Sleeve Drama

1 Sleeve

1 Sleeve pattern

click for pdf link

The sleeves of my Refashioned Men’s Shirt attracted some comment, both here and on the Pinterest Refashioners board, so here’s the sleeve pattern in PDF and instructions for making it below.

The pattern has been created to fit me, and I have an arm girth of 25cm (10″). This is roughly a size 8 (not that my ass is size 8 ūüôĀ ). When folded, gathered, stitched at the underarm seam and ready to attach to the bodice, the sleeve armscye has a stitching line of 47.5cm. This, coincidentally, makes it fit the bodice of Colette Aster size 4. But you can fit it to any other bodice if you know its armscye measurement simply by using the reduce/enlarge function of your photocopier and some mathematics.

The Formula

My PDF measurement x Y% = Your required measurement

So for example if your bodice armscye is 51cm, you need to enlarge by a percentage Y

47.5cm x Y = 51cm

51 / 47.5 = 1.073

1.073 (x100) = 107%

So print out the pattern at a 107% enlargement. Be brave; it’s easy.

Method

Making this is also very easy. The protruding fold covering the sleeve head can hide a multitude of sins so if setting in of sleeves isn’t your fort√©, your luck is in! If you lack the confidence to cut into fabric, play around with a paper version first, using pins instead of stitching (to round the sleeve head, make 2-3 little pintucks; it doesn’t have to be perfect). Or cut up some rags.

1 Sleeve pattern

Step 1 – Begin by sewing 2-3 rows of gathering stitches, into and around the 1cm seam allowance

Step 2 - with right sides together, sew the short ends of the wings...

Step 2 – with right sides together, sew the short ends of the wings…

Step 3 - and press open

Step 3 – and press open

Step 4 - fold sewn section wrong sides together and align notches with the centre sleeve head notch

Step 4 – fold sewn section wrong sides together

Step 5 - align seam with centre of the sleeve head (notches together).  Sew the underarm seam.

Step 5 – align seam with centre of the sleeve head (notches together). Sew the underarm seam.

Step - pull on the gathering stitches and fold all the raw edges to they're lined up

Step 6 – pull the gathering stitches and fold all the raw edges so they’re lined up

Step 7 - with all three layers of fabric lined up and pinned or basted, you can attach the sleeve to the garment by the usual method

Step 7 – with all three layers of fabric lined up and pinned or basted, you can attach the sleeve to the garment by the usual method

Finishing

1 sdThe original white shirt sleeve was hemmed with bias binding but the blue version has a cuff. The cuff has a 2.5cm finished height, is cut on the bias and interfaced.

Other ideas

  • When making the white shirt, I didn’t have enough fabric to cut the sleeve from a single piece so I had to split the pattern into 3 sections (the head and two wings). This has created interesting change of direction in the stripes which you may want to try.
  • Consider using the stripes of your fabric horizontally.
  • If you’re a drama queen (or would like to make a pressie for one), you can make these sleeves out of a soft voile then attach to a matching t-shirt, with more voile for a breast pocket and bias binding for the neckline.
  • For another dramatic sleeve variation, try my Status sleeves tutorial.

 

Credit

pinterest sourceThe original idea for the design came from this Pin (before any of you get ideas about me being clever; I’m just the copycat). I printed out the pattern, then enlarged it with the photocopier until I made a version that fit me, having made three toiles. I never did achieve the lavishly folded sleeve in the original picture but I’m pleased with the result nevertheless. Let me know if you uncover any more information about the source or if you have alternative ideas how to effect the lower fold.

