Posts Tagged ‘ sleeves ’

How to…widen sleeveless shoulders into cap sleeves

You know, for when you don’t want to be that naked. Which for me is almost always. I turned this bodice into cap sleeves with a few little lines. I’ve done this a few times now (once for this dress), and it’s really not hard. So you trace the front and back bodice pieces as you would, skipping the armhole curve. You mark the underarm, you know, where you’d cut it for sleeveless. Can you see the purple marker dots at the top and under the arm? McCall's 6164 making sleeve Then you basically draw a line out from the shoulder, extending it straight. And you draw another line up from the outermost point of the underarm, where you’d start the side seam. (This picture shows the other side.) McCall's 6164 making sleeve Sew the shoulder seam as directed in the pattern instructions. Sew the side seam also as directed, leaving the sleeve hole open. Hem that however you like to hem sleeves. Since this is knit, I basted 5/8″ along the raw edge, folded over on the basting, and stitched. Left the seam allowance as is. Knits won’t unravel. McCall's 6164 T Voila— cap sleeves.

Refashion: Slimming boxy purple cotton sweaters

Lousy purple is IN this season.

Boils my blood to no end since I’ve loved purple for many long years so I’m already sick of everyone looking like me. Went to a wedding last weekend in a fave purple dress — there were at least four other women all purpled up. Grrr.

A smart lady in my life said to shut up and stock up so when the trixies moved on to teal or yellow or whatever, I’d be all set. It’s pretty good advice. Since I haven’t bought retail since August 2007, I continue to stockpile purple at the Salvy.

Purple cardigan - before

This winning XL cardigan is a stunning shade, a solid lightweight cotton and sweetly long. It was too wide and shapeless though,

Original buttons are boring 

and the buttons were terrible.

1. Try sweater on inside out. Pin up sides. Fit, repinning as necessary.

2. Using a zig zag stitch, sew up the sides.

sweater purple cardigan side seam

3. With sharp scissors, cut off the sleeves at the shoulder seams.

sweater purple cardigan cut sleeve

4. Find the middle of the top of each sleeve. About 1 inch, 1 1/2 inches on either side of the middle, baste about 1/4 inch from the edge. Pin the bottom of the sleeve to the bottom of the armhole, and the top to the top. Keep pinning from the bottom.

5. Pull the basted threads slowly from each side until the sleeve fits the armhole with a little gathering. Pin, fit and sew.

sweater purple cardigan gather sleeve

I stitched in a little folded netting to support the little puff. 

sweater purple cardigan sleeve close

sweater purple cardigan buttons

I also replaced the original boring brown buttons with vintage yellow domed buttons, after much debate between yellow and pink.

The purple acorns and green discs wouldn’t fit. Boo.

sweater purple cardigan after

So much better now.

And check out a similar slimming sans sleeve enhancements. Such a fantastic cotton knit with a boatneck and cheeky sneaky silver buttons up the front of one side, before:

sweater purple cotton before

And after:
purple cotton sweater after

The change is subtle; the fit is just better now that the sides have been slimmed.

how to… shorten blouse sleeves-3

I was playing with short sleeve a while back by making new short cuffs, and by resetting the whole sleeve to preserve the original cuffs.

Thrifted a long sleeved black cotton blouse this week because of the great wrap detail – a button plus tie with a cummerbund sort of detail – and decided, so I can wear it to work, to do the simplest shortening of all – a basic chop and hem – while watching the nightly news.

blouse black wrap before & after after… and before

You can see the long sleeve as a before, and the sleeve I shortened as an after.

Flip the blouse inside out to work with it. Mark where you want the short sleeve to end, cut straight across, and then hem using this failsafe method: Measure an inch from the raw edge, fold up wrong sides together and press. Then fold the raw edge into the fold, and press again. Tack with a few pins, then stitch with a basic straight stitch. I like to use excised sleeve #1 to mark and cut sleeve #2.

