Year of the Sleeve?

Apparently this year is the “year of the sleeve.” I am not entirely sure what that even means, but it appears that basically everyone put ruffles on their arms and called it a day. I don’t really do ruffles. And by “really” I mean, I’m more likely to walk around in my underwear than wear something with ruffles. So I figured this “look-at-me-sleeve” thing was probably not for me.

And then I saw a knit black leather-sleeved cardigan on Pinterest and I could not get it out of my head. Instead of black, I thought a color might make it a fun “key piece” (a la the Curated Closet, which omg if you haven’t read I cannot fully express what a difference that book made in my closet, and my general outlook on clothes and sewing). I still really want one in a black or dark grey, and it’s in the cue!

I used the Blackwood cardigan pattern (which I’ve expressed my love for here). Originally, I made this in the longer length, but the color and the sleeves looked a little too costumey. My boyfriend told me it looked somehow “superhero-like” which I attribute to the red cape-like length? Anywho, I chopped it and made it short, which was definitely the right call. Now, according to the boyfriend, it has a slight “varsity jacket” vibe, which is a huge step up from Dr. Strange.

I used a double brushed poly knit in an oxblood color from Califabrics, my main fabric squeeze. The stretch faux leather is from joanns. I cut a size small and graded to a medium at the hips. For the sleeves, I left off the cuffs, and actually didn’t change the sleeve length at all. The Blackwood sleeves are designed to slouch at the wrist, so I thought I might have enough fabric there for a hem without adding any length. It turned out to be perfect for a half inch hem. Sidebar: I was SUPER nervous finishing the hems on my cover stitch. You can’t un-puncture faux leather. But after a little pep talk with myself (“Girl. It’s ONLY FABRIC. The sky does not fall down if you mess it up”), it turned out just fine, and I’m definitely getting more coverstitch confidence.

I made sure to stabilize the shoulder seams with twill tape, since the knit stretches more than the leather, and I didn’t want the seam to stretch out when pulling the bulkier sleeves on. I needn’t have worried, these sleeves slide right on without any real tugging.

Since this is kind of a light cardigan, I feel like it will really shine during the season transitions, or warmer winter-ish days (Bay Area bred people like me have no real concept of “winter” other than “It’s kind of rainy, and it’s between 45-65 degrees”). Next up: one in grey or black!! I feel like I’m making good progress on my fall sewing plans. You can see what else is on my list here.

Okay, now tell me: what are your thoughts on the “year of the sleeve” thing. And am I alone in my anti-ruffle-ness?

7 Replies to “Year of the Sleeve?”

  1. What a fun idea! I have some stretch pleather that I bought with something specific in mind, if I have offcuts I shall remember the pleather sleeve plan! OK, year of the sleeve. I don’t do fancy details, but as co-host of the Sleevefest sewing challenge I have to fly the sleeve flag a little ? I saw some amazing creative sleeves for the challenge, and they really lifted otherwise simple tops. My only venture into sleeve-world was making McCalls 7542 in a knit fabric. I love the swooshy sleeves, but have discovered the problem with statement sleeves: you can’t wear anything on top of them ? Anyway, I love your take on year of the sleeve, and agree it has a varsity vibe!

    1. I love your statement sleeves! I even love the ruffle sleeves on OTHER people. But every time I venture to try something ruffley on, I just hate it immediately. I think I like ruffles in theory, but not in practice, as it applies to me… The bell sleeve thing I can get a little more on board with, but I think I’d probably just drag them through all kinds of things, accidentally. And yeah, it never occurred to me that you can’t wear anything over them. Maybe some cute sleeveless vests?

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