So you want to make your own flamenco dress. Great! Unless you are making a sleeveless flamenco dress though you face a challenge: If you cut and sew your sleeves the same way you would for an ordinary dress lifting your arms either leads to the whole dress moving up or, if your dress is very fitted (as flamenco dresses usually are), you simply won’t be able to lift your arms the way you need to for flamenco dancing.
How can you achieve a tight fitting dress with narrow sleeves that allow all those elegant flamenco arm movements? You need to change the angle at which the sleeve is sewn into the garment. If you lay a normal dress flat on a table you will see that the sleeves are sewn in at an angle of somewhere around 45º from the centre front line of the dress. For a flamenco dress you need to change this angle more towards a 90º angle:
In order to change the angle of the sleeve you need to alter the shape of your sleeve pattern piece from to . In this image you’ll see exactly where the two shapes differ: The length of the sleeve part that will be sewn to the dress is not altered so you can sew in the new sleeve the same way you would sew the normal sleeve. I have however found that moving the seam about 0.75 – 1cm inwards toward the neckline as shown here => provides some extra comfort and freedom of movement. You will see that this fairly simple change to the sleeve pattern makes a big difference to the way you can move in your flamenco dress. Have fun sewing and let me know how you go. Of course, if you have any questions I am happy to help.
PS: If you use the Flamenco Top Alba pattern you don’t have make any alterations to the sleeve. It is already designed in the way described in this article.