I posted earlier this fall about strong shoulder silhouettes. My fascination with these extreme shoulder shapes was around the technical details. How did they construct them and what was used to maintain their shape? Some of the pictures in my idea file featured this sleeve used by Dolce and Gabbana in their Spring 2009 collection.
Yesterday my December issue of Burda magazine arrived in the noon mail and there was a “over blouse “ with similar sleeves. Shown in a brocade fabric, it was styled with leather pants, a wide black cuff bracelet and a clutch purse. Sort of a dressy up casual look, for holiday parties.
I had started working on a wool jacket that morning, but it was “same old stuff”. This over blouse was much more interesting, and after reading the instruction, I just had to make it. Was it a bit fashion forward for the Richmond fashion scene? Yes. For a lady my age? Yes. Would I wear it a lot? Probably not. But sewing is my hobby, done for pleasure, not production! If a new technique or style excites me, I will try it just for the experience. Okay, I do have a practical side. The blouse is actually a fitted sleeveless top, that is completely finished prior to attaching the lined oval shapes over the armholes to form the “shoulder puff’ sleeves. So when this fad passes I can remove the sleeves and have a very nice fitted holiday top.
I had a bunch of silk brocades in my stash, part of a bundle of tie fabric remnants bought years ago. So if this blouse reminds you of your husband’s tie, it may be the exact same fabric! And I keep a supply of lightweight separating zippers because I like to use them for blouses and indoor jackets. So I was ready to go. The blouse is in Burda Tall sizes. I fall in between the 5’9” of their tall size and the 5’6” of the regular size. I always make the regular size and lengthen leg and skirt lengths. I was prepared to “de tall” (shorten) this pattern, but during a test fit the bust point and waist fell in the right place for me. I did shorten the top at the hem a bit so it did not hit mid hip (widest point on me).
The sleeve pieces are two similar oval shaped pieces that are interfaced and lined. They are attached to each other along part of the seam that goes over the shoulder. I used a non woven fusible that tends to stiffen up fabric. It, along with the natural stiffness of the silk brocade, worked nicely to hold the sleeve shape. And the seam allowances on the shoulder curve are not trimmed. They are pressed open on both the lining and fashion fabric adding a lot of stiffness and shape in that area. The back sleeve piece is actually slightly bigger than the front, because it has go over the rounded contour of the shoulder back. I like the oval shape of the sleeves better than the circular shape used by D&G. It looks more “couture” to me. Someone did a very good job drafting this pattern.
Is this sleeve comfortable? Yes, when my arms are down or only bent at the elbow. (Note to self: Only drinks with straws, no bottled beer) When I start to lift my arm, I feel the stiffness of the sleeve edge, which is strange. If I lift my arms up a lot, the top goes with it. (Another note to self - restrained dancing only, hip shimmies and shoulders rolls) Ah ha, I just realized why they showed a clutch purse with it in the magazine picture. A purse strap would crush the sleeves. Ummm, I hope it’s warm the night I wear this. I can’t imagine what kind of coat or wrap to wear over it. I haven't seen a name for this sleeve. I think it should be called the Pauldron Sleeve. A "pauldron" generally refers to any kind of shoulder-pad style armor, covering the top of the shoulder. And the definition goes on to say that when the pauldron extends past the armpit, movement is restricted. I'd say that is accurate.
Laughing and head shaking is permitted.