I fleet, I float, I fleetly flee, I fly: adjusting the Colette Taffy flutter sleeves

The two patterns I’m really keen on from the Colette Sewing Handbook are the Taffy – a bias cut top – and the Truffle – a dress with a flounce in front. I’ve only seen one or two Truffles on the interwebs, but a handful of Taffies, and I must say, I find the flutter sleeves quite… big. A little too fluttery for me. They don’t look that way (disproportionately large) on the model, and I was keen to look at the pattern. Is there much of a difference between sizes 0 and 18? Not much, if at all. I wondered if they’d look that way – way big – on a size 8. Only one way to tell, of course…

obvs not a wearable muslin

Yeah, they’re definitely a bit sticky-outy. Like many, I neither want nor need any extra width in my upper body. While reading Adele Margolis’ book yesterday, I learned a lot about putting fullness into patterns via a series of darts… though she never addresses taking fullness out of a pattern. As an experiment, I wanted to see if the inverse worked as well. And it seems to… I’m much happier with the new sleeve:

I love having a before and after on the same garment!

I wanted to document what I did in case any readers or stumble-uponers might also be wanting to tame Taffy’s sleeves. The process is quite easy!

First, I drew in the seam line, and a number of darts – here there are 10 – to take out the fullness. The dart tips are at the seamline, but don’t go into it; I want the seamline to remain the same length.

The sleeve pattern as drafted - looks like a circle skirt!

I spaced my darts fairly evenly from each other – about 1 1/4 inches. It’s quite important to make your dart legs as equal in length as possible.

Second, I cut out my darts:

Third, I taped the darts together. For each of the darts, I brought in the leg closer to the edge in to meet the leg that is closer to the centre.

Lastly, I smoothed out the edges.

The photos of the pattern pieces represent about 8″ of fullness taken out of the sleeve’s bottom edge. I cut and sewed it on, and found that I could still use a bit more taken away.  I added two more darts near the upper edges, and widened a few of the darts around the centre. All in all, I think I ended up taking away about 11″ of fullness from the bottom edge, which makes a noticeable difference to the drape of the sleeve – the sleeve photos is of the larger amount taken away. While re-drawing the bottom edge to even it up, I did sacrifice about a quarter inch of length all around.

I’ll probably go through one more Taffy muslin. I have a small swayback adjustment I need to make – first ever! – plus I’ll be omitting the back ties. I’d like for all the shaping to come from the bias cut. Plus the ties seem a bit 90s to me. Just sayin’


2 thoughts on “I fleet, I float, I fleetly flee, I fly: adjusting the Colette Taffy flutter sleeves

  1. aw thanks 🙂 If you love darts, then you must get Adele Margolis’ book “Make your own Dress Patterns.” It’s only $17 on Amazon. The first chapter is a primer in darts, and how to move them around, divide them up into many parts, add them to patterns. I’m sure the VPL has a copy, or maybe several… the book’s been around since the late 50s, I think (with a different name, but clearly the same book).
    I love tinkering with patterns too – the overhaul I did on Negroni to get it to fit my fellow is a point of pride for me! I’m lucky that I seldom have to do any fitting… I probably could do some swaybacks here and there, but I just don’t care…
    I’m getting better at measuring out a pattern, examining line drawings and sussing out what I need to change to make a pattern work for me, style wise.

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