In search of long sleeves

23Jan13

The weather in the UK is atrociously cold at the moment and I am rapidly running out of warm clothes. Admittedly cold by UK standards isn’t all that cold, but it’s a problem when you’re not prepared for negative temperatures in the daytime.

When I bought clothes rather than making them I used to get annoyed by the fact that so few garments come with long sleeves and pockets. Making things with sleeves was one of the things I wanted to do. Fast forward a few years, and while my home-made wardrobe has plenty of pockets the long sleeves are few and far between. The two wool jersey dresses below are in heavy rotation right now.





I don’t know quite what the problem is with sleeves. Certainly they’re a pain in the neck to insert in woven fabrics, but sleeves in a knit aren’t difficult. Even easier if you don’t set them in but sew them in flat.

Is it just that there aren’t all that many patterns for long-sleeved knit dresses around? Neither of the ones above really count. The blue and orange dress pattern was originally for wovens and the navy blue dress pattern didn’t have sleeves at all; in fact I think I might have used the sleeve pieces from the blue and orange pattern.

Right now I’m looking for wool jersey to remake the dress from Vogue 8866, which is a great pattern but my current version’s made of polyester so not warm. Anyone got any other favourite patterns for warm winter dresses they can recommend?



21 Responses to “In search of long sleeves”

  1. i haven’t tried it but handmade jane did a lovely knit version of collette’s peony and i think maria denmark has a long sleeved knit dress.

  2. Wish i had some patterns to point your way. But I must say I REALLY love that blue & orange dress.

  3. I’m wearing an orange colored version of that navy blue dress (Burda, right?) and wishing it had sleeves today!! Oddly, even though I live in the NY area where we have rather cold winters, I rarely wear long sleeves. The sewing isn’t so hard, it’s the fitting. “Learn to fit sleeves” is on that list of things that would make me a better sewist.

    PS – LOVE the blue and orange dress!

  4. I’m with you on long sleeves! My next project will probably be the shift dress in September’s Burda which I’m thinking of making in wool tweed. I saw a lovely version on the Burda website

    http://www.burdastyle.com/projects/shift-dress–3

    Love the blue and orange dress above, which pattern is it?

    • Oh yes, that’s an attractive pattern!

      The blue and orange dress is sort of self drafted; the base is McCalls 2401 but the shoulder style lines were copied from a Burda design.

  5. Look at some long sleeve tops that you like. They can always be lengthened into dresses by adding a few inches! Good luck with your search!

  6. Oh I LOOOOVE that second one!!! It’s a problem finding wool knit of any kind here, and while West Coast Canada is mild by Canadian standards, I feel your pain in needing warm cosy ATTRACTIVE clothes; I wanna be warm but not feel like a frump in the process :P

  7. 8 Shams

    I really like the rust contrast, and how it is used, on the blue dress! Stay warm!

  8. Burda burda burda! My absolute favourite winter dresses are all burda magazine patterns & they’re all made in ponte knit (Truro fabrics has some really nice, high quality ponte). Specifically, the vintage pattern in 11/12 and the cover dress from 09/10 (which you can whack any old burda knit sleeve onto).

    • That’s funny because the navy blue one is the 9/10 cover dress with sleeves – inspired by your version! I should make more of that one.

  9. I love both of these so much! The Victory Patterns Lola dress is perfect for sweater knits or heavier knits, although it’s a bit more casual than the dresses you seem to prefer. I’m interested to see which patterns your readers recommend!

  10. How about Burda 09/2012 – 109, Cidell made a great version. I just made the jumper and it’s so easy you could have twice as many long sleeve dresses in your wardrobe by next week.

  11. 13 redsilvia

    Vogue 1317 is on my list to try with a double knit or wool knit. Pockets, longish sleeves and cuteness. You could take the skirt in a bit to suit your small frame and make the sleeves longer to match your vision.

  12. Oh lord stay warm and it does get pretty chilly in the UK thanks, certainly compared to NZ that’s for sure.

    Good luck with finding patterns / shapes to suit – sorry I can’t be of much help there.

  13. 15 Sheree

    What about vogue 8742? I plan to make it without all the gathers, but must admit, now I have seen Jane’s sew and tell Burda suggestion I am leaning more towards this.

  14. Love the orange and blue one and the brown boots. You should pick up a few winter Knipmodes (or Stitched by You which is like a short version by the same publisher but includes kids sizes too) for that sort of stuff. Knip do a crapload of long sleeve and knit styles and their coat/ jacket stuff ain’t bad either. I’ve had a drape front long sleeve knit cut out and sitting under the ironing table since winter abruptly fled =S Craftymama’s has had Knips on sale for awhile now. Dunno if it’s easier to get them where you are but I can scan you some pattern summary pages if you like. Also their average height is 2 cm taller than burda et al-which should work out well for you XD

  15. I know what you mean! I think that part of the problem with long sleeves in a woven is one of comfort – every time I make a dress with long sleeves I find them uncomfortable, so for woven dresses I’d rather just wear a sweater. I always put sleeves on knits though! Vogue has a ton of patterns that can be made in a double knit or ponte. Have you made Simplicity 2054 (Cynthia Rowley)? I have, and it’s super warm, especially if you make the detatchable cowl.

  16. So pretty, love the orange and blue. My go -to for knit dress, long sleeves, is Vogue 1315. Great sleeves and I’ve used them on other knit garments as well!

  17. Love the colour combination in the first dress. But don’t your legs get cold? I hit the opaque tights the minute the thermometer drops, even in globally warmed Sydney.

  18. I must be crazy- Id rather put in sleeves than deal with sleeve facings. I love the orange stripes on the blue dress- nice!


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