Men’s Shirt Refashion

1 refashion

 

Sleeve and bodice toiles
Sleeve and Bodice Toiles

I’d been experimenting with drafting¬†a particular¬†kind of¬†sleeve¬†and¬†also working on a¬†close-fitting bodice when Lesley¬†alerted me to¬†the Refashioners 2015, the Men’s Shirt Challenge.¬† This is a mass participation event with so many¬†prizes¬†that I haven’t¬†yet been able¬†to read the list¬†to the end –¬†I¬† keep getting¬†terrifying premonitions of¬†the winner¬†being me¬†then having to incorporate¬†this¬†treasure-like¬†haul¬†into¬†my¬†over-cluttered home¬†¬†¬†ūüôā

1 Marianna and the Giant ShirtI’ve long been a fan of¬† making stuff out of men’s shirts.¬† I cut up my husband’s¬†work shirts whenever¬†I get mad at him the¬†cuffs get frayed¬†and¬†make something for my daughter: it’s by using such scraps that¬†I first taught myself¬†to sew!¬†¬†But¬†this challenge seemed a good opportunity¬†to make my bodice and sleeves out of something attractively stripy so¬†I¬†turned to¬†the local¬†charity shops¬†to¬†buy a shirt in¬†as large a size as I¬†could¬†get.¬†¬†Would you believe that¬†charity shops¬†charge ¬£5 or more for¬†second-hand men’s shirts?¬† ūüėĮ¬† Luckily¬†this¬†M&S¬†behemoth (size 17in/43cm, easy fit) was just¬†¬£3 as the cuffs and the collar were in a bit of a state (I really don’t see how they hope to¬†sell¬†such shirts, unless it’s¬†for refashioning or¬†fancy dress!).¬†¬†The cotton is¬†firm and fresh-smelling,¬†with¬†nicely defined¬†grey pinstripes and variation in the weave¬†of the thick white¬†stripes (not sure what this is called).¬† There were two side pleats coming from the yoke at the back so extra fabric too!1 back view

1 sleeveAnd yet …¬† Just as in the previous ‘challenge’, in which I cut up a man’s jacket to make a skirt,¬†I found my¬†plans thwarted by¬†a lack of materials.¬† Have you ever been in¬†the situation when you’re constantly glancing around your cutting¬†area and the floor, in case there’s one¬†more piece of fabric you’d forgotten about¬†that will save you!?¬† The¬†result is that¬†the sleeves aren’t as attractive as I’d intended and the top isn’t as¬† practical since the buttons had¬†to go round the back which makes putting this garment on somewhat time-consuming.¬† But I do like it.¬† I’ve added a grosgrain¬†tie¬†and belt loops to break it up a bit, though I may revert to the plainer look: this is certainly something that will get a bit of wear in the next month or two before the woollens come out.¬† Look, I’ve even replaced¬†the original¬†yellowing buttons with¬†smoky iridescent ones, which I think¬†look great with the grey stripes.

1 new and old buttons

1 hip1 the refashioners 2015

But my favourite part is the little slits just over the hips.  Can you tell which part of the shirt they come from?

 

Nipples Dress

1 nipples1 kate's mugI know what you’re thinking.¬†¬†“These lurid post titles of hers¬†are clickbait-desperate!”¬† But what else to call it?¬†¬†When I found¬†this¬†plastic-coated, bumpy material at a stall in Bromley¬†market,¬†I¬†immediately¬†recalled¬†my friend Kate’s¬†ceramic and celebrated¬†¬†nipples mug which¬†I love to wrap my hands around whenever we drink coffee.¬† I inspected it,¬†wondering what I could do with it and noticing it had stretch.¬†¬†“Where does this come from?” I asked the stall-holder.¬† He smiled (finally!¬† Thank you ūüôā )¬†saying¬†it’s from Ann Summers.

1 inverted1 kennethI got¬†home shouting “look at this¬†nipple fabric, whereupon my¬†doubting Thomas of a¬†husband said the appearance was more like bubble-wrap.¬† But then he pressed in one of the raised bumps¬†and¬†it.. well,¬†inverted!

My kids¬†are¬†impressed by¬†the fabric’s¬†futuristic credentials.¬† This¬†would work grandly for¬†costumes in Dr Who.¬† And I love how from certain angles it looks like a carapace or¬†armour.¬† Have you seen anything like it, either in fabric sales or on RTW?¬† I’ve tried to find out more with a combination of search terms¬†on Google but to no avail. I know that dark blue and green had also been available.

