Saturday, March 10, 2012

Violet Blouse Sleeve Adaptation

Everyone knows how much we love the Violet Blouse pattern from Colette - such a comfortable but still put-together look! I myself have 4 of the short sleeve persuasion, so I thought it was about time to sew up the mid-length sleeve variation. 

The difference here is that I thought it would look GREAT with a band to finish the sleeve instead of elastic, and then I thought of doing a post to show you how! (This might have also been suggested by 3 or 4 Violet Blouse classes... in a row...) 

And of course I needed something to compliment my skirt made from 'Zebras & Giraffes':
So here we go! First, measure your arm just below the elbow. To that measurement, add up to 2" for ease - my measurement was 9 3/4" and I added enough extra to make 11 1/2". That measurement will be the length of your band.

To create a pattern piece, draw a rectangle on some leftover pattern paper: on my pattern the length is 11 1/2" and the height is 1/2". We have to add another rectangle on top of the first one of the same dimensions to create the inside of the band, then all the seam allowances. The pattern itself has a 5/8" seam allowance, so that's what I added to the side seams, but I only added 3/8" to the top and bottom edges of the band (where it will be sewn to the sleeve) so I have less fabric to trim later. Sneaky! Just don't forget you did that and then sew at the 5/8" line anyways...

Since I always cut the seam allowances off my interfacing, I drew an 11 1/2 by 1/2" rectangle on the straight edge of my front facing to reinforce my band a bit.

After cutting everything, fold your new band in half to make a crease in the center like so. 


Then, line up your interfacing strip along the crease and centered an even distance away from each short edge. Fuse it!   

Find your center on the not-interfaced side by folding, pinning and marking with chalk - don't snip it as the seam allowance is pretty small!


On the interfaced side, fold the seam allowance over the interfacing and press flat.

On the bottom edge of the SLEEVE, sew two rows of basting stitches - one at 1/4" and one at 1/2". Start and stop these lines about 1" away from the side seams so it will be smooth when you sew the sleeve together!

Make a mark in the center of the sleeve on the gathering, then match the sleeve to the band at the marks with the right sides together.

Pin the edges so the short side of the band is even with the side seam of the sleeve - you can see how much gathering we have to do!

Pull evenly on your two threads till the sleeve fabric is the same size as the band...

(wait - who's holding the camera!)

(thanks haley)

...and distribute the fullness evenly.

A bazillion pins can only help at this point, so go for it.
Line up with your 3/8" seam allowance mark (a.k.a. 1 cm) and sew with a regular stitch length (make sure you change it if the last thing you did was basting!)

Grade the gathered side in half to reduce the bulk, then press the seam allowance towards the band:

Sew the side seam of the sleeve from the top down through the band, ensuring that the band seam allowance stays pointing towards the band. This would be the pattern seam allowance of 5/8" since we didn't make any changes to the actual sleeve

Finish your edges in your preferred manner, and press the seam allowance open. Trim the band seam allowance in half, then fold up the band: 

Pin it all in place and sew the band down! I stitched in the ditch on the right side of the band in this instance, but you can certainly handstitch the band down on the wrong side if you don't want to live on the edge like me. Pictured below is the wrong side after stitching in the ditch:

Et voila! My lovely sleeve!

1 comment:

Crystal said...

I just pinned this to use in the future. Thanks! This is one of my current favorite sleeve types...gathered onto a sleeve band.