Friday, October 19, 2012

Who is afraid of the Crater Sleeve?

I think I can already reveal a small detail of my Burdastyle Couture Challenge project before the entire post goes up on their site next week. While you know that I wanted to focus on the sleeve of this top, I haven't mentioned that one of my intentions was to try the Crater Sleeve from Tomoko Nakamichi's Pattern Magic.


It didn't quite work.

I tried six muslin sleeves and one in the fashion fabric. I increased ease, reduced ease, made in on straight grain and on bias grain, until it has become clear that the sleeve drafted as in Nakamichi's book would only work with loosely woven spongy fabric. I was working in wool satin, which turned out to be as challenging as wool gabardine - difficult to press and difficult to manipulate.

It was just the top portion of the sleeve that would not fold in properly. I will be posting photographs later, because I want to get try this sleeve in another fabric. I spent two full days redrafting the sleeve, each time better then before, but it was still not perfect. Susan Khalje helped me with improvements during the last week's couture class in Baltimore and I think we were going in the right direction. Finally, having time constraints and another project to work on, I decided to draft and make a different sleeve. It looks similar to the crater sleeve but is easier to make. I like the look, and next week I will blog about the result here and on Burdastyle sharing some how-to tips.

As for the crater sleeve, let me know if you have seen any successful attempts to recreate it - I would love to see what fabric was used and how the sleeve 'crater' was stabilized at the cap.  Maybe you want to try it yourself?


  1. Many years ago I made a skirt out of wool satin and had no idea what I was getting into. It just doesn't manipulate like looser weave wools, nor is it easy to press, as you said it's harder than gabardine to use. I love the sleeve and I admire your perseverance.

  2. I love this sleeve and next month at a sewing weekend with a tutor, I'll be attempting a couple of pattern magic techniques. The crater sleeve is one that I'd like to try because I know I would love to wear it as a feature on a jacket. I'm thinking of starting simple with the bamboo shoot and the collar features.
    Thanks for attempting the sleeve Marina. I know you'll nail it.

  3. Funny you should mention this as I was just looking at that book the other day, having finished the twist top (very easy) and thought I might try the crater sleeve on a jacket. I was thinking of making a very plain hip length jacket in a boucle wool. I think that might fit the bill as a spongy fabric. nothing ventured.... I will let you know if I get anywhere with it.

  4. How interesting! I'm looking forward to seeing your version!

  5. I spent a long time trying to get this right for a jacket I wanted to incorporate it into - I failed miserably. Which is such a shame because I just love the concept! I can't wait to see your results, even if they aren't quite what you want it to be - seeing and hearing about how you handled it makes me feel not so bad for eventually abandoning it... No amount of interfacing, stabilising, hand sewing, easing, steaming, pressing or ironing got me anywhere even close to what it looks like in the book. Mine always ended up looking more two dimensional than 3D. Like it was just a fancy seam being incorporated. Gah!!

  6. I have both of the pattern magic books and have been so perplexed and not quite sure even where to begin with them! I am glad I am not the only one:)) I know you will succeed.




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