Saturday, December 26, 2009

sleeves the lutterloh way

I hope everyone has enjoyed their holidays'. I know how bad the weather was in many places but that just makes us get into our sewing more. A good question was asked on doing the Lutterloh sleeves. Here I am showing you the method shown in the books. In the next post I will show you some additional helps.

In the pattern for a two piece sleeve you see the cross for putting your pin in. You will make both pieces putting your pin in the one cross but you will cut the pieces out.


Before cutting pieces apart....

Draw a horizontal line across the pin hole making sure it cross the two pattern pieces. This mark will be your matching mark for putting the two pieces together. The distance you see from that point to the wrist is a type of dart. When you put the sleeve together that will pull the sleeve in and may need a touch of easing to get it together.

Next we need to find the center of the sleeve top. I have left the drafting number above the sleeve center. When you draft this number be sure to put a center line into the pattern. You may not see a center line in the vintage sleeve so my next posting will be helpful for those patterns.

One thing about the Lutterloh sleeve that really works for me is the front fitting of the sleeve. (see example below of shape of sleeves) It follows my shoulder and makes the sleeve look great on my slanted shoulder. Patterns you buy at a store today create the sleeve to be nearly equal on both the front of center and the back of center. Yes that makes the pattern fit anyone but not usually with much style. Because of the fitting of the front of the Lutterloh sleeve you will need to fit the center to center line and fit the ease into the back as needed.

See instructions from the 2000 pattern book for sleeve fitting below.

See how fast the slop of the front drops?

And how gradual and long the back drops?

makes a better fitting but more challenging to fit sleeve.

you can click on this to enlarge it but most likely it is in your pattern book already.


  1. Thank you for your post! I'm so happy to have found your blog!

  2. I have a pants pattern where the front and back are connected at the side. Which means there are no side seams.

    Does Lutterloh have this pattern? If they did adjustments could be so much easier.

    Betty C

  3. Hi Betty,

    I have a pant pattern making business and connected sides is the last thing I need for fittings. With that said it is a pant option and great for sewing for kids. Just remove seam allowance on the sides and connect the pattern. You will have to figure out the yardage as it takes an opened out width in most cases to put down a connected pattern. Don't forget to flip the pattern when you place it on for the 2nd cutting. Does that make sense? These were very popular during the 1980's. You can certainly do this with a straight legged Lutterloh pattern.

  4. Wow - you ladies provide great info on Lutterloh patterns. Many years ago I bought the kit after attending a presentation. However I never used it but recently saw an ad for them and looked for my kit, but couldn't find mine. I did find my curve tools but not the tape and pattern book I initially bought. (But I'm still looking!) Does anyone know where I can find a slightly used (but not old) kit? I was thinking about trying it now but didn't think I wanted to buy the whole thing new again. Any help you can provide is appreciated.


  5. question about sleeves...
    Since I have a large bust (d cup) if I use my chest measurements for neck line and shoulders and my bust measurements for the rest of the bodice..what size sleeve should I choose or does it matter?

  6. Hi Lisa,
    If you read the post on Common Marking Mistakes, here:

    and the post on Adjusting Patterns for Knits here:

    you'll see how I mark the sleeve dots to adjust for your two different high and full bust measurements. The posting on knits will explain how to measure the difference between sleeve and armseye to be sure your changes will still result in a sleeve that fits the armseye. I hope that clarifies the markings a little better.

    Ann in Calif.

  7. Ann is correct in directing you to our past postings. No matter what you should "walk" the sleeve around the arm scye (the arm hole of the bodice) and if the sleeve has much too much fabric that would gather you would want to consider making a two piece sleeve. Ask if you need more info. to Walk a sleeve take the sleeve start at the arm hole and when you need to hold it still with your pointer finger and pivot the sleeve to go around the arm hole repeating as needed to make your way around the arm hole.

