Drafting and Sewing Cap Sleeve

About Sleeves:

Sleeves are both functional and design elements of a garment. As functional elements, sleeves must allow fCap Sleeve Modelor freedom of movement and comfort and must enhance the overall purpose of the garment. As design elements, sleeves should complement the bodice to which they are attached. Cap sleeve are very short sleeve on a dress, shaped by lengthening only the shoulder part of the dress to form like a cap extension.

Cap-sleeve designs are the perfect solution for modest look especially for party wear dresses. Cap sleeves are suitable for formal dresses and sundresses also.  Join up your cap dress with a cardigan and you have the definition of unpretentious style. This sleeve looks good on pear-shaped body. Cap sleeve most liked by teenagers and mostly found on short dress and casual dress. Now you are going to learn drafting and sewing cap sleeve.

We can draft this in two types. First one is making a fresh construction draft. Second one is making with basic sleeve draft.

Cap Sleeve Construction:

0-1 = 1/8 chest – 1½”Cap sleeve drafting method

1-2 = ¼ chest – ¾” This line is called bicep line.

Join 0-2

Mark x. x is the midpoint of 0-2

Take (x-x’) = 1.5 to 2cms up

Make a shape of 0-x-2 as a front armhole curve

Make a shape of 0-x’-2 as a front armhole curve

Mark 1’ as 1.5cms to 2.5cms above from 1

Cap Sleeve Seam Allowance:

¼” armhole

1½” on hemlines

We can make this cap sleeve with our basic sleeve draft by following instructions:

ladies cap sleeve cutting

  • Take your sleeve draft and draw bicep line and grain line. Click here to learn draft details of BASIC SLEEVE.
  • Mark the meeting point of bicep line and grain line. Then make another mark 1.5cms to 2.5cms above the previous mark.
  • Join the armhole edges through this mark with gentle curve line. Yes…Now you get the cap sleeve draft.

Cap Sleeve Sewing Instruction:

  • Finish the sleeve edge by folding it up twice and stitching it flat.
  • Turn the dress or top inside out
  • Pin the curve to your armhole side by facing right sides together.
  • Sew the sleeve into the armhole.
  • Repeat the process for the other sleeve.

Things to remember:

  • Be sure to mark where the sleeve ends on the front and back at bodice.
  • For a basic sleeve, you could turn and stitch the hem, but this sleeve looks finest with a hem facing. The facing should be applied before setting the sleeve into the armhole.
  • Grain line is the fold line in draft.

Cap Sleeve Variations:

  • First one that mentioned in below picture is Basic Cap sleeve that start and end at side seam.
  • Second one is start and end 1” to 2” away from side seam.

 type of cap sleeves

different type of cap sleeve patterns

Third one is start and end with Point x and x’ (mentioned in construction draft). This type of cap sleeve pattern mostly suitable for strapless dresses to make a trendy look.

Cap sleeves are effective for women who are self-aware about their shoulders. V-shaped bodies look predominantly good in cap sleeves, because of the style’s ability to make the shoulders look narrower.

Keerthi Ezhil

I am a person with interested in sewing & fashion. I am always thinking about the wasted materials... Whenever I crossed the tailor shops I felt bad..that wasted materials also bought for money..these thoughts push me up to learn sewing. afterwards i improved my talent to do fashionable dresses for my daughter.. I always mentioned to use the leftover materials to use small pouch, handbag, little girls dress, small accessories...for my students. Now that experience took me to the next level.. Here I'm going to share my experience to all of u through these tutorials.

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4 Responses

  1. Shravanthi says:

    Ur awesome to be frank I am a fashion designing student but I was not at all interested in Pattern making but now to see the cost for stitching and wastage of our fabric is pushing me after search and search hook and crook I got it
    I started reading measurements it was 1/4th of chest I didn’t get and I got u like a charm

  2. ash says:

    Hi Am Ash frm Mauritius God bless u !i do not knw how i came to ur web but i must say that u r truely a Master,Ur tutorials are amazing,am just learning sewing and ur explanation are so good that even a person who does not know anything about sewing will be able to make something right away.Ur patterns are just so elaborate and precise and NOT CONFUSING thank u for sharing ur precious knowledge.

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