I had a go at making the Ball Shaped Accordion (jabara) sleeve. This is featured on the cover of Tomoko Nakamichi’s Pattern Magic 2. Isn’t that pretty?
Here is some inspiration. I saw this jug in a Seville museum and my mind went “ping” – let’s make a simple dress with a globular sleeve. Maybe in light, silvery grey?
The instructions are fairly detailed and with sufficient concentration and patience not hard to make. I used calico to make the jabara.
Here is the jabara. It’s quite beautiful and pleasing in the calico.
I began to imagine it in linen, on the dress-in-my-mind.
But look again at the front cover of the book. There are three large pins, artfully arranged. The “sleeve” is pined to a half bodice toile. It is just the same as mine. Just a toile. It is not a sleeve!; fur coat and no knickers! It has no back to it. It is just a flap, pinned to a bodice.
I turned the page and realised while we have detailed instructions on how to make a ball shaped jabara, no clue is given on how to make a sleeve. And often this does not matter because we seamstresses are clever and creative, but reader, this one defeated me.
The thing with a globe is that it is circular. The thing with an arm is that it generally lies against the body so the portion of the sleeve that doesn’t show to the world needs to be fairly streamlined and flattish.
I tried making the jabara into the front of a two piece sleeve. I tried to make it work as a kind of puff sleeve. I tried making a cuff for it. I played around with a leg o’ mutton version where the jabara extended into a long sleeve. I tried a number of techniques for actually inserting it into an armhole. Everything I tried distorted the globe and made it look horrible. There was more chance to work with it longitudinally, or horizontally. Below it is allowed to droop when anchored with a priceless Staffordshire figure on the mantlepiece. The only solution I could envisage was somehow mounting the globe on an underlying sleeve, but I think that is a cheat as it becomes embellishment rather than a sleeve.
And this is the truth about Pattern Magic. Many of the projects are lovely intellectual experience. They take us out of our comfort zone and challenge us to think about form, cloth and pattern cutting in fresh ways. Some of the designs are very wearable and there are some super versions out there. Have a look at Sew2Pro and Carolyn’s blogs to see what can be done. But some of the ideas are just ideas, and I do not believe anyone, least of all Tomoko herself, have suceeded in making a sleeve out of this. While it can be fun to make objects out of cloth I was defeated in my desire to make a jabara sleeve.
I wonder if anyone else has a solution to this puzzle?