  8. The V in the sleeve stands for back so why do you say front?

  9. If you look at the symbols page included with every Lutterloh book and supplement you'll see that it is clearly stated that a "V" on a sleeve represents the front. If you don't have a symbols page to refer to you can see one here:

  10. I'm having trouble making my sleeves fit my bodices. In every garment I've done, I end up with a poofy spot on the sleeve right behind the shoulder seam. It occurred to me tonight that maybe the dots used for drafting might also be used as notches for matching? I compared my pattern pieces, but the dots on the underarm area don't match evenly; there would have to be gathers in the underarm if I matched all the dots. My experience with other patterns is that the underarm is always smooth, not gathered or eased. If the underarm is smooth, is there a particular dot that would be the beginning/ending point for the gathers? Is the "center" dot always the 5th from both ends, and does it match to the shoulder seam on the bodice?

  11. Wendy,
    Are you working from a vintage pattern?
    I always pin my sleeve in on my dress form and then keep moving it until I have the fit how I like. The back sleeve is best being longer, the front drops close to the body and then curves slightly. If your sleeve has too much puff, removing a little bit from only the top will help. This is a science getting sleeves to fit. In European sewing you don't get the fitting marks as it really doesn't match how a sleeve should fit you. They like good fit and we should all adjust how we make our clothing because we would get better fit. Be sure and ask more questions if this isn't enough help.

  12. Not vintage, it's from the "Classic" #3 FF. I have a fitting dummy, but it has no upper arms, just stops at the armpit/shoulder. I'm not sure if that will be enough to fit the sleeve.

    If there's no matching of the dots, can you please explain further the purpose of marking a center line as stated above? What is it supposed to line up with?

  13. Hi Wendy,
    The center line on the sleeve should align with the shoulder seam and the under arm seam should match the under arm seam of the bodice. Be sure you are stitching a basting stitch on the sleeve cap to help with easing the curve of the sleeve into the curve of the armsceye. If the sleeve will not fit with any amount of manipulating and steaming, as Fonnell mentioned, you may need to remove a small amount from the curviest portion of the top of the sleeve pattern. Start with very small adjustments until you can get the sleeve to fit the armsceye and be sure to pin the sleeve into the armsceye before removing more.

  14. One more tip Wendy,
    Since the sleeve piece is longer than the armsceye you should sew them together with the sleeve against the bed of the machine. The feed dogs should help in easing in the small amount of extra fabric.

  15. Wendy,
    if this happens to you each pattern I'm wondering if you are making your patterns for a large bust. Are your shoulders in the patterns loose also and from your neck to your chest is that loose a bit? You may just need to make your sleeve and top part of your patterns a smaller size. We can explore this until you figure it out and then do this fix on all patterns.

  16. Ann isn't the classic book for larger figures? maybe that is the magic issue. The classic patterns seem fuller. I should go dig mine out.

  17. So how do you find the center on the vintage patterns? I used to make jackets for a clothing designer, and the center point was always slightly forward of actual center to add ease to the shoulder blade area. Do I just go with the dot closest to this position?

  18. I'm guessing you mean the sleeve pattern center. You are correct we do not put a sleeve on at it's center.

    I actually don't trust the paper pattern. I hang my finished sleeve on my arm scye at the underarm and test that I have enough ease in the back and then pin down what will be the top of the shoulder.

    The most important issue with a sleeve is that it fits you! You can adjust the arm scye to any changes you make in your sleeve.

    I sew from the vintage patterns a lot and the arm scyes are very fitted. If you make them larger that sleeve has to grow also.

    Hope that answers your question. dots on papers aren't as important as sleeves that match your armsyce.

    1. I think it does. I'm finding very quickly that I'm going to need to keep the kind of notes that I do in fiber dyeing for this program. Write down everything I do, so that I can repeat it later. I have several sewing books, but after being trained by a midwestern dress maker, I find the language in them a bit tedious. lol
      I remember the center mark being about 1/2" forward of center, so I will start there. I am very petite (I always go down at least one size from actual measurements on bought patterns because the amount of ease they include looks baggy on me), so it probably matters very little as far as the armscye is concerned.
      Thank you