So, View A Sew-Alongers, today we’ll be making and attaching the sleeve drape. This is one of those cool moments in sewing where the piece you’ve cut out looks bizarre, but hopefully you have an ‘aha’ moment when it all comes together.
Just catching up? Find the first eleven sew-along posts here:
- Pendrell Sew-Along: Supply List, Schedule & Sew-Along Badge
- Pendrell Sew-Along #2: Prewashing your Fabric
- Pendrell Sew-Along #3: Measuring and Choosing Your Size
- Pendrell Sew-Along #4: Shortening the Blouse Length
- Pendrell Sew-Along #5: Altering The Hip and Waist
- Pendrell Sew-Along #6: Princess-Seam FBA (Full Bust Adjustment)
- Pendrell Sew-Along #7: Cutting Your Fabric
- Pendrell Sew-Along #8: Bonus Post! Cutting Scalloped-Edge Lace
- Pendrell Sew-Along #9: Checking In
- Pendrell Sew-Along #10: Underlining The Pendrell Blouse
- Pendrell Sew-Along #10.5: More on Underlining & Basting
- Pendrell Sew-Along #11: Sewing! Plus, Finishing Your Edges
Yesterday, we attached the front to the back at the shoulder seams. You’ll need that pieced-together unit as well as piece #3, the sleeve.You might need your original pattern piece to locate the fold line. I left my tissue attached until the last minute, so it was easy to find the fold line. If you’ve already removed yours, no problem! Just re-align the tissue with the cut fabric piece, and find the fold line.
Fold both sleeve pieces along the fold line, as shown. Fold the sleeves with the wrong sides together. The right side of the fabric will be on the outside.
We’re going to baste together the raw edges of the sleeve. It will make it much easier when we go to make the pleats! First, start by pinning the raw edge at the top notch.
Here’s a closer look at the top notch – you want to line up the notches so they’re directly on top of each other.
Now, keep going all around the sleeve, matching all of the notches as you go. Or markings, or thread-tracings or tailor’s tacks. Whatever markings you have used, line ‘em up!
Pin along the edges as you go, to prepare for basting.
If you’re concerned about pinholes in delicate fabric, then pin only in the seam allowances, 5/8″ (1.5cm) from the raw edge.
Repeat with the other sleeve. When both sleeves are pinned, you’re ready to take them to the machine and baste!
Baste along the raw edges to hold the sleeve in place. I followed the edges of the pleats, pivoting when there was a corner, about 1/4″ from the edge.
Ok, now we’re going to make the pleats! Start at the fold, make the first pleat along the markings. I’ll show you this in steps. First, pinch the pleat, folding along the markings.
Now, pin through the pleat as shown. I pinned once at the top of the pleat, once at the bottom so it won’t slip or shift when you sew.
The first pleat is ready to baste!
Repeat with the next pleat.
Once all of the pleats are pinned, do the same to the other sleeve. Your piece will look something like this:
Now you’re ready to baste! Ok, I’m going to suggest something that I never suggest – sewing over your pins. In this case, and especially if your fabric is slippery, sewing over the pins makes sure they stay in place as you sew.
Sew v-e-r-y slowly! You don’t want to hit a pin or your needle might break. Sew so slowly that you can watch the needle go down into the fabric, and can adjust or remove the pin quickly if it’s going to hit. You’ll be basting, using large stitches, so there’s more space between stitches and less chance of hitting a pin.
If this freaks you out, then don’t sew over the pins. Sew right up to the pin, pause, and remove the pin just before stitching.
Remove the pins after the basting is done.
Repeat with the other sleeve. Now, let’s attach them to the body!
First, line up the shoulder notch of the sleeve to the shoulder seam. But FIRST – decide whether you want the pleats to face upwards or downwards. Personally, I like the pleats facing up. All of my blouses are made with the pleats facing upwards. You can pick which you like best!
Here are the sleeves with the pleats facing DOWN:
And here are the sleeves with the pleats facing UP:
You pick! Just make sure they’re both sewn the same way.
Pin the shoulder notch of the sleeve to the shoulder seam, as shown below:
Next, pin the sleeve drape to the princess seamline, lining up the sleeve edge with the small circle.
Sew sleeve seam, backstitching at both ends.
Repeat with the other sleeve.
Here’s what it will look like, when you’re done these steps:
Yay! It looks like the beginnings of a blouse.
Any questions on today’s sewing steps? Beginners, how are the instructions so far? One thing I wanted to add, from yesterday’s questions, is on backstitching. Backstitching is done at the start and at the end of each seamline, so the stitches don’t unravel. But in certain cases, you don’t need to backstitch. Basting and staystitching are two cases where you don’t need to backstitch. Think of it this way: permanent stitching and seams need to be backstitched. Temporary, or reinforcement stitching doesn’t. I hope this helps!
As always, leave us a comment if you need help!