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.


  1. Shravanthi
    • Keerthi Ezhil
  2. ash
    • Keerthi Ezhil
  3. Judy Short

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