Drop Sleeve: Sport Sleeve Shirt

Edited title to correct the name of this draft. It is not a drop sleeve but a sport sleeve.

I’m grudgingly back to drafting.  I Not because I just love to draft, but because I’d like to have Kimono, Dolman, and Raglan styles in my wardrobe but can’t figure out how to fit them when I start with someone else’s draft i.e. commercial patterns.  I’m starting with  what Adele Margolis calls the ‘Sport Shirt Sleeve’ in her book Make Your Own Dress Patterns.  Adele references the ‘Sport Shirt Sleeve’ draft when developing the 3 styles.

Margolis gives step-by-step directions on page 358-59 of her book “Make Your Own Dress Patterns”.  I’ll not repeat them here because 1) they are copyrighted 2) they are complex involving changes to the armscye  front and back  and the sleeve cap. I traced my woven basic block and made changes to that copy. I’ve always held the armscye to be sacrosanct.  I was surprised to find through changes of this draft that the curve isn’t that important. Only that the cap and bodice armscye lengths are the same.    I copied the vent and high low hem of CLD’s JMS and I scooped the neckline and I left all the vertical darts in my block unsewn. I also opted for a 3/4 sleeve length.  It’s interesting to me at how much my block can change but still be the same. Then it occurs to me that most of my clothing is really going to be a lot alike. Not uniform exactly but roughly the same because I am a certain shape (I don’t mean old, just my dimensions are set) and I like a certain amount of ease. I’m also particular about hem eighths and there are some styles that I just dislike. With those kind of parameters in place, my garments are going to look a lot alike even if I start with different patterns.

I’m using a rayon challis print purchased several years ago I think from Fabricmartfabrics.com.  As usual I fused tape to the front neck and the back shoulders  Applied interfacing to the hem. Then I serge finished the hem, stitched the mitered vents before turning up and fusing the hem into place.  Once of the things I truly love about the CLD mitered hem is that it’s done this early. I’m hemming before I even stitch the bust darts. Almost. I didn’t stitch the hem at this point. I continued by serging the shoulder together and stitching the right shoulder 1/8″ deeper to offset my shoulder asymmetry. I finished the neckline with commercial bias tape which is turned inside, edge stitched and top stitched 1/2″ away.  I decided to get at least a little fancy and added 2 rows of polyester ribbon to my sleeves using an applique stitch #Q12 of my Dream Machine.


Applying the ribbon was a 20 minute job at most.  I sewed slowly trying to very accurately place the stitches. I missed a few places. Afterwards, I serged the sleeves to the body, stitched the side seams and added 3/8″ shoulder pads. I’m glad I’m back into shoulder weather. I mean I can’t put shoulder pads in sleeveless garments. So all summer, I don’t have shoulders. Come fall, I can pad them out a little and have shoulders.   The last thing I did was to top-stitch the hems and vents. To make them extra crisp, I made one row of edge stitching and one row of top-stitching 1″ away.   Did not check fitting.  This is my block.  I’ve used it a dozen times in a dozen ways.  The single change, drop sleeve, is either going to be OK or not.  So how is it?


It does feel more comfortable, which is surprising. I’ve always been taught that the higher and tighter the sleeve, the more range of motion and comfort the wearer experiences. But I found Margolis is right. This Sport Shirt Sleeve is designed for action. She does seem to complain that this sleeve has ‘a tendency to wrinkle under the arm and poke out on the overarm’ and maybe less attractive or even look like it doesn’t fit.


Had a little problem with one of the vents. I used the Quick Easy Miter Tool

The straight edges of your item are aligned with the lines on the tool and then you slash across following the edge of the diagonal.  The lines on the tool are set for a wider miter than I want. I mark my tool with tape at 1.25″ because that’s what I use the most. Unfortunately, I aligned the tool correctly 3 times, the 4 time I was off.  I patched but that was imperfect too.  When finished, my vents are different from side to side but the difference is not so great that anyone except me, and now maybe you, would notice.


I think the finished blouse is classic and pretty . I could easily see wearing this to work. Well since I don’t work, the doctor’s office, church and other public places.  A jacket or other 3rd layer, takes the look up a notch even if you won’t be able to see my pretty ribbons.  I really should do more ribbon work. Ribbons are easy, durable and look beautiful.

I think the finished draft is a success. As I said before, it’s slightly more comfortable. My one regret was to create this draft by tracing my basic block on tissue. I was thinking this would be a one-off. Made once to see how it works and then move along to the Kimono and Raglan drafts. Now I’m thinking, I should make this permanent in interfacing or something and keep using it. It’s that good.


7 thoughts on “Drop Sleeve: Sport Sleeve Shirt


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