How I learnt what an armscye is

I learnt a new word as I learnt a new skill. As you do.

The skill is to sew a garment that fits a person perfectly. It is, I suppose, what haute couture does for its rich clients, or indeed a good seamstress for everyone else.

The first step is to take numerous measurements of your target person – bust, waist, nape-to-waist, armscye depth, and lots more.

Then you take a calculator and a ruler. Using your measurements, you calculate step by step and draw a plan – which will eventually become the paper pattern for the perfectly fitted garment.

I hugely admire the mathematical and geometric talent required to develop the theory behind this process. This is the plan I was following using my own measurements:

And the armscye, just to make that clear, is the circumference of the top of the arm, essentially the hole into which the sleeve is fitted. It is the oval shape in the centre of the drawing above. I love these specialist terms that no outsider has a clue about.

And after all this effort, what was the outcome in fabric form? The prototype is made of cheap, white cotton and has only one sleeve. The next task is to amend this prototype and create something that is actually wearable.

1 Comment on "How I learnt what an armscye is"

  1. This is great! I only sew with a pattern. However, my daughter, who had little experience of sewing until first grade and then later sewing pig’s skin for her medical studies, actually does wing it. She seems to have an eye for it. So this tip has been shared with her. Thank you.

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