A Treatise on Sleeve Drafting

armsyce_primary_range_of_motion_pivotCourtesy of Timo Rissanen who found out about it from Holly McQuillan -those links aren’t gratuitous, you should be keeping an eye on those two- comes word of a a Ph.D dissertation. It is a treatise (I hope) on sleeve drafting written by Morris Campbell, lecturer at Massey University in New Zealand. The full title is The Development of a Hybrid System for Designing and Pattern Making In-Set Sleeves.

At right is but one of many images from the dissertation. I picked it because it illustrates the primary range of motion as I illustrated in my book on page 168 (chapter entitled Fundamentals of Fitting which as far as I know, remain undisclosed in any fitting books today).

I am not suggesting this work is the definitive beginning and end of all things sleeve drafting (although I hope it is) because I have only scanned parts of it. I won’t have time to read it until, oh,  June or July, as you should safely surmise by now considering my posting tardiness of late. Other than looking at the many interesting pictures and the many math equations that I don’t have the understanding to process, I did scan the bibliography.

The bibliography was interesting in two ways. The first is that Campbell has access to better sources on the Pacific Rim than I do -oh envy!- and the second is what can only be termed as omissions. Obviously it is not possible to survey all of the literature which would amount to recreating vast portions of Seligman’s bibliography but some omissions were puzzling. Such as Seligman for source material, Hulme, Simons and of course, Wampen -gotta have Wampen; perhaps there is an explanation for this in the book. Not that I think there is anything wrong with Campbell’s citations of Poole or Morris but my first (albeit cursory) assessment of a non-fiction work remains the bibliography. As should yours be. All that said, we really do want someone to break new ground and treat the subject in wholly new ways; it could be much better to omit a lot of precedent under brush and forge a new path. One thing I like very much about this treatise and gives me much hope is the in depth treatment of drafting in real terms, using cardboard and sheet metal as built examples. I’ve always said that if a pattern is proven, you could cut it in sheet metal and weld it together. In sum, Campbell takes this approach to heart.

sleeve_treatise_match_stripeAt right is another sample to be of interest to those who send me horrid emails or posting nasty comments claiming I’m out of my tree when it comes to matching stripes across a sleeve, here is an image from page 198. I figure you can make a lot or maybe nothing of this. Whether this proves anything (or not) will keep any number of people out of the bars. I do wish to remind people of one simple fact;  just because you can’t do something, doesn’t mean it can’t be done.  Four minute mile anyone? Not by me but I know it’s doable. Or maybe I just have super powers or have a magical pattern table.

Oh I forgot to mention the best part, you can download the dissertation for free! Yay!

Edit 2/19/13: It would seem that some images are missing from the dissertation, specifically illustrations culled from copyrighted source material. Is there a connection? We don’t know at the time of this writing. In the meantime, enjoy and use what you can. Carry on.


  1. Michael P. says:

    Sadly, when I click the link to download this treasure trove of information, a Google page tells me “You need permission to access this item.” Is there a public download link somewhere that works? This stuff sounds interesting!Report

  2. Quincunx says:

    Dear Dr. Campbell:

    Just one diagram from this makes me giddy. This home sewist finally grasps where the sleeve cap curve changes from concave to convex (even if the more mathematically correct term for that point is eluding me pre-caffeine). Thank you.Report

  3. Wow. Thank you Kathleen! I’ve barely scanned it let alone read carefully but I have a strong hunch that this explains what we’ve been discovering experimenting with conic sections.

    Btw we now have a curve that seems to closely match your sleeve cap and can explain how we got it slicing a cylinder at an angle. I’ll put post the curves/math up later. When I make my next V8543 bodice muslin I am going to use this curve to cut the sleeve cap and see if it sews nicely and fits. It may be that a pure cylinder slice is close but not exact in terms of what you actually want to sew. If not, I bet the modifications needed are explained in Campbell’s dissertation.Report

  4. Quincunx says:

    There’s a thought, what are the rare delicacies of a vegetarian menu? The equivalent of a T-bone that’s limited quantity and superior texture and all.

    And happy belated 8th birthday to F-I!Report

  5. Shelley says:

    Darn, I must have a setting off somewhere, because I can tell there’s images I’m not seeing the .pdf, mainly, the diagrams from other drafting books. Is mine an isolated problem or are they just not supposed to show?Report

  6. theresa riess says:

    Thank you for correcting the link. Just skimmed through the document and downloaded it. It will be very interesting reading. And thank you to Dr. Campbell for the dissertation, Timo for the link and Kathleen for pointing this out.Report

  7. EK says:

    Shelly, I’m missing scetches too.

    Thank you Timo, Holly and Kathleen for this amazing post!

    I hope one day we will have this sort of reasoning applied to all aspects of clothing pattern drafting. I, for one, am desperately ignorant. Increasingly, I know what to do get the results I want with a draft, and this is good. But even when I am confident I can create the solution to a problem, it is rare that I can say I comprehend the principles underlying the problem, and how to systematically manipulate those principles to generate the desired outcome.

    I, for one, would love to understand these spatial relationships a lot better. And to have a more refined language to use in its discussion.Report

  8. Kathleen says:

    Several have mentioned problems viewing images. First thing tomorrow I will look into this. I’m not having problems. Worst case, I’ll upload the file version I have.

    No fretting, it will be resolved soon, sorry for the disappointment.Report

  9. Sandy Peterson says:

    Has anyone had trouble viewing the pictures in the document. Not all of them are missing but quite a few are. For me, document pages (not pdf page count) pages: 16, 22, 23, 33, 35 just to name a few. Is it because they are examples of other peoples work and they are copyrighted?

    I look forward to reading this, thank you!!Report

  10. Natasha E says:

    I’ve often commented that there isn’t a lot to do back home so you get a lot done (though RMIT is in Australia). Massey University was where I wanted too study fashion but was forced to go to law school instead :/ (that didn’t go well fyi) I would have love to have been working on this type of stuff.Report

  11. M Pius says:

    @Quincunx- I believe that the mathematical term you are looking for is ‘inflection point’. This is where the slope of the tangent to the curve is 0 or infinite (ie, the tangent is horizontal or vertical). It marks the change from convex to concave.

    Downloaded the file – going into my reading “inbox”.Report

  12. Lisa Brazus says:

    I have not seen a post concerning the missing illustrations so I am assuming that they have not been able to be retreived. I am trying to understand the information but without the diagrams that is diffucult. Waiting with baited breath since this is awesome info!!! It is as always Kathleen–awesome. ThanksReport

  13. Just to let you know that the draft from _Metric Pattern Cutting For Women’s Wear_ by Winifred Aldrich gives me the full range of motion now that I have the shoulder pitch correct. (I did alter the method for drafting the armscye a little though, but it’s the end result is similar). I’ll post a photo on my “blog”:http://thesewingcorner.blogspot.com when I’ve finished my blouse. Admittedly I do have about 2cm ease in the sleeve head, but I like to have a little to fit nicely over the ball of the shoulder. I think with a gusset would enhance the fit further, but I forgot to draft one.Report

  14. Marilynn Barber says:

    Brilliant!! Really. Now Morris, can you quickly write a simplified pattern drafting book for those of us who can’t digest all 432 pages? You know, a condensed version? I’ll buy it!Report

  15. Scott Mayson says:

    Hi everyone I’m glad you like Morris work. I supervised Morris’s PhD at RMIT. The missing images are due to copyright issues and are left out for this reason. I think we will have to publish some journal articles and a book on the technique et al.Report

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