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…
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 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.
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.
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’