Using McCunn Method to Construct A Basic Sleeve Pattern

From Seamly2D

This tutorial describes how to use Seamly2D to create the basic sleeve block[edit | edit source]

These instructions are based on the instructions and method from the book How to Make Sewing Patterns by Don McCunn (1977 revised edition) ISBN 0-932538-00-2. This book has been updated and may be purchased from Amazon: In this tutorial, the method described there will be referred to as “the McCunn method”.

Figure 1

The instructions for drafting a basic sleeve may be found on pages 71-75 in the 1977 revised edition or pages 79-82 in the 2016 second edition. In the McCunn method, five measurements are required to draft a basic sleeve:

  • Arm Length
  • Sleeve Cap
  • Biceps
  • Palm
  • Shoulder to Elbow

The measurements correspond to the following standard Seamly2D measurements:

  • L01 arm_shoulder_tip_to_wrist_bent
  • L16 arm_shoulder_tip_to_armfold_line
  • L11 arm_upper_circ
  • D04 hand_palm_circ
  • L02 arm_shoulder_tip_to_elbow_bent

Before attempting to draft a sleeve pattern with this method, ensure that you have created and saved a measurement file (.vit) which contains values for L01, ,L02 L11, L16, and D04. This may be accomplished using the TAPE program and is not covered by this tutorial. Figure 1 shows the basic reference lines and other major lines used in constructing the main portion of the sleeve.

To begin creating a sleeve pattern using the McCunn method, open Seamly2D. Figure 2 shows the window that will be displayed when Seamly2D is first opened before pattern creation has begun.

Figure 2

Click “New” and enter a name for the pattern piece. Select the unit measure that you wish to use. Click OK to create the pattern piece. Figure 3 illustrates the window that will pop up after New is clicked and will allow these selections to be entered.


The basic window shown in Figure 2 will remain visible during the rest of the pattern creation and until the Seamly2D program is terminated. Click “Measurements” and select “Load Individual” from the drop down menu. Load the measurement file you plan to use. (The measurement file would have been created previously using the TAPE program and include the following measurements as a minimum: L01, L16, L11, D04, L02.)

Each time Seamly2D creates a new pattern piece a base point is created. Because “McCunn-basic-sleeve” is the first pattern piece in the pattern file created in this example, the base point is labeled “A”.

Several tools exist as part of the Seamly2D software program. A general description of these tools may be found in under UserManual:Tools. When using each tool, you will find additional information in the context specific UserManual:Tools#Help_sentence