So FreeSewing user Jasmine created this awesome drop-shoulder Sven with a little sleeve cap pleat, and it’s incredible. But it gets better, because she created a write-up on how to do the whole thing. Check out the finished product here, but scroll down if you want the whole how-to!
Let’s start with a disclaimer: is this the official right way to make this adjustment? Probably not. I cobbled it together by staring at a dropped shoulder sweater of my own, and this video, though it uses knitted styles, helped a great deal in figuring out what the shape of the pattern pieces might be. A pre-mockup mock-up, and a wearable mock-up in cotton jersey later, I was ready to cut into my fabric of choice.
Now, you can find lots of more fitted sweaters that still have that dropped shoulder look, but I really wanted mine to be oversized and not-quite-cropped. Can I take credit for the design choices I made?
Actually, no. I saw the design online but didn’t want to pay through the nose to ship a sweater from the US to Belgium and then pay some more to get it past customs.
That’s where FreeSewing, and the Sven sweater came in.
First, I raised the hip and chest ease as high as it would go, taking me from this:
… to this:
Now, you also have a shoulder ease option, but it won’t go high enough for a drastic dropped shoulder style. Basically, you want the curve of the armscye to be much more shallow.
After I printed and taped together my pattern, I extended the line of the shoulder with a straight ruler.
Then, before I reshaped the curve of the armscye, I estimated how low I wanted my dropped shoulder to be with a tape measure, and marked the length on both the front and back pattern pieces, on my extended shoulder line.
While the original pattern has a slightly shallower armscye on the back panel than the front, my pre-mockup mockup taught me that for a dropped shoulder, a deeper armscye would lead to excess fabric bunching up under my armpit, so I drafted the front and back armscye to be more or less identical, which seemed to work much better in my wearable mockup.
Just remember to keep the length of that shoulder line the same at front and back.
Then, I measured the difference between the original armscye and the redrafted one…
… and used that to adjust the sleeve head, which also needs a much shallower curve. Using the measurement from your adjusted armscye, mark a straight line down from the center top of your sleeve. That’s how much material you need to remove from your sleeve pattern piece.
Now, as far as I could make out, this adjustment leaves you with some excess width on the sleeve, so it might be a bit much to ease into the armscye. However, since I wanted a poofy sleeve, I kept all that excess material, and turned it into a box pleat at the top of my sleeve.
The inspiration for this project features the same pleat detail and I loved it, so I ran with it.
This meant keeping the top of the curve a bit wider, since that would have to incorporate that extra width for the box pleat. Since I drafted the armscye to be identical on front and back, I kept the sleeve head symmetrical to match.
Now, this was all rather experimental, so I would absolutely advise doing at least one mockup, but I can also absolutely advise this style if you like layering up in cooler weather.
The oversized style and the puffy sleeve leave you lots of room for more than one underlayer and it all makes for excellent cozy lounge wear as well.