The only kind of pattern drafting I enjoy is making sleeves. Not sure why, but it’s something I feel like I can handle. Maybe because the fit isn’t as weirdly tricky as going over the bust & around the waist. There’s only the armscye/sleeve head to deal with & then it’s done. The fit is hard to screw up.
But best of all, sleeves are crazy! They come in so many shapes & sizes & wacked-out designs. Sleeves can pump up the volume. I love historical eras with big, funny sleeves. Like this one, yay!
For the Medici gown, I started with my trusty simple Elizabethan sleeve pattern, scaled up from Hunnisett. It’s the basic sleeve on page 64, a straight, one-seam 16th-century sleeve. I’ve used this one perhaps a dozen times, & it always works. Well, admittedly, my last copy of it was a little short (prob. because I had put a cuff on it), so I did re-draw the pattern so it was even more perfect.
I wanted the sleeve to have a slashed puff like in the Isabella portrait, so I pulled out the patterns I’d made for my Valois gown‘s puffed sleeve & the slashed puff sleeve on my Elizabethan loose gown. By combining the size of these two, I got the right size for the Medici sleeve, after the second muslin pin-fit mockup.
Finally got to cut out the black silk for the base sleeve & the slashed puffs. Since I have to trim all the slash pieces before assembling, I realized I should measure out how much of the wide silver lace was left (I can’t get anymore; it was on a sale table at Michael Levine’s in the L.A. Garment District last January). Eeep! There was not enough lace to put it on both sleeves, plus along the front skirt edge. And I really want the lace along the skirt to tie the look of the bodice & skirt together. *sigh*
Many other trim options were considered & much measuring was done … then I pulled out some narrow silver lace from The Stash. It’s this cheap, mylar-y stuff that I have scads of & have actually tried to sell in the past. Not sure when or where I got it, maybe in a grab bag or lot with other stuff or online where it looked less fakey. However, when I placed it next to the expensive silver lace… hmm… it didn’t look too bad… in fact… the color is identical & the plasticky-ness isn’t really apparent! Then, add the darker silver braid next to that… and… well… the cheap stuff passes muster imnsho!
So the solution appears to be using two rows of the narrow silver lace with the darker silver braid in the center on each slash strip. Use the wide silver lace on the band below the puff & possibly along the sleeve’s seam.
Oh yeah, & pearl clusters on the slash strips, along the sleeves, on the bodice, & down the front skirt edges too. Oi.