I’m excited to introduce you to a little side project that I’ve been working on alongside my current big project, the medieval outfit. It all started last December when I was struck down by a nasty cold, and amidst sniffling and sleeping, I rediscovered my knitting project – a Cycling Sweater that I had left untouched for a year. There’s something about the silhouette of a Cycling Sweater that just speaks to me. But as I resumed knitting, I noticed a recurring problem with my previous creations: droopy shoulders. Not the most flattering look, in my opinion.

Back view of a Victorian Cycling Sweater with cables

Already with my second sweater, a suggestion came in the comments on my green Cycling Sweater: Sleeve crinolines. I delved into the depths of historical sleeve support structures. My initial plan was simple – to create a support system for the sleeves. But as I continued researching, I realized that supporting the weight of the sleeves required more than just metal hoops knotted to the undergarment.

I had a brainstorm and decided to connect the two garments – Sleeve crinolines and corset cover, while still preserving the possibility of detaching the sleeves.

I sifted through my collection of historical patterns and unearthed a gem from 1907. My mock-up turned out surprisingly well, although the sleeves still looked somewhat quirky, reinforced and deformed on one side by cable ties. But that’s what mock-ups are for, right? To iron out the kinks before focusing on the real garment.

Historical sketch from a magazine depicting a 1860s sleeve support
Der Bazar 1861
Sketch showcasing two elegant corset covers from 1907
La Mode illustrée, 27 octobre 1907
Mock-up image featuring a corset cover adorned with sleeve support.

I solicited opinions on the color of this corset cover on Instagram and YouTube. Opinions varied greatly depending on the platform, and being an adventurous seamstress, I decided to make a black and a white version. Why settle for one when you can have two? The same pattern, just slightly modified – giving you two garments for the price of one (well, almost). I’ll write about the white version in a later blog post.

After a series of stitches, ironing sessions, and a little mishap where I sewed the facing together the wrong way around (oops!) and later completely eliminated it, I faced the ultimate challenge – the sleeves. Removable sleeves sounded like a great idea until the facings at the shoulders looked like a bulky mess. Sometimes you just have to abandon a seemingly efficient idea and simply sew them on without much fuss.

Close-up displaying fabric, sturdy metal boning, and metal caps.
Photograph showcasing a vintage corset cover complete with sleeve support.

With a few adjustments and a lot of patience, I tackled the challenge with the boning. Flexible boning seemed to be the solution, but as with all things in sewing, there were challenges. Narrow channels, loose metal caps, and the realization that my pliers weren’t quite up to par.

Finally, after adding some extra embroidery to secure the ends of the boning channels, the sleeves were done. They looked absolutely absurd, and I wasn’t entirely sure if the effort was worth it and if it would all work out.

Putting on the Cycling Sweater over the Sleeve Crinolines was a bit cumbersome (note to self: removable sleeves do have their advantages), but once everything was adjusted, I couldn’t help but grin. Mission accomplished. The sleeves may be exaggerated, but isn’t that the beauty of historical fashion?

As I look in the mirror now, I can’t help but think about my next project – a coat perhaps? Because where else will I find room for these huge sleeves? But for the moment, I’m enjoying the satisfaction of a job well done.

Thank you for accompanying me on this sewing journey, and let me know what you think of these puffed-up sleeves!

A woman wearing a green cycling sweater, with sleeve support underneath.


  • 1,6 m black popeline
  • 3,9 m metal boning
  • 14 small black buttons
  • Black cotton sewing thread

I have developed a pattern for this sleeve crinoline, which you can find in my shop.

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