Monday, February 27, 2012

Design-a-long - The Paper Pattern Part 6 Sleeve Caps

Everyone who goes through the process of drafting sleeve caps will tell you how difficult they can be to alter. There is a tricky three way relationship between the armhole, the sleeve cap and the width of the sleeve. Add to that the varying shapes of women's bodies and the phrase "it's complicated" applies here. I wrote an earlier post on sleeve width and cap relationships, you can read it here so that I don't need to recap (no pun intended), that information.

There is a complicated mathematical formula that you will find in The Knitter's Guide to Sweater Design, which is a great reference book by the way. However, I've realized after teaching knitters how to do this with a different method the process can be greatly simplified. 

I've focused on showing you visually how to work out these details, so this is how I do it. You know the calculations that you used for the underarm shaping and you plotted them on graph paper, so mark that same shaping on a new piece of graph paper.

You can make a decision on the top section of a sleeve cap shape, that is how wide the final cast off section is going to be. Some designers use 25% or more of the stitch number that they used at the top of the sleeve. By that I mean the width at the underarm before the sleeve cap decreases begin. I sometimes start with that number myself. For my own customized patterns I use 2 inches. On a separate piece of knitters graph paper draw that out and then cut it out so you have just that section as I have in my scanned drawing. I use a little piece of tape to secure it while I fiddle with the  measurements. 

You know from measuring your armhole which you plotted out during a previous post, what the final length of the armhole is. The missing information is the section between the initial cast offs and the final cast off. I use my flexible ruler or you can use a measuring tape standing on its edge to connect the two segments. I fiddle the very top segment up or down as required. I then drawn the line in.

It's easier to work on one half of the sleeve cap for this. The measurement for the one half sleeve cap should not be more than 3/4 of an inch longer than the 1/2 armhole depth, (underarm to shoulder). That means the total sleeve cap can't be longer than 1 1/2 inches than the armhole. I like to ease my sleeve cap in. I like the roundness that easing creates at the seam edge. Not all knitters like that look. If you don't, make your sleeve cap as close to the measurement of the armhole as possible. It is important that it not be any smaller or the armhole will be gathered in. The final step is to draw in your stair steps on the graph paper where I have indicated the dotted line. You will notice that I have done a narrow sleeve with a high cap, so don't be influenced by the appearance of mine, plan yours to accommodate your own custom fitting.

Next time, I'll explain how you can use what you've been doing to knit the garment.

Links to the other posts:

No comments:

Post a Comment