1 Nipples dress1 back zip

It was cheap –¬†possibly¬†reject – as it¬†has¬†quite a few¬†flaws: creases and areas where the plastication¬†is absent, which you can spot at the centre back zip.¬† I didn’t have enough to be picky about placement and in any case, as you can probably guess, this isn’t a dress to be worn too seriously!1 bye

1 sampleThe horizontal¬†stretch is slight;¬†too much pulling apart¬†and the fabric¬†deforms beyond recovery¬†gaining the strange appearance of¬†laddered tights ūüėĮ .¬†¬† Although it was only slightly temperamental to sew (I had to look out for skipped stitches), the hardest part to making this dress was not being able to press seams¬†nor¬†shape them as under the iron, the material darkens and the bumps flatten.

I used the Renfrew T-shirt pattern, size 8, elongated¬†with the aid of my skirt block where I left the darts unsewn.¬†¬†After the first fitting, I added¬†bust darts (which sadly¬†took off 3cm from the¬†final length)¬†plus contour darts at the back.¬†And though¬†I love making corded piping,¬†it¬†doesn’t really work here as there isn’t that¬†sharp, flat edge¬†that I would have achieved¬†had I been able to use an iron.

You might think but where’s a girl to wear a dress like this to?!”¬† Well, I’m¬†wearing it¬†to the screening of the Rocky Horror Show tonight!

1 magenta space girl

Magenta, Domestic Goddess and Style Icon, plus her embarrassing brother

Shirt Pocket with Flap

1 shirt pocket with flapI wanted to do a nice job¬†on¬†the¬†patch¬†pockets of the Mara shirt dress¬†¬†I’m making for my mum,¬†but¬†Stylearc¬†is sadistically terse with¬†their instructions.¬† 1 mara shirt dressSo I dipped into my¬† tome of power –¬† Readers Digest Complete Guide to Sewing¬† wherein lie the instructions¬†for achieving¬†the¬†clean finish on¬†the pocket flap attachment (below). 1 topstitch seam allowanceI’ve done a demo of¬†this¬†in¬†Tutorial One.¬† In¬†Tutorial Two I show¬†my way¬†of making¬†the patch pocket¬†using two pieces of fabric instead of one.¬† These¬†are then bagged out.¬† Probably to many of you this won’t be a revelation.¬†¬†Again, this produces a clean finish so¬†there’s no risk of peering inside the finished pocket to¬†the sight of¬†raggedy¬†or¬†fraying seam allowances.

N.B. The pocket here¬†is a sample sewn from an old¬†bedsheet.¬†¬†Unfortunately, the weave in the cotton is causing something of a photographic¬†moir√© effect, especially¬†if I¬†post¬†the pictures in a large size.¬† Click on any photo to enlarge it.¬† If you get moir√©, just pretend it’s watered silk! ūüôā

Tutorial One: The Pocket Flap

The pocket flap should be attached after the pocket has been sewn onto the shirt.

1

1 cut flaps

1 – Cut 2 flap pieces for each pocket with the seam allowance of 1.5cm for the seam where the pocket is attached to the shirt body. Stylearc Mara has a 1cm SA for this seam so I’ve extended it by 0.5cm as shown.

2

Step 2 - Interface one piece.  Trim the second piece by 1mm around the three non-straight sides

2 – Interface/fuse one piece. Trim the second piece by 1mm around the three non-straight sides.

3

Step 3 - Stitch around the three sides up to the 1.5cm Seam Allowance.  Press to embed stitches and trim the wide seam giving the shorter seams a scant trim

3 – Stitch around the three sides up to the 1.5cm seam allowance, leaving the tops opened (this is very important). Press to embed stitches and trim the wide seam then give the shorter seams a small trim. Turn out, press flap, pressing the seam allowances to the inside. Now is a good time to place flap over the pocket to double-check the flap is wider than the pocket.

4

Step 4 - With raw edge aligned with the top of the attached pocket, stich pocket flap along the 1.5 Seam Allowance.  IMPORTANT: the interfaced piece should be against the shirt body and the non-interfaced piece should be closer to you.

