Sewing 205 - Pattern Drafting: Basic Sleeve

Updated: Apr 14

Principles of pattern drafting

As you know, we usually draft half a front pattern and half a back pattern on the assumption that a full front or back pattern are symmetrical on both left and right sides. But for the Sleeve, we shall be drafting the entire sleeve spread out.

Basic Straight Sleeve Sloper

In the above illustration, the left half is the Front and the right half is the Back. These positions can be switched if you like. With this concept in mind, we shall not be splitting any of the measurements into halves or quarters, except to label the sleeve as front and back.

Tools you will need

1. Straight ruler

2. Set square

3. Curve ruler

4. Pencils / Eraser /Sharpener

5. Brown paper/ Drafting Paper – 1 sheet (30L x 20W inches) or (50cm x 75cm). It should be longer than your Full Arm length measurement and wider than Bicep measurement. You can always tape sheets of paper together to get the right size.

Measurements you will need (Feel free to work in Inches or Cm)

1. Full Arm Length

2. Under Arm Length

3. Shoulder to Elbow

4. Bicep

5. Hand

6. Front Bodice Armhole

7. Back Bodice Armhole

IMPORTANT! Download Basic Sleeve Calculation Worksheet Here first

The Sleeve Draft


1. Line A - B = Full arm length Measurement

2. Line B - C = Under arm length Measurement minus 1 inch (2.5 cm)

3. Line A – D = Shoulder to Elbow Measurement

4. Line E – F = Bicep measurement. Split Bicep measurement equally over point C. EC is equal to half bicep, and FC is equal to EC.

5. Line G - H = Wrist [Bicep measurement minus 2 inches (5cm)]. Split Wrist measurement equally over point B. GB is equal to half wrist, and BH is equal to GB. This should wider than your Hand measurement.

6. Join points EG and FH with straight lines

7. Line I - J = Square a straight line on both sides of point D, touching lines EG and FH. Label as points I and J as illustrated.

8. Join points AE and AF with straight lines


Shaping the Sleeve Cap

9. Point 1 - Divide line AE into two equal parts

10. Points 2 and 3 - Divide line AF into 3 equal parts

11. Mark guide lines as follows:

• Halfway of Line A1 - draw a perpendicular line 3/4 inch (2cm) long to the left side

• Halfway of Line E1 - draw a perpendicular line 1/2 inch (1.2cm) long to the right side

• At Point 2 - draw a perpendicular line 3/4inch (2cm) long to the right side

• Halfway of Line F3 - draw a perpendicular line 3/8 inch (1cm) long to the left side

NOTE: You can modify these measurements to add or remove fullness from the sleeve cap as needed.

12. Join points A,1,E with curved lines touching the guidelines. Keep the line flat at points A and E

13. Join points A,3,F with curved lines touching the guidelines. Keep the line flat at points A and F

Finding the centre of the Sleeve head.

14. To find the centre of the sleeve head, we are going to subtract the armscye measurement taken from the bodice, from the sleeve head measurement to give us the amount of ease in the sleeve.


Full Sleeve head (Green and pink lines above) = 22 (you can round off your answers)

Front and back Armscye = 9.125 + 9.875 = 19

Therefore, 22 - 19 = 3 (the ease)

15. Now we are will split the ease into 2 and add each half to the front and back armhole measurements taken from the bodice


Ease divided by two - 3 ÷ 2 = 1.5

Front armhole - 9.125 + 1.5 = 10.625

Back armhole - 9.875 + 1.5 = 11.375

16. Line E - x = Measure from Point E, the Front armhole plus ease measurement along the sleeve cap and mark point x. See illustration above. The remaining sleeve head curve goes to the back.

17. Point x is the new centre of the sleeve head, which will be sewn to the shoulder point of the Bodice.

18. Line x - y = Square down a straight line to the base of the sleeve. This is the new centre line of the sleeve.

NOTE: That although the front armhole usually smaller, it might be different in your own case, so your final sleeve might be slightly different from the illustration.

Please let me know how it works out for you. Thanks for reading.

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