Now that you know how to make a basic bodice sloper, you need to learn the Basic Sleeve Block Pattern Drafting. 

With this easy tutorial, you will be able to make the perfect basic sleeve block for the bodice sloper pattern we draft earlier with your own measurements.

This sleeve is also the very basis for making any type of sleeve you can imagine!

Use this pattern drafting technique to add sleeves to your dresses, shirts, tops, jackets, etc.

Do not forget to save this post on Pinterest, as it’s pretty detailed, and you might want to come back to it constantly. Are you ready to learn the Basic Sleeve Block Pattern Drafting technique??

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Basic Sleeve Block Pattern Drafting

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When people hear me talk about pattern-making techniques, SOME think it is tedious, technical, and even dull.

And only two out of those three statements are lies! 

Yes, pattern making can be a bit technical, but it is nothing near too dull.

My personal experience is that it is something sort of math meets magic.

You only need a few calculations, which I will give you right here, and a bit of creativity to make your designs come to life.

All from a simple sheet of paper.

In this tutorial, I will show you how to draft a sleeve -a long sleeve, that is. 

With this basic sleeve block, you will be able to make sleeve transformations to get any kind of design you want, whether it is short, ¾, or long.

And you can go as basic as to make a regular sleeve or even more advanced ones like the Mahoitres sleeve.

The best part is that you don’t need to have any sort of training or drafting experience, as I will be as detailed as possible!

Table of Contents:

  • What is a Basic Sleeve Pattern?
  • Materials needed to Draft a Sleeve Pattern.
  • The Measurements that are necessary to Draft a Sleeve Pattern.
  • Basic Sleeve Block Pattern Drafting Tutorial
  • Making the Basic Marks
  • Sleeve Cap Marks Front and Back
  • Front and Back Caps
  • Copying, Modifying, and Adding Seam Allowances.

What is a basic sleeve pattern?

How to shorter sleeves on a T-shirt. Cap Sleeve pattern alteration. Learn How to sew and modify your regular sleeves patterns into a better looking and more femenine sleeve.

The sleeve sewing pattern is a template made on paper (or in digital pattern-making software) and is used to create a sleeve to the exact measurement of the whole arm.

This pattern can be in one piece, or you can cut it into several sections to give it a different look, depending on the difficulty you want your design to be.

You can also modify it to make it wider, longer, shorter, or off-the-shoulder.

But to make a sleeve block pattern, you first need to know how to draft a bodice sloper.

This is because we need the measurements from the bodice block to make a sleeve that fits perfectly to assemble it. 

And even though not all garments have sleeves, it is still part of a pattern and needs to be marked with the basic essential information.

Remember to put the name of the pattern piece, the date, and pattern symbology, such as fabric grainline, cutting directions, notches, and sizing.

What materials do I need to draft a Sewing Pattern?

This is what you need to start drafting and creating your own sewing patterns.

Sewing Pattern Rulers
Farigaite Vogue Pattern Making Ruler Kit

Pattern rulers. You should have some basic rulers for sewing, such as the L-square and curve ruler. These are my absolute heart recommendation as they last pretty much over decades.

Measuring Tape.  This tape is very convenient and practical to measure distances easily and quickly and then join with a ruler. 

Pattern Makers Paper. You can use semi-transparent paper such as medical or architectural pattern paper or even medium-weight paper such as kraft paper if you will be using the pattern very often and want it to be more resistant.

Erasable pen or pencil. To make all the strokes of our pattern, we need a sharp pencil to make smooth and precise strokes.

Eraser. A good and clean eraser can better present our pattern and avoid marks on the pattern.

Pencil sharpener. The lines we draw when patterning is usually long, and it is straightforward for the tip to run out easily, so it is necessary to sharpen it to keep a visible line, avoiding thick strokes that can make a difference in size.

Scissors. These are useful for cutting the pattern once it is finished so that you are ready to place it on the fabric.

What measurements do I need to make a Basic Sleeve Block Pattern Drafting?

take your measurements

For this free sleeve pattern, you need to consider the following measurements.  We have a great tutorial on how to take your own measurements, in case you don’t know how to.

  • Cap Height:  Measure from the shoulder tip to the underarm line.
  • Elbow-length: Measure from the shoulder to the point of the elbow.
  • Arm length: Measure the distance from the top of the shoulder joint along the outside of the arm over the elbow to the prominent wrist bone, taken with the arm bent and the hand placed on the hip.
  • Upper-Arm Girth: Measure the maximum circumference of the arm, taken midway between the elbow and the shoulder joints.
  • Elbow circumference: Bend your arm again and measure around the circumference of the elbow.
  • Wrist circumference: Measure your wrist circumference

How to Make a Basic Sleeve Block Pattern Drafting. Step-by-step Tutorial

Making the Basic Marks

1. Fold your sheet of paper in half vertically. 

Now unfold and mark a line with your “L” ruler over the crease.

This line is the center of the sleeve.

