I Think I Finally Understand Kimono Sleeves

They have been a bit of a puzzle to me insofar as getting a really close fit (like Gertie's wiggle dress). What confused me was the kimono block in Metric Pattern Cutting for Womenswear - see how low that curve (black line) is at the underarm? It starts at most a few inches above the waistline. That is definitely not the silhouette I have seen elsewhere!

But look a couple of pages later, at the styles with panel gussets. They fit more as I want, more like a regular dress. I saw in Natalie Bray's book (I think it was More Dress Pattern Designing from the library) a design that had a large gusset that was cut from the bodice pattern and arranged so that it had enough fabric to function ss a gusset, like the designs below where I have drawn in blue (water disolving pen).

And yesterday morning I thought, what if the segments were cut very narrow, maybe an eigth of an inch wide? (The blue lines on number 45 give a better illustration of what I mean.) That would give the same fit but with a much more traditional/discreet gusset. This way I can have a high-cut underarm for a kimono sleeve pattern. And there I was thinking that the instuctions on page 63 were the only way to get a comfortable fit! Thank goodness for the Internet, sewing bloggers and Google Images!

I've thought about it again, and I wonder if Aldrich only considers is to be a true "kimono" sleeve if it has the curve at the underarm, and without it, she calls it a cap sleeve (even if it's long)?

Update: I thought I was forgeting something!

For a closer-fitting sleeve, I wonder if it would be alright to use the "close-fitting sleeve" adaption (number 5 on page 51).

I'm wondering about the bias-cut. I think Gertie's dress was cut from a stretch fabric so that wouldn't be an issue. But what about wovens? Vintage dresses were cut from wovens and they often had quite close-fitting kimono sleeves, if the pattern illustrations and fabric recommendations are anything to go by (and I hope they are!).


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