July 5, 2012

2-in-1 Sew-Along: Short Sleeve Construction

I really like this short sleeve option. The sleeve options for Simplicity 1880 did not disappoint - it's wonderful to have options! I like this short sleeve option because usually I bypass any pattern that has a gathered/puffy sleeve because it accentuates my broad shoulder line. This short sleeve option throws you for a loop - the gathers or rather, tucks, are in the hemline only. Very clever. This leaves a clean smooth line at the shoulder with a nice "puff" at the hem.

To construct this sleeve you'll need either some grosgrain or petersham ribbon, bias tape or rayon seam binding. If you're opting for the ribbon, pick one that has the looped edge and not the woven edge. This means that you can swirl the ribbon into a rounded edge with water and a hot iron.

To get started, you'll need to add the tucks to the sleeve hem edge. Clip each line the raw edge and then mark the end point with some sort of chalk. Be careful, sometimes chalk lines won't come out, so do a test on a scrap before marking these on your sleeve. Fold each tuck, matching the clipped edge to the chalk point. Stitch 1/4" from the folded each for each tuck. I would suggest bringing the threads to the inside of the sleeve and tying off too. Press the tucks from the middle to the outside.

Next, stitch the underarm seams and seam finish. Press.

Attach the binding, ribbon or bias tape to the hemline. To do this, swirl the binding, ribbon or bias tape. I'm using a rayon seam binding for my sleeve. I spritz the binding with some water, grab one side of the binding and pull while I iron the binding at the same time. This creates a nice rounded edge on the side the you pull and shrinks up the side you're not pulling. This works nicely in this sleeve hem so that it lays rather lovely on the body.

You're going to attach the shrunken side to the hem edge. With the binding wrong side to the sleeve's right side, pin and then stitch in place. At the end, I fold the binding over so that I don't have any raw edges.

From here, press the binding, ribbon or bias tape, up into the sleeve. Pin in place if needed. Stitch through all layers, or if you prefer, hand stitch the binding to the sleeve.

Attach the sleeve to the bodice. If needed, make some ease stitches. I don't use ease stitches much anymore and instead utilize pins. A lot of pins. Then I stitch the sleeve to the bodice with the bodice side up in my machine bed, allowing the feed dogs to feed the sleeve (the bigger seam allowance) through faster than the bodice side. Additionally, while my right hand helps feed the fabric through the machine, my left hand is in between the bodice and sleeve layers, pulling on the sleeve gently to prevent puckers as everything moves on through. It's a technique that I learned from Janet Pray in her Sew Better, Sew Faster Craftsy class and it's one that I have found to work quite well. I get a nice sleeve insertion nearly every time.

From here, seam finish the sleeve seam and press in place.

You're ready for the skirt! Woot!

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