Pattern Making a Strapped Head Sleeve

A strapped head sleeve is a great way to add an interesting design detail to a garment and create a strong, square silhouette. This type of sleeve is reasonably straightforward to pattern make but does require a sound knowledge of pattern making principles. We’ll be drafting this pattern from a jacket block with a 2 piece tailored sleeve. This process also works just as well on a 1 piece sleeve but won’t achieve the same tailored silhouette. If you don’t have access to a block you can either look online for a downloadable pattern or drafting tutorials, or invest in a Pattern Making book. One of my favourite books is Pattern Cutting for Women’s Outerwear by Gerry Cooklin. It includes explanations and diagrams detailing how to draft your own patterns based on body measurements.

Strapped head sleeve drawing.png

These diagrams are not to scale and are only approximations of the pattern shapes. They are only to aid in explaining the pattern-making process. I’ve marked the original block in blue and the adjustments in Black.

To begin, shorten the shoulder seam on the jacket block by 1-2cm and redraw the armhole. The reason for this is that the strapped head extends the shoulder line past the armhole seam and can create a very broad shoulder silhouette. Bringing the shoulder in on the jacket helps to maintain the original fit. How much you decide to reduce the shoulder seam by depends on the silhouette you want to achieve. It’s important to keep ease and wearability in mind when making these sorts of adjustments, especially across the back where there is a lot of movement.

Next,  Mark letters A, B, C, and D on the bodice block as shown in the diagram below (We’ll be marking in the letter I later).

Strapped head sleeve bodice.png

Mark in letters E, F, and G on the top sleeve. If you’re using a 1 piece sleeve, mark E at the back pitch notch, F at the shoulder notch and G at the front pitch notch. Square across from E to find H. Measure from G to H. Go back to your jacket block and measure up this distance (G-H) and mark I. Return to the sleeve pattern, mark J and K 3.5cm from E and H. This is the width of the strap. Square up from E, J, K, and H. Measure from A to B and add 5mm for ease, this is the measurement from E-L. Measure from I-D, again add 5mm for ease, this is the distance between H and M. Mark in a curved line from J to F to K.

strapped head sleeve.png

In order for the seams to fit together, it’s important that the L-E line is equal to the J-F line (plus 5mm ease) and the M-H line is equal to the F-K line (plus 5mm ease). At this point the J-F and F-K lines will be shorter. To fix this, slash the sleeve down the grain line and spread it as shown in the diagram below until the measurements are correct. Redraw your grain line and shoulder notch in the centre of the slash. Finally, add 1cm seam allowance to all your pattern pieces.

Strapped head slash and spread.png

I really hope this tutorial is clear and easy to follow. If you have any questions please let me know and I’ll do my best to answer. Thank you for reading!

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