Inari Tee Hack with Bell Sleeve

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When I started making my Roberts Collection by Marilla Walker jumpsuit, I really wanted to make a cute top to go with it. I’ve been inspired by bell sleeves lately, and I’ve seen a few shirts like this around in a few different places,so I’ve had it on my mind. (I’m learning I have a thing for sleeves!). I love how it gives the shirt a more dramatic yet feminine look.

I used a jersey knit fabric in plum that I had in my stash. I think this top would also be cool in a stripe ponte or maybe even a woven. I love this one I found at J.Crew recently.

To make my pattern, I used the Inari Tee pattern, with a few adjustments in a size 2/34. If you don’t already have this pattern, it’s totally worth getting. I made this really cool Inari Tee Dress a few posts back. There’s lots of possibilities with this pattern.

**Side note, I just want to put in a plug for working with knits. I don’t have a serger. (although, I do want one). Using a ballpoint needle and a zigzag stitch for seams, and a straight stitch for hemlines and neckline edges proves to work just as well for me. Don’t let not having a serger stop you from sewing knits.

Here’s how I did it:

First I added 6″ in length to the hemline of the crop tee pattern.

Second, I made a rectangular shaped pattern for the bell sleeve, mine measured 6 1/2″ long x 18-24″ wide. (pictured above is about 18″, I would go for 24″ next time for a fuller look).

To sew it all together, sew your bell sleeve piece along the side seam, RST. Iron, trim and finish seam allowance. Then, sew your gathering stitches along the top edge at 1/4″ and 1/2″. Pin bell sleeve to sleeve edge RST, matching edges and centers. Pull gathering threads, and evenly spread gathers. Sew at 1/2″, remove any gathering stitches that show on the right side, and trim + finish seam allowance. Hem sleeve. Done!

Follow the pattern directions for assembling the rest of the shirt. This is super easy, and the whole shirt came together pretty quick. Enjoy!

Sara

 

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Adding Sleeves to a RTW Dress

  


My sister is getting married next month in May, and she found THIS dress at forever21.com, but for her modest requirements asked if I could add sleeves to it for 10 of her bridesmaids, myself included. This is the dress as pictured on the website:
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I said yes! I really love the look of this dress, and adding sleeves is really pretty easy to do. If you look closely, the sleeves are not exactly where they should be because this dress wasn’t meant to have them. They don’t lay flat in some places when being worn, but it still works. I think it partly bugs me because I know it isn’t right, maybe other people won’t even notice it? (Just want you to be aware).

This is the sleeve pattern I used for sizes Xsmall + Small. You can download and print it for personal use.

Here’s a quick little tutorial of how I inserted the sleeves if you need a little review:

1// First off, you will need 2 dresses (**see below), one for cutting out the sleeves so your fabric matches the dress. I bought a size XL and was able to get about 12-14 sleeves out of it.

2// Cut out sleeves, *to skip having to hem the sleeve, use the bottom hem of the dress for the bottom of your sleeve!

3//Prep sleeves. Hem if you didn’t you your dress hemline, add two rows of ease stitching around the top of the sleeve, at 1/4″ and 1/2″. (refer to marking on my pattern).

4// Sew the under arm seam of your sleeves.

5// Insert the sleeve, making sure to line up the underarm seams, and center tops of arm hole and sleeve. Gently pull ease stitching, and evenly spread any gathers until the sleeve fits just right, pin.

6// When sewing in the sleeve, make sure to sew directly on top of the outmost stitching on the bias binding already sewn to the dress. This is a great guide, and makes your sleeves look like they were an original part of the dress. Make sure everything looks good, fix anything that might have gotten caught in the seam, remove easing stitches, and you’re all done!

*remains of the dress I used for sleeves:
This tutorial would work well for tops, and other RTW dresses too. Just make sure your sleeve pattern is a close fit to the arm hole.

**If anyone is interested, I have about 2-3 sets of sleeves I am willing to mail out for free (left over from my bridesmaids dresses) if you don’t want to buy a whole other dress just to cut out two sleeves. Email me at: saralynnjohansen@gmail.com if you’re interested! 🙂

Pieced Envelope Pillow with Piping

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Every year, spring comes and all I want to do is freshen up my living space. I love this tutorial because you can use pillow forms you already have, and simply recover them. I decided to go for a pieced geometrical look for my new pillow covers. I will show you how I pieced my pillow cover fronts, made my pillow covers using an envelope method (no zippers here), and if you choose, how to use piping to give your pillows an added lift.

