Posts Tagged ‘ salvation army ’

How to… shorten blouse sleeves

There’s barely a whiff of spring in the air, but my latest obsession is shortening sleeves anyway.

I’ve done two recently, one when the original shirt fits, and one when it’s gigantic. This purple Jonathan Martin blouse has sweetly unnatural purple pearl buttons, but the long sleeves made me feel frumpy. I decided to shorten the sleeves by refashioning a cuff.

Here’s how–


Measure how long the shortened sleeves should be, and add an inch for sewing. Mark that point, use a ruler to draw a straight line and cut. Repeat on other side.


Cut a 4-inch piece off the biggest end of the sleeve to make a new cuff. Pick out the stitching, and cut into a pair of 2-inch strips. Sew or press interfacing onto the wrong side. Fold strips lengthwise -right sides together- and measure them again the part of the arm where they’ll sit. Add an inch for overlap, then sew the ends shut. Trim and turn the right sides out.


On the raw sleeve end, baste a few inches around the sleeve crease, and gather the raw end. Pin the raw edge of the cuff against the right side of the sleeve. I pinned the new cuff on so the overlap would fall on the front of my arm. Baste, fit, stitch.


Remove the buttons from the original cuff and sew onto the new cuff where it overlaps.


How to… shorten blouse sleeves???

black blouse beforeWhat a winning little blouse, all black and ruffled and wrinkle-proof. The lightweight polyester-blended fabric will be great once the Thaw comes. The cuffs are ornate and adorable. The front has black-on-black stitched detail.

Except it’s hardly little.

I’m not teeny, but I’m not this unshapely, either, so I wanted to find a way to rock this in spring. Thanks to the Joann for having a sale on cone thread, and now I have enough black cones to run this thrifted little guy through the serger.

black blouse cuffsThis blouse needs its sides pulled in, and the sleeves yanked up rather than hemmed, so the lovely cuff detail remains. Tightening the sides will require resetting the sleeves anyway so the shoulders don’t droop. I think I’ll puff them, since there’ll be plenty of fabric to do so. More to come. Work has limited not only my free time but my attention span to deal with proper sewing.

How to… flip the sleeves on a baggy sweater

Beautiful chocolate cashmere sweater with Banana R. label, thrifted at Chicago’s best Salvy for $.90. Special mister declared it too girly for him. I’m cuter than shapeless brown, so I declared it too frumpy for me. However, the lovely cashmere and dark color were gorgeous and worth salvaging. So I decided to alter the heck out of it until I liked the way it fit. Once I had it pinned, I was confused about what to do with the sleeves, since the shoulders were too broad for me. It was my mister who came up with the solution — flip the sleeves so the kimono style contrasts with the fitted bodice.

sweater After

Here I am, wearing the Before, inside out.


But before you flip it inside out and pin it up, carefully cut the shoulder seam holding on the sleeves.

sweater 2-cut shoulder seam

Then carefully cut off the ribbed cuffs.

sweater cuff

Now put on the sweater body inside out and pin it up to fit as you like. I started with my waist measurement and pretty much drew straight lines up to the sleeve line and down to the bottom. I wanted a snug fit. Baste your chalk lines, try the thing back on and then sew. Serge, or use a long narrow zig zag so you don’t pucker the stretch knit. Worst case, slide a strip of newspaper under the seam to prevent the fabric from stretching, the tear it right off after sewing.

sweater sew bodice

**With sweaters, try to sew before cutting any fabric; the knit is less likely to unravel. Once you like the fit, trim away the seam allowance. Finish the edges as you like; I did a wider zig zag close to the original allowance.

Grab ahold of one excised sleeve. Matching the existing seams and right sides facing each other, pin the skinny end of the sleeve to the armhole. Gently stretch the sleeve to fit if necessary. Baste, fit and sew it. Trim the allowances as above.

sweater sew sleeve in

Trim the bottom edge of the sleeve , fold or roll it under, and sew as unobtrusively as you can to hem it fast. I made facings from the bits I chopped off while tightening the bodice — trimmed off the existing seam and sliced each bit down the middle so I had a 1-1.5″ strip. Guess you could also use pretty ribbon or something to face the edges.

sweater make facing

Two strips faced the side seams, and the cut off edges became a facing for the flat edge that nearly covers my hand.

sweater finished facing

Oi! Cute cashmere with the kind of sass that’ll go anywhere.

sweater after sides

Still thinking about scooping out the neck… someday.


The pink wool Jantzen halter suit

I hate Chicago’s western suburbs. Sadly, this is where I work several days a week. Can’t walk anywhere, and many of the people there think they’re pretty darned entitled. I say “darned” because I’ve just given up profanity for Lent. Monday was a terrible day for many reasons, among which I couldn’t walk to the strip mall next to my office building because there are zero sidewalks. Had to drive the .12 miles to Trader Joe’s for a few bottles of wine.

All that aside, I took myself to the only Salvation Army I know out there in the DuPa, which is somewhere along Roosevelt Road. Struck gold there. White roller skates. Various cashmere sweaters. Jumpsuits. A vintage pink Jantzen wool bathing suit with a halter top. A red angora hat with a button on the top. A black velvet vintage hat w feather.

Some of this is going straight into my wardrobe. Some will have work done before becoming part of the daily repertoire- the light green sweater dress will have to be darkened, beaded purple cashmere sweater taken in a bit. The rest is destined for fitzfab @ eBay as soon as I pull my act together to post it all.