Drawing a Bishop Sleeve Pattern: 10-Step Guide

Check out the step-by-step instructions below and learn how to make a pattern without any hassle!
Jean Chaney
Jean Chaney
Research Writer
Jean is the brains behind her fashion label. She's a whiz with a needle and thread, and has been sewing since she was old enough to hold a pair of scissors. Jean has always read more
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Isabel Misner
Isabel Misner
Expert Consultant
A professional seamstress. Isabel has her own video blog where she shares her experience about all the aspects of sewing – from choosing suitable materials to step-by-step read more
Last updated: August 14, 2023
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When it comes to sleeves, there are many types and styles of sleeves that you can go with. From sleeveless to puff sleeves to flutter sleeves, the possibilities are endless. If you want to go for a more feminine look, then you should consider bishop sleeves for your shirts. Bishop sleeves are long sleeves that are usually gathered at the hem or a cuff. These sleeves are mostly fitted at the armhole and then flare out gradually. You can even stitch bishop sleeves on your own, with the help of a bishop sleeve pattern.

While drafting a bishop sleeve pattern can be challenging for beginners because there are certain things to consider, this guide will help you learn how to make a bodice like a pro! We have gathered information regarding all the tools you may need, along with an easy-to-follow step-by-step guide that will show you how to draft a bishop sleeve pattern.

Measurements You Need to Take

Drawing a Bishop Sleeve Pattern: 10-Step Guide

Before you start working on the bishop sleeve pattern, you will be needing some specific measurements so that the sleeves fit you well. Here are all the areas you would need to measure and how you can measure them correctly:

  1. Armscye Depth: Since you will be working on sleeves, this is the most important measurement that you need to take. While this area can be complicated to measure, we have experimented and figured out the easiest way to measure. There are a number of ways to measure the armscye length, but we will only be telling you the simplest one. Before we start, the first thing you should know is that the length from your armpit to your waist is the same as the length of your arms. So start at the nape of your neck while positioning the measuring tape at the center of your back. Take the measuring tape all the way to the bottom of your armholes and note down the measurement.
  2. Sleeve Length: For the sleeve length, identify the highest point of your shoulder. This area is usually the bone area from where your upper arm starts. Once you have identified this area, measure the distance to where you want your sleeve length to go. The measuring tape will go in a slanted line.
  3. Cuff Length: Since the bishop sleeves collect together at a cuff, you will be needing the length of your cuff. First, choose the length where you want your sleeve length to end. Then, take a measuring tape and wrap it around that area. This will be your cuff length.

Now that you have all the measurements you will require, you can start working on the bishop sleeve pattern!

Making a Bishop Sleeve Pattern

Bishop sleeves Trusted Source Sleeve Shifts of the 1890s – Historical Sewing historicalsewing.com are becoming the new trend, which is why you need to start making your own. With just a few tools and this step-by-step guide, you can create your own bishop sleeve pattern!

What You Will Need

All sewing projects require some tools that are essential for the task. Similarly, making a bishop sleeve pattern will require some tools and materials. It is always best to have all the required tools and material prepared in advance so that it helps you save time. Here is a list of all the items you will need to work on the bishop sleeve pattern:

  1. Pattern-making paper: The most important thing that you will need is a bunch of pattern-making paper. This will be used to trace out the sleeve design along with its measurements.
  2. Pencil: You will be needing a pencil to draw out the pattern lines. If you want to make unique lines, then you can go for colored pencils.
  3. Pattern master: Since making a sleeve won’t be as straightforward, you will be needing a curved ruler like the pattern master.

A pattern master is a French curved ruler that comes with different markings to help you take angled measurements for the pattern.

