T-Rex Arms

IMG_1566Can we talk about arms for a minute?

I would say very few curvy women are not curvy all over.  I know I am curvy all over.  So why do pattern companies stick normal sleeves on plus-size patterns?

I love big shirts, the menswear-style long sleeve, pointed collar big shirts.  I read a tip in a book about dressing for plus-size women several years ago that recommended to develop a “uniform” that works and stock up on multiples of those garments.  One of the “uniform” styles it mentioned was a big shirt and dark, narrow-legged pants.  I tried it and liked it.  I love the feel of this style and would have an entire wardrobe of big shirts of various fabrics along with several pair of dark pants if only I could find a pattern for a big shirt that fits me.

I discovered a plus-size menswear-inspired shirt pattern by Connie Crawford, of Fashions Patterns by Coni and Butterick Patterns, that was out-of-print.  (I must have snagged it in the nick of time as I cannot find an image or reference to it on the Great Wide Internet at this moment.)  With the help of the Curvy Sewing Collective‘s many FBA tutorials,   I was able to create a very comfy flannel big shirt that  both covers my bust and does not gap in the front. The sleeves were generous enough for my upper arm lab so I should have been home free and have the big shirt of my dreams.

The one problem I never saw coming was the rest of the sleeve.  None of my years of sewing experience and blog reading prepared me for this.  Who has arms this short?  I know that question is rhetorical. I know there are ladies with short arms, I realize, but am I the only one who has this problem?

The sleeves are at least 6 inches too short.  The cuff will button were it to extend to my wrist so I guess the cuff is okay.  But the lower sleeve is too small and too tight.  I cannot roll the cuff up, which truth be told, is how I wear my long sleeve shirts.

To remedy this problem, my first thought is to use the sleeve from a menswear pattern and mash it together with the existing sleeve patter. Or do I just increase the angle on the existing sleeve piece and add another pleat at the cuff?

Decisions, decisions….

2 responses to “T-Rex Arms”

  1. Odd, I’ve never come across this problem. But I would mix the sleeve for the men’s pattern with the existing one. I do a lot of pattern mixes.


  2. Did they intend the shirt to have 3/4 sleeves? Seems the only reason, unless you have a long reach and the pattern is for a petite stature. I would just make the pattern longer by slashing it above elbow and lengthen is as much as needed, I think.


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