Wednesday 9 October 2019

How To: Wrap Top with Gathered Puff Sleeves

I love anything wrapped. Tacos, crêpes, burritos, spring rolls, dresses, tops. This is another version of this top, and you can see what a difference material makes! The fabric I used here is actually a polyester - which I normally avoid like the plague - but I loved the print and the soft feel of this one so much that I made an exception. Plus it was deadstock..

Anyway point being, with a more structured fabric like poplin the sleeves of this one would be much puffier, especially with the gathering I did. I do have a poplin coming in the mail, so what is now 2 might soon be 3 tops...

I also had a rude awakening when first attempting to put this project together, when I tried to sew the fabric with a regular all-purpose needle. I sewed, but no stitch was left behind...  A stretch needle is essential if you're working with stretchy polyester (or most other types of stretch fabric) - a regular needle will either not sew at all, or leave a very irregular, crappy stitch.

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Fabric (I used a stretch) 1.5 m 1 m width or 1 m full width  |  Scissors  |  Thread  |  Pins  |  Sewing machine (with stretch needle) + ideally serger  |  Not pictured: Elastic (I used 7 mm wide)

I. My cut top pieces, for size EU36/US4. Note for fit: my fabric was stretchy.
.. And the sleeve + wrap around piece (2 of each):
II. First I sewed the top pieces together at the sides:
III. Then I finished the diagonal edges of the front pieces with my serger, and did a wide (4-5 cm)fold, securing at both ends (I didn't sew it along its length, it was wide enough to stay put on the finished garment.
IV. Next I added some fullness to the front with a box pleat on both sides:
.. At which point I had this. I finished the straight top edge of the back piece with a fold (where I'd insert an elastic), and finished the hem with a double fold.
Here's a closeup of the back. The edge was the factory cut edge so I just did a single fold, and then slipped in the elastic (only 3 cm or so shorter than the distance it had to cover, just to give the back some firmness and avoid it drooping when worn). Sewed at the ends to secure the elastic in place.
V. Next sleeves. I did a double fold along the middle section, from notch to notch and sewed along the edge of the fold.
.. And did the sleeve underseam at this point too.
VI. Then I aligned the sleeve underseam with the top side seam and pinned the sleeve in place. I stretched the fabric so the front and back pieces reached just until the notch/where the sleeve's elastic casing started, and sewed that lower half of the sleeve in place.
Which brought me to this. I tried the top on just to confirm how long the elastic needed to be for the top of the sleeve, for me 19 cm was good.
I inserted the elastic into the top of the sleeve, and sewed it in place at both ends. I also hand-sewed the seam allowance of the top piece together with the elastic casing so it was all a tight package.
VII. Last step was to first take my two long wrap around pieces, fold them right sides facing, and sew to create the 2 halves of the belt. I then folded the open, wider ends inwards, slipped the front ends of the top inside, and sewed to secure the belts to the top.
VIII. Last detail I added was some pleats/gathering along the sleeve underseam. I just grabbed 3 cm or so sections, 5-7 cm apart, and added a 3 cm stitch. This gave my sleeves more volume and a permanently pulled up look.
It was too hot to photograph outside, so here's also a little look into my sewing room:)



  1. Turned out so bad. Wasted the fabric

    1. ??? So rude

    2. Not true it looks beautiful and this guide is amazing!! Thank you so much to the creator <3

  2. J ai fait le mien mais j ai rajouté une Basque à partir de la taille parce que je le trouvais trop court.le décolleté est idéal on peut plus au moins le fermer ou l ouvrir en fonction de ce que l on veut.

  3. Amazing top! Thank You! So inspiring


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