Supplies:

Pillow Forms (I really love the down pillow forms from ikea)

Fabric- Based off pillow measurements, you will need the exact measurement of your pillow for the front (example: 20″ x 20″), and exact measurement of pillow for back plus 6″ added to the length (example: 20″ x 26″). I bought 71/2 yards of fabric for 6 pillows ranging in size, and had a little left over. All of my fabrics are from Hancock Fabrics. You could also use fabric you already have on hand if your going to piece them together like I did.

Piping- (optional)

First off, I drew up some ideas for 7 new pillows. I drew them using 4×4 squares. This is what I came up with:

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Next I made life size patterns of these designs. You will make your pattern the exact size as your pillow. So if your pillow is 20″ x 20″, thats how big your square pattern piece will be. Then draw out your pattern.

Before you cut out your pattern pieces, decide which fabrics you will use for which pieces. I cut out one piece at a time so I could keep track of everything. So cut one piece out of pattern, and then cut that same piece out of your fabric. (Make sure to cut a seam allowance around any edge that will be attached to another piece. This is every inside edge).

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Sew your pieces together, and iron as you go. Done!

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Now we are ready to make our whole envelope pillow cover. Now we need to cut out the backing for our pillows. This is really simple. So we have our 20″ x 20″ pillow face. (pictured above). The backing will be 20″ wide x 20″ + 6″ long. so 20″ wide X 26″ long. No matter how big your pillow is, you will just add 6 inched in length to the original pillow length measurement.

so here is my 20″ x 26″ back piece:

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Cut it exactly in half:

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Finish the two inside edges, (the ones we just cut) by ironing at 1/4″, and again at 1/4″, and sew to finish. (use thread that matches, I used white so you can see it for the tutorial. (sorry I used a different color fabric here):

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Now you have all your pieces ready for the last step. At this point if you would like to add piping, scroll down to the section titled PIPING.

Right sides together, lay your two back pieces on top of the front piece, and pin.

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Sew at 1/2″, and trim your corners. Flip inside out and insert pillow!

PIPING: Now if you would like to take it up a notch, you can add piping. I think the piping gives the pillow a more professional finish. I did a mix of pillows with piping and without piping. Here is how you insert your piping, it’s super easy:

Start out by pining you piping to your pillow cover front piece. Get your zipper foot ready.

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I just started out with one pin to get going, and just used my hands to keep the piping in place as I went around. Make sure you are sewing right up against the cording!

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Keep sewing until you are a few inches away from your corner. Clip along your piping edge where the piping will be sewn to the corner. Slowly sew around corner edge, staying close to cording:

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Keep sewing just like this until you are a few inches from you began sewing:

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Unpick the two piping edges to reveal the cording. Cut your two cording pieces to match up and lay flat against one another.

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Wrap the piping fabric around the two pieces of cording so it lays flat, and pin it all together. Finish sewing.

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Now lay your two back pieces and front piece right sides together, and use your pins to create a visual trail right up against your piping.

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Sew all the way around using your zipper foot again, and staying right up against piping.

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Clip your edges. Turn right side out, and insert pillow form!

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I love the way these new pillows brighten my home. I’m ready for ya spring! Enjoy guys!

The Perfect Spring Dress

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Oh this dress. Sooo it was originally supposed to be a wedding dress for my little sister, and she loved it, but tried on a few dresses for fun and fell in love with something else. Most important to me is that she felt 100% confident in her dress, so I’m happy she found something she LOVES.

Luckily, we are the same size! So my back up plan was to make it into a dress for me. My birthday and Easter are just one week apart this year, so it seemed like a perfect excuse to keep it for myself. I had only finished the bodice, so it was easy to change the whole look with a shorter gathered skirt, no train, and whatever sleeve I wanted.

I used a basic bodice pattern and drafted it into a princess seam front and back bodice. The bodice is three layers, lace overlay and silk, and a silk lining. The skirt is a simple gathered skirt, triple layered as well. For the sleeves, I added a simple bell sleeve. The back is closed off with an invisible zipper. It’s a simple dress, but the lace overlay really adds something special to it.

The lace was purchased at Michael Levine in store, and the silk is from Mood Fabrics LA. (Remember that LA shopping excursion I went on??). 😉

I’ve never made anything with a lace overlay before, and it wasn’t too complicated. I just basted the two layers (silk and lace) together around the edges, and it worked out great. Knowing it was supposed to be a wedding dress makes me feel really special when I wear it too. 😉

Happy Spring Everyone!!

