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« Keep Those Peepers Peeled! | Main | What I Actually Wore #0153 »
Thursday
Jun132019

The Straight Sleeve

The most common or ordinary type of sleeve is what I define the ‘straight’ sleeve – most other sources simply define them by the length – short, three-quarter or long. The other defining characteristic is that they are ‘set-in’, which is to say they are set into the armscye of the bodice where the sleeve is joined. The sleeve head is curved and adjusted to the roundness of the shoulder. They can be fitted to the arm, or slightly looser.

The armscye is simply the technical term for the armhole opening of the bodice, to which the sleeve is joined. On an interesting sidenote, the origin of the word is Scottish, in folk etymology literally as it is pronounced: ‘arm’s eye’. [dictionary.com]

The other main type of sleeve is constructed in one piece with the bodice, such as kimono, dolman and batwing – very popular during the 1980s. There are also raglan sleeves, which join the bodice with a curved seam – they are most familiar in casual, sporty types of tops; often the sleeve will be of a different colour to the bodice, to accentuate the cut.

Straight sleeves can seem boring compared to the plethora of other imaginative cuts, but they can be saved from severity or plainness with the addition of interesting details or fabrics, such as in these three examples here.

My short sleeves here are made more decorative with the scalloped hem, just enough to offset the decorative front of the vintage silk blouse (probably 1950s). The three-quarter sleeves nod to warmer weather, if the spring-like floral pattern does not imply it enough; the blouse is by Zara. The long-sleeved All Saints blouse made of striped silk chiffon is of a very unusual design, a backwards wrap top! I’ve never seen this before. I bought the blouse in a thrift store, and was flummoxed for a while as to how it was worn, as the wrap at the back is quite low and gaping when worn reversed.

Keep up to date with sleeve lingo or for a quick refresher, visit the Sleeves Style gallery, which I will update as I go.

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