Cap Sleeves-Barnfield&Richards Draft

I traced a new copy of my sloper including all its darts and notches.  Left the back shoulder dart in place.  Stylistically, I’d prefer a back cut on fold with no darts.  Fit wise, I’ll be happier with all the darts.  I extended the shoulder point 5.5″  (just like the previous draft) and marked the side seam for a 2″  lowered underarm.  This time I followed Barnfield & Richards “Pattern Making Primer” instructions to raise the orignal shoulder point 3/8″  before drawing the cap sleeve lines (gold wedge in back diagram).   It gives the shoulder line an unusual up then down slant.  I think I’ve seen a similar arc on CLD patterns.  Make no mistake here, I’m not copying her draft.  Louise has said very plainly, several times, that her draft is developed from the kimono shoulder/sleeve. Those instructions are vastly different from what I’m doing here.  I do see the similarity with CLD’s draft in the final pattern pieces but, trust me, they are not the same.

I carefully reviewed my pics from the Margolis draft and am convinced that this extended shoulder is going to need more room at the back hip.   I’m puzzled by this and quite certain it is the extended shoulder creating this issue. I’ve both taken measurements recently and used my woven sloper from which this extended shoulder pattern is developed. Since the woven sloper fit, it must have to do with the current changes.  I also saw tightness on the back at the armscye. Tightness not echoed on the front. So my second change was to use the pivot and slide method to add 1/2″ at the side seam and hip. (Red shape along the side in the back diagram ).  The armscye area typical for sleeved/sleeveless styles is automatically filled and becomes the cap sleeve during sewing.

My sloper includes seam allowances but not hems so my final alteration added 1.25″ to the length (bronze/gold at the hem).

Back pattern piece

On the front pattern piece, I raised the shoulder point 3/8″, extended it 5.5″ and dropped the armscye 2″.  I also added 1.25″ at the hem. I did not add additional ease at the side seam and of course, the bust dart must still be sewn.

My fabric choice is a cotton-voile with paisley print.  My button is a shiny thing that the crow in me couldn’t leave in the store.  Came in a mixed package of 1/2″ and 3/4″ buttons.  Never thought I’d use any of them, but as I spread out buttons on my fabric for evaluation, it became clear that the 1/2″ was the most attractive combination. It neither overpowered (as the 3/4″ did) nor disappeared into the print ( as many other buttons did.)

I opted not to sew any of the vertical darts but did serge finish and make my stitch length for easy removal.

From the first fitting to the final, the front looked pretty nice:

I’m not too concerned by the few bubbles. Cotton voile tends to cling rather than slide off the body. I did a search on Google for “Cap Sleeves”.  To my surprise most cap sleeves shown are separate sleeves sewn into the armscye which would eliminate most of my issues. The few cap sleeves I found that were in-one with the armscye showed the same vertical wrinkle from shoulder point to underarm as seen on my own garment. I remember this same wrinkle on my aunts and older cousins way back when cap sleeves were popular (the 50’s). I think this may be typical of the extended shoulder. Personally, I don’t object to it. I’m just not sure it’s a fitting issue or if it’s supposed to be there.

After Fit 01,


I added a 3.5″ vent at the side seam hem.   I wasn’t sure if I was looking at a fit issue or if I was experiencing velcro-butt due to the cotton voile.

Final and WEARABLE

I thought it was the voile, but the final, with vent, is clearly nicer fitting.  I don’t really understand why I would need almost 2″ additional ease across the hip, but that’s on the list for the next version.

I was more concerned with the wrinkles emanating from the underarm which are more clear in the side view:

Apparently, I also need more that 1″ additional ease across the back at the underarm. I wonder how high up the ease needs to be made.  Returning to view the back pattern piece

I see that little ease was added to the back above the waist.  Do I need more?  Instead of pivot and slide, should I have evenly added 1/2″ ease along the entire side seam? Somehow the front and back shoulder length must be equaled.  Do I ease the back to the front? It already has a 1/4″ shoulder dart  which removed a total of 1/2″ length from the back shoulder.

I thought this would be another test and probably Goodwill donation. However I’m pretty happy with the final garment.  Think I’m going to add a few weights to the back hem and wear it for this summer.  However, I’m not done with cap sleeve drafting. This is real progress but I know of one other procedure for this type cap sleeve and a very different in-one-with-armscye cap sleeve draft that I also want to work with before moving on to something else sewing.





2 thoughts on “Cap Sleeves-Barnfield&Richards Draft

  1. I think it looks fine. With cap sleeves I think you will always have some wrinkles around the sleeve area. JMHO And, unless you’re standing/posing for a fit picture no one will ever see the wrinkles. I think it looks great.



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