Wearing wide-sleeved dresses 1
I made a comment over at Dressaday Oct 4 about wide sleeved dresses. I'll reproduce that here, and then elaborate. I was looking for my Photoshopped version of this picture to illustrate. (I had cut it apart to put into an oval frame, and had to Photoshop it back together.) The comment is referring to the great dress by Kit LaCroix, posted at Dressaday, but is appropriate for this one too.
"My experience with wide sleeves is that if they are short and wide like this, they won't be causing many problems (except not fitting into narrow coat sleeves—fold them back over your shoulders). They aren't down to the wrist, so they won't be near enough to get into trouble.
As for long sleeves, the medium width ones are the trouble, whether it's wide cuffs or wide sleeves. If they are about 10 inches wide, they will be trailing in the soup & knocking over wine glasses. I think wide cuffs on tight sleeves might remain a problem no matter how wide too.
But the sleeves which are really wide and open at the wrist, once they get past about 2 feet wide, are caught by the edge of the table and stay out of the way nicely. Three feet or 4 feet wide, trailing down to the ground, no problem. And lots of fun to wear and choose contrasting linings for.
"But", you say, "what about over a campfire, eh? Ah ha, gotcha." Well no, actually, around a campfire, you wind them around your hands and use them as built-in potholders! And if you need to get these longer ones out of the way, fold them open back over your shoulders and tie the ends behind your back, or tuck them in your belt. True documented medieval practice."
I found the wrist-length wide sleeves useful too when practicing foil fencing. If I made the novice's typical wide gestures, instead of the proper narrow turns of the wrist, the sleeve would tell me so by winding around my wrist. (As an aside, for anyone who wishes to fence in a dress, the flare of the skirt needs to be at least 120 inches. Do a full lunge, measure the distance apart of your feet, double that and add more. And, a narrow-at-the-waist but flared-at-the-hem skirt is much easier to move in than one which is just gathered at the waist and straight-cut.)
One summer in Oregon, the coolest thing I owned was a light-weight cotton dress with flared skirts and long pointed sleeves. The day I found myself snapping one of those sleeves for a flyswatter, the way some know how to do with a dishtowel (I don't), I decided I had been living in the dress too long!
Oh yeah, I forgot, that's me in the photo, a long time ago.