Adding Sleeves to a strapless dress part 2: cap sleeves

July 26, 2011 at 5:45 am | Posted in crafts, handmade wedding | 1 Comment
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A lot of people have been looking at my post on how I added ruffle straps to my sleeveless dress, so I thought that I would share the cap sleeve that I made, but didn’t use.  I decided that it was a little too much sleeve next to the sleeveless dresses the other girls were wearing so I didn’t finish it, but I saved the pattern in case I ever have an occasion to wear a formal gown.  My plan was to stitch the sleeve to the inside lining of the gown; or to attach it with buttons, just like the ruffle straps.

I have several cap sleeve shirts, so I tried them on looking at the sleeves to see which one would look the best attached to my dress.  I decided that sleeves on this blue checkered shirt would work best, so I traced the sleeves onto some scrap paper.  The sleeves were gathered for about an inch on top, so I stretched the fabric out out and marked the gathering on my pattern.  I also traced the part of the shirt that the arm was attached to – I had already measured the length of space between the front and back of the dress over my shoulder, so I measured half that length down from the shoulder of the shirt I was tracing to make sure if would be long enough.

This is what my pattern pieces looked like after I cut them out – some of my traced lines were a little wobbly so I smoothed them, and added 1/4″ seam allowance.

Since I don’t have a large cutting mat I usually just stick a pin through my pattern and fabric and into the carpet – it holds well and is easier to cut around than if I had just pinned through the fabric and pattern.  I just use a random scrap of fabric so I could refine my pattern as needed without wasting the good cloth.

I marked the gathers on my fabric, and then gathered it the appropriate amount.  I pinned it right sides together, checking my shirt several times to make sure I was doing it right.  I sewed it together and tried it on.

The sleeve fit perfectly, although I did need to trim a little from the underside since I decided not to sew it together at the bottom.  Then I decided that it didn’t look as nice with the sleeveless dresses, so I set it aside to work on the ruffle straps.  If I had decided to use it, my next step would have been to add interfacing to the good fabric for the shoulder strip, and then to cut out the shoulder strip and sleeve.  It would have been easy to hand stitch the sleeve to the gown’s lining.


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  1. […] did it.  (Not too happy with that photo, but its the one that best shows the sleeves.)  {I also made a cap sleeve that I decided not to use if that is more what you are looking […]

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