Surcotes – 5 Sleeves

Overview | Patterns | Gores & Fitting I | Gores & Fitting II | Sleeves | Final Fitting

Step One – Baste your two small sleeve triangles (see Sleeves on layout page) to the tops of one sleeve. As long as your triangles are similar in ratio to your sleeve as is shown at right, you are okay.

Baste the sleeve together, starting with your small triangles and ending at the wrist.

Baste the sleeve into the armscye of your kirtle body. You might find that your need to do one of the following:

Use only one triangle

Use a third triangle

Slighty adjust the size of one or both triangles

There is no right way to make these triangles and evidence shows that they used as many as 7 triangles to fit a sleeve into the armscye of a garment.

Step Two – Sew your sleeves into your kirtle body. I sew my sleeves in with a strip of linen or silk similar to the lacing placket pieces. The strip should be 2″ longer than the circumfrance of your sleeve head and 2″ wide.









Once your sleeve is basted into your armscye, you can determine if you want to leave it long with a button at the wrist, shorter just below your elbow, of if you want a tippet. Mark your tippet or short length with chalk, take your sleeve out and draw in your cutting line.

Fold the strip over the sleeve seam and tuck the raw edge under. Trim your sleeve seam so that one edge is lowre than the other to remove bulk. Tack your strip down to the seam stitches using a whip stitch.

Hem (see final details page for hem)

Note: The only evidence to date for bound seams is from the cloak thought to have belonged to St. Birgitta. The garment as been altered over the centuries and perhaps the bound seams are not from the 14th century. I have found, however, the binding the sleeve seam in this manner finishes the seams nicely and reduced the bulk of a french seam. You may of course omit the strip and either leave the seam raw if wool (not recommended for linen or other fabrics that ravel) or sew a french seam. You may also finish as some of the gowns in the Greenland finds are finished and card weave along the sewn edge.

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