2. From the top edge of the paper and on the center of the sleeve, mark 2″ down. We will use this line as a margin line and square to each side from the center.

Basic Sleeve Block Pattern Drafting

3. From the margin down the center of the sleeve, mark the Cap Height measurement and square each side with a straight line. This line will be the Cap Line

Next, measure ½ of the Upper Arm Girth to each side of the cap line and make a mark.

4. Measure the Elbow Length from the Margin Line down (over the center of the sleeve) and square a line on each side. This is the Elbow Line. Now, measure ½ of the elbow grith from the center to each side of the Elbow Line and make two marks.

how to draft a sleeve pattern

5. From the Margin Line Down the Sleeve Center, mark the Arm Length measurement. 

Then square a straight line to each side. This is the Wrist Line.

Mark ½ of the wrist girth from the center to each side of the Wrist Line.

Basic Sleeve Block Pattern Drafting

6. Join the following lines on each side: Upper Arm Grith-Elbow Grith-Wrist Grith. 

You can use your “L” Ruler to join each point. These lines are the Sides of our Sleeves.

how to draft a sleeve pattern
Basic Sleeve Block Pattern Drafting

Sleeve Cap Marks Front and Back

7. To draft our sleeve cap, make a straight diagonal line from the Margin Center Line down to the Upper-Arm Girth marks.

Before doing anything else, note which side of the sleeve is which. 

The left side of our drawing is the back of the sleeve, and the right will be the front of the sleeve.

Now, this is the tricky part.

We are going to check that the measurement of this diagonal line has the length our Bodice Sloper Pattern needs.

To do that, make this calculation out of the measurements of your bodice sloper pattern: 

(Length of the front armhole + length of the back armhole – ¼”) / 2.

In simpler terms, measure the front armhole’s length and add the measurement of the distance from the back armhole. To that amount subtract ¼”.

Finally, divide that in half. The result should be the total length of your diagonal line.

If, by any chance, the first line you drew doesn’t have this measurement, then move the diagonal line further from the center over the Upper Girth Line until you reach this measurement.

Modify the Side Lines as needed.

Basic Sleeve Block Pattern Drafting

8. Measure the diagonal line of the Front of the Sleeve, divide it in half, and mark.

Then, divide again in two, from the half-mark to the Upper Girth mark.

Basic Sleeve Block Pattern Drafting

From the second mark we made (the bottom quarter), measure and square down ⅜”.Then from the point of the half of the diagonal, square up ¾”.

how to draft a sleeve pattern

9. Repeat the steps you did in step 8 on the Diagonal Line of the Back Sleeve.

Except that this time on the bottom quarter, you will square down 3/16” instead o ⅜.”

Basic Sleeve Block Pattern Drafting

10. Measure 1”  from each Upper Girth mark to the center.

how to draft a sleeve pattern

Front and Back Caps

11. Use your French Curve ruler as indicated in this drawing to form the Cap of the Sleeve. 

Join the center point with the ¾” mark, then the ¾” mark with the ⅜” mark. Finally join the ⅜” mark with the 1” mark.

Move the ruler as many times as you need to create the perfect curved line as naturally as possible.

Basic Sleeve Block Pattern Drafting

12. To form the Back Sleeve Cap, we will use our French Curve Ruler again to connect our marks.

First, join the Center Line with the ¾” mark, flip your ruler and connect the ¾” with the 3/16” mark.

Finally, join the 3/16” mark with the 1” mark on the Upper Girth Line.

how to draft a sleeve pattern

12. To form the Back Sleeve Cap, we will use our French Curve Ruler again to connect our marks.

First, join the Center Line with the ¾” mark, flip your ruler and connect the ¾” with the 3/16” mark. Finally, join the 3/16” mark with the 1” mark on the Upper Girth Line.

Basic Sleeve Block Pattern Drafting

Copying, Modifying, and Adding Seam Allowance to the Sleeve Sloper.

Remember that you should never cut your original pattern.

This will base all your sleeve transformations and new sewing patterns.

Once you test on muslin and have made all the modifications to get the perfect fit, you can draw this sleeve on a thicker pattern paper option such as craft paper.

This will make it very durable and allow you to redraw it as many times as you need.

Cap Sleeves Pattern Tutorial. How to Sew and Draft a Cap Sleeve on any garment or regular sleeve sewing pattern.

The next step would be to modify the pattern according to the sleeve type of the design.

Then add the seam allowances.

For my sleeve seam allowances, I use the following numbers:

  • Sleeve Cap: ⅜” or ½”
  • Sides: ½”
  • Wrist Hem: 1”

If you are overwhelmed after drafting this pattern but still want to make a beautiful design, I recommend checking out our Easy Skirt Pattern Tutorial. You won’t even need paper for this design as you can make it directly over the fabric.

If you liked this tutorial, leave us a comment below and tell us what other tutorials you would like to see, maybe a tutorial on modifying your sleeve pattern?

Let me know in the comments!

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