Sleeves – a work in progress

“I have a sewing project idea I wanted to ask you about”, said my husband (he knows how to get my attention) “removable arms”. My initial response was that I wasn’t sewing him robotic arms, but it turned out he meant
removable sleeves, also known as arm warmers, made for cyclists. “You could use up some of your left over bits of knit fabric, they wouldn’t have to be identical”. Right, interest well and truly piqued.

I did a quick online search and the ones I found are all flash looking in high performance fabric with “gel grips” (to hold them up I suspect). Oh, and they were black, cos that’s all technical right? (although hubby found some garish bright ones on sale online somewhere).

Hubby doesn’t think so much of high performance fabric. He doesn’t do high performance cycling, just commuting, and in his words, the high performance fabric smells horrible after you’ve worn it twice and doesn’t last long.

I started with an old t shirt and some grey marl ribbing of not that great quality (at the time I bought it I was so excited to find ribbing I didn't notice).

I started with an old t shirt and some grey marl ribbing of not that great quality (at the time I bought it I was so excited to find ribbing I didn’t notice).

So, I made a prototype from an old t shirt and which I draped around his arm and pinned to get the right size. Then I made a fairly sizable double layer cuff from my least favourite ribbing in the stash (I had no idea if this would work or not and ribbing is hard to come by in these parts) to go at the top. I guesstimated how much narrower to make it. My thought was that if yoga pants stay up with a wide knit waistband then this should stand a chance and it would probably be more comfortable than using elastic.

Sleeve shape cut after it was draped and pinned

Sleeve shape cut after it was draped and pinned, looking promisingly sleevish

I also added a cuff at the bottom of the sleeve after consulting with hubby. I cut it randomly narrower cos it felt right and he was pleasantly pleased with the result.

There wasn’t enough t shirt left to make a whole second one so I cut up another t shirt. I thought I’d drawn out the pattern I’d “used” first time around correctly, so it should’ve been the same size, but actually it came out baggier. Still, I left it like that for him to test.

Worn under a t shirt they looked suitably cycley (somehow the matching cuffs make the mis matched fabric look like a trendy design feature).

ready for a test ride

ready for a test ride

So, what was the verdict?

He was pretty happy when he tried them on. When he got back from work he commented that cycling is more jiggly than sitting still, so I need to modify them with a tighter top cuff so they don’t fall down. He also realised they work best put over his shirt sleeves (which I thought would be obvious). But I think they have potential (and probably better quality ribbing would work better too, if I can bear to spare some).

I like the fact that I managed to rustle something in an hour or so – quicker and cheaper than ordering online! This sewing malarky can be quite fun and useful at times can’t it.

What’s the most random sewing request you’ve had? And did you make it?

2 thoughts on “Sleeves – a work in progress

  1. Wait, why do the sleeves need to be removable? Do his arms get cold on the bike and then he wants short sleeves at his destination? Are removable sleeves easier than wearing a windbreaker over the short-sleeve shirt? I’m terribly confused. 😦 Am I totally misunderstanding the function?

    • They are to keep him warm first thing in the morning when it’s still a bit chilly but be easily removable if it gets too hot on the way I think (so he doesn’t have to take off a helmet and a reflective vest to remove a long sleeve top and then replace helmet and vest). He has a raincoat but wearing that over short sleeves makes his arms feel clammy apparently. Mainly though, I think he likes gadgets, especially cycling and mandolin/mandola/banjo/guitar related!

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