atelierniSHASHA How-to | Level up and learn how to add sleeves into your doll garments

Hey, dollings! I hope things are going well over your little corner of the universe.


So, indeed this post is about my process of adding sleeves to my dolls' sleeved tops, tees and dresses.


This post is for those who are REALLY INTERESTED TO LEARN.

If you think you are ready to learn this, please allot

AT LEAST AN HOUR to go through the steps ;)


I actually already uploaded a youtube video of the same title. However, I am still much of a newbie when it comes to voice overs and video editing so I felt the need to run through it again,

and hopefully explain the missing points here.



So here's my process.


Start by drafting the bodice sloper first.


I have a detailed video on how I draft a sloper here, in case you want a video version.

But basically, you grab two pieces of fabric

just enough to cover half of the doll's front bodice,

and another half at the back.


Below is the front bodice sloper, which is only half.

We're making just one sleeve for demonstration so I'm not making a full bodice sloper.


I cut slits on the curves of the neck and the arm hole

to lay the fabric as close as possible to the doll body, 

and to find the curves I want.


At this stage, I also tuck in my vertical and bust darts.



Front bodice sloper (half)


Back bodice (with vertical dart) now taped to the sides and the body


Now that our bodice sloper (half, that is) is ready,

let's draft our sleeve.


Drafting the sleeve pattern


I start this stage by measuring the arm hole circumference.



Taking the front half sleeve hole measurement


For this older fashionista doll (articulated),

I decided that the front half of the arm hole is 3cm,

and the back half is 3.5cm.


I make these notes while at it


Also I take measurements for the width of the sleeve,

which in my illustration is noted by 3 levels of curved lines.


I have 3 arrows there for each centimeter from the top.

Each arrow refers to the changing widths of the sleeve,

from back to the center of the arm,

then center of the arm to the front, as I measure like in the photo below.


Measuring sleeve width, from back to center of arm




Measuring sleeve width from center of arm to front (sorry for the off-focus shot)



Next up,

measure the sleeve hem circumference.


Decide how tight or loose your sleeve hem circumference at this stage.


And then I also measure the distance I want

from the sleeve hem/edge and

the armpit area.


Here then are my measurements,

in a new sleeve illustration.


My hem circumference is 4cm, and distance from hem to armpit is 1cm




Now that we have the measurements,

let's transfer them on an actual fabric.


Transferring measurements on test fabric


For this stage, I start with my hem circumference,

which is 4cm, and use it as my pattern's widest area.


Then I mark the center of it,

make a vertical line from the hem

to the tip of the shoulder,

then stop for my actual sleeve length.


Then on each side of the hem line,

I make a vertical line up 1cm each,

as this is our distance between armpit and hem.


From the armpit, I shape my measuring tape

like a sleeve curve up the shoulder tip.



Transferring measurements unto test fabric



I make sure the curve length equals my measurement,

which are 3cm for front sleeve curve,

and 3.5cm for back sleeve curve,

like we measured earlier.


Our actual sleeve measurements on the fabric, yay!


Then let's cut the new pattern with added seam allowance

so it's easy to tape unto our bodice sloper.


Cut slits on the inner curves


Don't forget to cut slits along the inner curves

so your pattern can easily lay flat on the doll.


Taping sleeve pattern on bodice sloper

I start with taping the center tip part of the sleeve

unto the shoulder tip of the bodice sloper.





Then I tape the rest of the sleeve pattern

around the arm hole of the bodice sloper.


Tape the hem as well to check if your armpit distance works

Pattern on Paper


If you are satisfied with this pattern you made,

transfer them to something that you can reuse over and over again.




I use graphing/math paper because the grids help a lot with keeping my lines straight.

I also cover the final pattern with transparent tape

so they don't tear apart with reuse.




Pattern on prototype fabric


Once all your patterns are ready,

take your prototype fabric and start

sewing ;)


Can't wait to try and see if our pattern looks great!



To sew this top,

let's start with the shoulder seams.


shoulder seams first...


Then the darts, bust and vertical, next.


Darts, next


Okay, so the next part is you attach your sleeves

unto the armholes,

then do both the side seams,

then hem the neckline.


I didn't record this part of the procedure,

however I have a how-to videos uploaded here,

for your reference.

That playlist details how to make a shift dress,

but basically it's the same techniques used.


Please check that one out if you haven't done a similar process yet.

I don't mind waiting here...


Start here, of you're from my youtube how-to shift dress playlist..

Hey, thanks for coming back.


So you probably arrived with something like this

after checking my videos, right?



and this..



And here's our final pattern prototype.


front part


back part


I think this pattern is perfect as template,

and I'll just tweak it a bit depending on the new design I want.


I hope you learned something from this how-to

blog post, dollings, because to be honest,

sleeves are hard to make and this mini demo has taught me so much.


If you have suggestions on what I patterns you want to learn making,

just drop your comments below and I'll make sure to find a way

and do it when I can.


I wish you an awesome weekend, dearies and see you next crafting time!






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