Doesn’t get much easier – unless you chop and wear, a la t-shirts.

How to… muttonleg sweater sleeves

Little lilac cardigan from the Salvy is the right color for spring and the right kind of soft. But the “Before” was too big and awful.

Screamed out for a refit; big sleeves made me think about trying a leg of mutton experiment on them. I think it worked; See what you think.

1. FIX BODICE Pin bodice, fit until right, then baste and sew. Neatly trim edges. Finish as you like, or leave them alone (Most knits won’t unravel).

2. DEAL WITH SLEEVES Cut sleeves off by slicing through shoulder seam, or by trimming all the way off. See where armholes fall – they’ll need to start right on the top of the shoulder for the puff to pouf up. I had to take a good inch off the top of the armhole. Now gather the top of the sleeve by sewing a long running stitch about 2 inches on either side of the top center, and pulling the underthreads.

3. SEW SLEEVES BACK ON Pin sleeve bottom to armhole bottom, right sides together. Pin sleeve top center to armhole top center. Gather the big part of the sleeve until it fits in the armhole. Pin well, baste, fit, stitch.**


lilac-15-boosters.jpg** Here’s a little trick to make the sleeves puff up more.

Make a booster out of the edges.

Take the edges you cut off, and fold the short edge under. Sew with a wide zigzag. Fold that whole thing over and sew again. Trim. Take that little rectangle of stiff fabric and pin it into the gathered part of the sleeve seam so it pokes the pouf up. Sew it into the seam allowance, close to the sleeve seam.

4. MAKE THE LEG OF MUTTON (optional) If you like puffy long sleeves, stop. If you want to try the leg, lay the sweater flat and smooth it out. Figure out how long you want the pouf to be, and cut straight across sleeve at that point.

I did about 7 inches. Use one sleeve to measure the other sleeve.

Flip the bottom part inside out and sew a straight seam up from the cuff up to straighten out the lower sleeve.

Pin the top sleeve to the bottom sleeve at the underseam seams, right sides facing. Pin at the top centers, too. Gather the upper sleeve to it fits the lower sleeve, pin well, fit, baste and stitch.

Atta girl!

How to… shorten blouse sleeves –2

The shortening obsession continues. And resetting sleeves is an important skill when taking in giant t-shirts and blouses and all because more than an inch removed from the sides sets off the shoulder seam. This refashion started with a black ruffled blouse from my favorite Salvy that was four sizes too big for me. There was something about it I liked enough to plunk down the $.90; mostly, it’s the ruffled placket and the cuff detail. To keep the cuffs as is, I essentially moved the whole sleeve up.

Here’s how:


Flip the shirt and, pick out the stitching, or if the top is really huge on you, cut off at the seams. Press.


Pin the sides of the top so it fits you. Try it on and repin as necessary. Get the fit right now. Chalk between pins and sew along the chalk lines. Trim seam edges and finish as you like. I’ve serged the seams on the blouse.


Flip the detached sleeves inside out and flatten, with the seam line on one side. Measure from your shoulder how many inches you want the short sleeves to be. I did about 8″ for this blouse so the ruffled cuff detail would remain.

***Here’s the trick–
Use the top of one sleeve to measure the curve of the short sleeve. Lining up the fold of the sleeves, cuffs facing the same direction, move the top sleeve so it becomes a stencil for the curve of the short sleeve at a length you measured. Trace with chalk and cut. Now you can use sleeve #1 to trace and cut sleeve #2.


Use a pin to mark the midpoint of the top of the sleeve. If you want puffy sleeves, use a long basting stitch to gather the edge. Try on the fitted bodice, considering where you want the shoulder to fall. If the original top was huge, you’ll have to trim the armhole opening so the shoulder seam lies on your shoulder.


Pin sleeves on, matching underseams, and the top seam with the pin in the sleeve. Gather the sleeve top, pinning as you go. Try the thing on. Move pins accordingly. Baste. Sew and finish edges as you like.