Saturday, 9 March 2019

How To: Balloon Sleeve Top

When it comes to puff sleeves I think go big or go home. These pathetic ones I experimented with a few weeks ago no longer even qualify as puff sleeves to me.

The things that impact how puffy/full your sleeves will be:
  • Material - The more stiff the fabric, the puffier the end result
  • Length of the sleeve piece
  • Width of the sleeve piece



TOOLS:
Fabric (how puffy sleeves become depends on fabric type - the more drape the more subtle the sleeves. I used a stretchy poly-cotton, not very stiff)  |  Scissors  Pins  |  Elastic  |  Thread & sewing machine

I. Measurements of my top pieces (I'm a EU36/US4) - using very stretchy fabric:
II. First I cut out a basic pattern for the sleeve curve..
.. And measured its width - around 17 cm. I rounded that up to 18 cm.
To get my sleeve piece width, I multiplied that 18 cm by 4 = 72 cm. For the length I just measured down from my shoulder and the length I wanted was about 34 cm.
Then I took one of my sleeve pieces, folded it in half and placed my pattern in the top-right corner like so, to cut along the curve.
Opening back up I had this. I added a basting stitch starting and finishing about 8 cm from the edges (where you see the ends of the threads). Repeated for the other sleeve piece.
III. Before I gathered the sleeve, I did the shoulder seams of the top. Then I gathered enough for the length to match..
.. And pinned the sleeves in place + sewed them.
IV. Next I pinned the sides and sewed them.
V. And folded the hem of the sleeve, sewing a casing there (leaving a gap for elastic to go in). With a small safety pin I inserted my elastic, cut to a comfortable length to go around my arm.
I then had this. I could have kept it at that, but wanted a more finished look for the sleeves.
So I did some quick cuffs. Just cut a piece of fabric twice as wide as the gathered end of the sleeve, and about 12 cm wide. Sewed it into a circle, pressed the halfway fold with my iron, and pinned right side to right side, sewing in place.
Then I had this. I folded the cuff along the halfway press..
.. And then again at the seam allowance and pinned in place on the reverse, where I hand-sewed in it place.
And had my ready cuff:
Love love love.
xo,

Julia

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