4 – Align raw edge of flap with the top of the attached pocket, and stitch pocket flap along the 1.5 seam allowance. IMPORTANT: place flap so the interfaced part lies against the shirt body and the non-interfaced piece is uppermost.

5

Step 5 - trim the interfaced seam allowance by half.  If it helps, press the top seam allowance out of the way.

5 – Trim the interfaced seam allowance by half. If it helps, press the top seam allowance out of the way.

6

Press the top Seam Allowance over the bottom one, using the iron tip to fold away bulging corners.

6 – Tuck the top Seam Allowance over the bottom one, using the iron tip to fold away bulging corners. Press.

7

7 - Topstitch the seam allowance securely and press.

7 – Topstitch the seam allowance securely and press.

8 - Press flap closed.  If you're paranoid about it flapping upwards, you can topstitch the top edge down or secure the tops of the sides to the shirt with a few stitches.

8 – Press flap closed. If you’re paranoid about it flapping upwards, you can topstitch the top edge down or secure the tops of the sides to the shirt with a few stitches.

 

Tutorial Two: The Patch Pocket

The first step is to create¬†the pocket piece with¬†a¬†box pleat.¬†¬†Stylearc’s Mara¬†instructions ask for the¬†pocket¬†to then be shaped at the rounded corners by pressing¬†the seam allowances under.¬†¬†My method requires less skill, I think.¬† Cut the second piece to same size as the pocket¬†after¬†the box pleat is¬†made.¬†¬†If your shirt¬†fabric is thick, consider using a thinner fabric¬†in¬†matching colour such as a lining fabric.

1

1 - Fold pocket piece in half, wrong sides together, and stitch top to bottom to form box pleat.  Press.

1 – Fold pocket piece in half, wrong sides together, and stitch top to bottom. Press stitching but avoid the folded edge. Open the sides, press fingers down on folded edge to make a box pleat.

2

2 - Cut a 'double', the same size as patch pocket then trim 1-2mm from the seam allowances.  This should prevent the pocket lining from rolling outward on the finished pocket.

2 – Cut a ‘double’, the same size as patch pocket then trim 1-2mm from the seam allowances. This should prevent the pocket lining from rolling outward on the finished pocket.

3

3 - with right sides together, stitch two pocket pieces together along the top seam, using a basting stitch for approx. 4cm of the length.

3 – with right sides together, stitch two pocket pieces together along the top seam, using a basting stitch for approx. 4cm of the length.

4

4 - Press seam allowances open

4 – Press seam allowances open

5

5 - Fold so the right sides are together again, and stitch the remaining seams.  Press and trim.  Cut open the basting stitches along the top seam.

5 – Fold so the right sides are together again, and stitch the remaining seams. Press the sides and bottom seam and trim all around but don’t trim the top seam to more than 0.75cm. Cut open the basting stitches along the top seam.

6

6 - Turn right side out through opening and sew the pocket closed using the ladder stitch.  You can use the holes of the basting stitches as your guide for even stitches.  Press patch pocket, rolling the lining to the inside, then sew the patch onto the shirt.

6 – Turn right side out through opening, pushing corners outward, and sew the pocket closed using the ladder stitch. (I’m slightly in love with the ladder stitch tbh). If they’re visible, you can use the holes of the basting stitches as your guide for even sewing! Press patch pocket, rolling the lining to the inside, then sew the patch onto the shirt.

7

7 - Attach patch to garment then attach pocket flap as outlined in Tutorial One.

7 – Attach patch to garment then attack pocket flap as outlined in Tutorial One.

 

I’d love to hear if you’ve¬†come by another¬†own method of achieving good results¬†as I can be a genius for¬†missing the obvious.

Stylearc ItaliaAdvice also needed on this: I’m making the Mara¬†dress for myself and would like to add to it the¬†elements of another Stylearc design, the Italia¬†shirt dress,¬†for which I didn’t buy the pattern.¬†¬†I’m after the¬†sleeve tabs¬†(which seem simple) but also would like to¬†add the hem gusset. Any idea how to produce the hem gusset neatly?!¬† I was hoping to find a RTW garment with one of these and analyse how it’s been done but nothing¬†so far in my search.