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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Adding Sleeves to a Dress

Winter doesn’t officially begin until December 21st this year, but boy does it ever feel like it is already here! Even in the good ol’ Sunshine State we are feeling the effects of Jack Frost. As I type this, it is a very wet and windy 48°F here in Central Florida. This Southern girl and her mini-me ain’t used to those kind of temps!  I am here today to show you how you can add sleeves to the newly released Maggie’s Perfect Colorblock Tunic & Dress. Let’s get started!

Materials Needed:

·         Fabric – You will need the fabric requirements listed in the Maggie’s pattern, plus the fabric requirements for the sleeves and cuffs in the Sally’s pattern.
·         Coordinating thread
·         1 button
·         1 - 2-3” piece of 1/8” elastic

STEP 1: Cut out all pieces as directed in the Maggie’s pattern. Cut out just the sleeves and cuffs from the Sally’s pattern. When you are finished it should look something like this:

STEP 2: Assemble the Maggie’s bodice as directed in the pattern and stop at Step 7. You will NOT complete the armholes as directed in the pattern. Instead you will sew a basting stitch along both armholes about a ¼” away from the edge. (To sew a basting stitch, increase your stitch length to the maximum length.) This will hold the lining and bodice fabrics together to eliminate shifting when you attach the sleeves. 

STEP 3: While you still have your machine set on the basting stitch, grab one of the sleeve pieces and sew a basting/gathering stitch across the top of the sleeve. You only need to sew along the top just before it slopes down the shoulders.  See picture below for an example. Repeat this step on the other sleeve.

STEP 4: We are going to need to ease the sleeve into the armhole opening since the Sally’s sleeve is slightly larger than the Maggie’s armhole. To do this, we will need to gather the top of the sleeve using the basting stitch we created in Step 3. 
First lay the sleeve on top of the Maggie’s armhole with the right sides of the fabric together. Match up the ends of the sleeves with the ends of the armhole opening and pin in place. (I use Clover clips in lieu of pins and I highly recommend them!) Also, put a pin in the center of the sleeve and the center of the armhole opening. Then begin matching up the rest of the sleeve with the armhole opening and pinning in place until you reach the center pin. You should have some extra fabric that doesn’t match up on either side of the center pin. 

STEP 5: To eliminate the extra fabric that didn’t match up in the previous step, you will need to gather it. Gently pull on the threads of the basting stitch you created in Step 3. The fabric will begin to gather. Gather the excess fabric until it will match up with the rest of the armhole opening and pin in place. 

STEP 6: Sew the sleeve to the armhole opening and finish the raw edge with your serger or a zigzag stitch to prevent future fraying. Then flip the sleeve and take it to your ironing board. Iron the seam so that it will go in the direction of the sleeve opening. This will help give more support to your sleeve and show off the beautiful gathering at the top of the sleeve. 

STEP 7: Now you will pin the sleeve and side seams of the bodice with right sides together. I recommend first matching up the seams at the armpit. This is especially important if you used contrasting fabrics like I did. You want the seams at the armpit to match as perfectly as possible. 

STEP 8: Sew down the sleeve and side seam of the bodice. Make sure you sew with the armhole seam facing toward the sleeve opening. Once again, this will just result in a much better looking finished product. If you forget, it isn’t the end of the world. ;) Finally, finish the raw edge with your serger or a zigzag stitch to prevent future fraying.

STEP 9: Sew the cuffs to the bottom of the sleeves as directed in the Sally’s Fitted A-line Dress pattern. (Steps 16-21.)

STEP 10: Once the bodice is complete, sew the rest of the dress according to the directions in the Maggie’s Perfect Colorblock Dress. (Skip Steps 7-9 and pick back up at Step 10.)

 That wasn’t so bad, was it? Now you’ll have a pattern that can carry you through any season and offers a multitude of combinations and looks! I know my lil’ sunshine loving girl appreciates that I added some sleeves to her Christmas dress.  I hope your lil’ one will appreciate it, too!

~ Jessica Fulton, CKC 

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