at drafting a tailor sleeve, which includes a dart at the elbow for ease of movement. Finally, double-check your final measurements and preserve your sloper by transferring it to sturdier paper.


Lesson 3. Two-Piece Sleeve & Sleeve With Vent

  • A two-piece sleeve, with or without a vent, is common on jackets and coats. Learn how to draft a two-piece sleeve with the seams just where you want them and make an adjustment to compensate for the arm's natural bend. The add extensions to create a vent with buttonholes. Suzy shows you how.


Lesson 4. Sleeve Variations Part 1

  • Short sleeves and 3/4-length sleeves are simple to draft if you follow Suzy's tips. Learn how to true up the base of the sleeve for a perfect underarm seam and how to draft the sleeve hem so it isn't skewed. Next, learn how to draft a cute, gathered puff sleeve that you can customize in a number of ways, or a pleated leg o' mutton sleeve with a narrowed elbow. Sleeve heads keep your sleeve puffs lofty, not limp.


Lesson 5. Sleeve Variations Part 2

  • Add some flare to your sleeves by slashing and spreading your pattern to create a full bell from the shoulder or starting lower on the arm. Suzy shows you how to draft both variations, along with a facing that makes hemming easier. Then try a cute cap sleeve with doubled fabric for structure, or a petal sleeve with overlapping curves.


Lesson 6. Lining, Placket, Pleat & Cuff

  • If you're drafting a coat or jacket, you'll want your lining to fit well within the sleeve. Suzy demonstrates how to create a lining with added ease for a smooth fit. Suzy also explains the correct positioning of a placket and pleats on a cuffed shirt and walks you through drafting the components. You'll be delighted to see her demonstration of placket folding as she demystifies what can be a confusing construction.


Lesson 7. Drop-Shoulder Sleeve & Bodice

  • Wrap up your class with a quick draft of a casual dropped-shoulder knit top. Suzy walks you through drafting the bodice, then shows the modifications you'll need to make on your sleeve sloper to accommodate the lowered shoulder. Some basic rules of thumb make it a speedy process

"I have two different books at home about pattern making, and none of them is so thorough and clear as Suzy's classes! I am so happy I was able to take them and I have learnt so much from them. I had made my own sleeves before with the help of the mentioned books, but now I actually understand what I am doing. And there is so much more information included in this class than in my two books together. Also, her way of drafting the sleeves and the other patterns is much more thorough and even logical than what these books have taught me. Thank you, Suzy."
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