  1. Scissors: Scissors will be used to cut out the pattern as well as the fabric. While you can use any normal scissors, we would recommend using sewing scissors that will be more precise and accurate.
  2. Sewing pins: Sewing pins will be used to hold the pattern in place while you cut it.
  3. Cutting mat: To ensure the safety of your working table, get a cutting mat that can help prevent any damage.
  4. Sewing machine: Most essential tool of all, the Sewing machine will be used to stitch all the pieces together. You can find various kinds of sewing machines in the market!
  5. Sewing Kit: A sewing kit contains all the minor things you would need such as needles Trusted Source Sewing needle - Wikipedia en.wikipedia.org , thread, pins, and so on. The Singer sewing kit includes some really high-quality accessories that can be good for stitching.

Step-by-Step Guide

Here is how you can draft a bishop sleeve pattern:

Step 1: Take any simple sleeve pattern online and print it out. Then, using that pattern, trace out the sleeves onto the tracing paper according to your desired length and measurements.

Drawing a Bishop Sleeve Pattern: 10-Step Guide

Step 2: Once you have traced out the sleeve, add about 5 inches of length along the grainline. Then, divide the sleeve into 4 even-sized sections.

Drawing a Bishop Sleeve Pattern: 10-Step Guide

Step 3: Take some sewing scissors that are sharp and accurate to cut along the first two sections. However, do not cut all the way top. Leave a few inches of the paper neat the cut line. Do the same for the other two sections.

Drawing a Bishop Sleeve Pattern: 10-Step Guide

Step 4: Then, get some more of the pattern-making paper and tape it under the middle two sections. To add to the puffiness of the sleeves, pull the first and the fourth section away from the middle section. Pull out the sections according to the fullness of sleeves that you want.

Drawing a Bishop Sleeve Pattern: 10-Step Guide

Step 5: By taping them in place, you get 4.5 inches of fullness from the first two sections and 5.5 inches of fullness from the last two sections. Then, redraw the sleeve hem and make sure that you connect the new lines.

Step 6: At this point, you can even add a ruffle to your pattern if you want. Next, take a rectangular piece, around ¼ inch wide and 2.5 inches in length, for the cuff pattern.

Step 7: Using sewing pins, attach the pattern to the fabric that you want to use for your bishop sleeves. Make sure that the pattern is well attached so that it does not move around while you are cutting it.

Drawing a Bishop Sleeve Pattern: 10-Step Guide

Step 8: Now, take your sewing scissors and cut your fabric around the pattern. Make sure that you cut precisely as the pattern contains exact measurements for the sleeves. Then, we move on to the sewing machine. If you are working in lowlight, then make sure that you have the best sewing machine light.

Step 9: To join the pieces together, stitch 2 rows of basting stitches along your fabric of choice. While sewing, make sure that you leave ⅝ inches of the seam allowance.

Drawing a Bishop Sleeve Pattern: 10-Step Guide

Step 10: For the cuffs, fold the fabric in half while joining the short sides together. Then, stitch them at ¼ inches. Then, attach the bishop sleeve to the cuffs using a sewing needle and a thread. Your sleeves are now ready to be attached!

These sleeves are a great addition to any kind of blouse and dress. If you follow the instructions carefully, your bishop’s sleeves tutorial would definitely turn out great!

Where You Can Use Bishop Sleeves

The great thing about bishop sleeves is that they are extremely versatile. You can attach them to any type of dress or blouse as they will go with them easily. Bishop sleeves can be used on any formal, workwear garment as well as some elegant party dress. The possibilities are endless.

Your selection of material also matters. For example, a silk or satin bishop sleeve will give out a very elegant look while a velvet Trusted Source Velvet - Wikipedia en.wikipedia.org bishop sleeve will give out a rustic look to your clothing!

Final Thoughts

Bishop sleeves can suit anyone which is why you should definitely have a dress or a blouse with such statement sleeves. These sleeves can add an extra flair to any outfit, making you look great as well as elegant.  While you can buy bishop sleeve patterns online, with this guide you can easily stitch up your own sleeves that can also be customized. Drafting a pattern may seem like a daunting task, but with detailed instructions, you can do anything. We hope that this guide helps you design some sleeves of your own! Happy stitching!


Sleeve Shifts of the 1890s – Historical Sewing
Sewing needle - Wikipedia
Velvet - Wikipedia
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