Knit Bell Sleeve Top

 

 

 

 

 

While making my Birkin Flares one post back, I knew I just HAD to make a shirt to go with them. I was inspired by the flares on my jeans to create the sleeves of this simple knit shirt. I also read in a few magazines about flares and ruffles trending, resulting in this top. I wanted to design my sleeve to hit right above my wrist, so you could still see my bracelets and jewelry, and also be a little bit warmer with a longer sleeve. I apologize for the photo quality, it was 20 degrees outside for one, and I had to have my sister take these pictures with my iphone. My poor siblings. Anyways… what will you need?

Supplies:

-1-1 1/2 yards jersey knit (I had mine on hand)

-matching thread

To create your pattern, grab a loose top you already own to base your pattern on. Lay out your shirt folded in half, and trace your front and back pieces, adding a swing shape from the under arm to the hemline. This will be a straight line. I also added a curved bell shape along the bottom of my shirt so it would be subtly longer in front and slightly shorter on the sides. Do the same for your sleeves, measuring from your shoulder to right above you elbow. Remember to add 1/2″ seam allowance around every edge that will be sewn to another edge.

You will also need to create a neckline facing to finish off your neckline. It will be a straight line. Measure your neckline along the shirt front and back patterns, and subtract about 1″. This will be your length measurement. (You will be cutting this out along the fold, so make sure your pattern piece measure half of the total length you will need. If you just measure your two pieces you don’t have to worry about this. Hopefully that’s not too confusing. For your width, decide how thick you would like your neckline facing to be when finished, and add 1″ for seam allowance. I wanted mine to be 1/2″ when finished, so my width was 1 1/2″ in total.

To create your bell flare sleeve pattern (bottom half of your sleeve), measure the total width of the end of your sleeve piece you just made (where your elbow hits), and multiply it by 2. I also gave my pattern piece more of a curved bell shape along the bottom.

Here’s a few pictures of how my pattern pieces look to give a visual:


Notice the fold lines on EVERY piece. Also, notice where you will gather you bell sleeve.


You can see my shirt’s original edge, and the swing edge I added..

Lets begin! (I apologize for terrible lighting- night time sewing woes).

  1. Pin shoulder pieces right sides together (RST). Sew at 1/2″. Iron seam open. If you have a serger you can just serge edges together to finish your seam. Unfortunately I do not own one, so I just left my edges raw, you could zig zag them too.

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2. Pin your sleeves  to each underarm RST, look for the corners on both under arm and sleeve to match up just right. Sew 1/2″. Trim seam allowance.

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When you’re done it will look like so..

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3. Pin shirt front and back together at side seams all the way up to the sleeve edge. Sew side seams and underarm in one go at 1/2″. Iron open.

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5. Prep your neckline facing. Iron it in half long ways wrong sides together, then pin two edges together and sew at 1/2″.

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6. Pin neckline facing to right side of neckline, you might have to stretch it a little to fit just right, pin evenly around neckline, sew at 1/2″. Trim and iron.

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7. Pin the two edges of your bell sleeve right sides together and sew 1/2″.

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8. Sew two rows of basting stitches at 1/4″ and 1/2″ along the bell sleeve top edge. (This is folded in half in the photo below).

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9. Pin sleeve and bell sleeve RST (two seams lining up and centers lining up). Gently pull basted threads to gather the bell sleeve evenly until it fits just perfectly into the sleeve. Sew 1/2″, trim and iron.

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10. Hem the bottom of your shirt and the edge of your bell sleeves. You’re done!

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If there’s any confusion, don’t hesitate to leave a question! 🙂

Anthro-Inspired Top + Free Pattern

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A few weeks ago I was getting together with family, and noticed my sister-in-law wearing this gorgeous Comino Top she had recently purchased at Anthropologie. I loved it so much that after a few days I still couldn’t shake it from my thoughts, and recreated it for myself! It has a really fun sleeve that intrigued me. I had a lot of fun piecing it together, and figuring out how the pattern should work. This top has a very blousy fit, but drapes in a lovely, very flattering way.

I am so so excited to be featured on sewmamasew.com! You can find the full sewing tutorial and free pattern here. Enjoy!

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Folkloric Dress + Sewing Tutorial

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The other day I was walking through Hancock fabrics, looking for some denim. I found this great Denim Mexican Poncho Autumn Cotton Fabric, and knew right away that I had to make something out of it. I love the ethnic, folky print of this fabric, and the colors are so on point for fall. I decided to go with a dress: an easy fitted bodice and gathered skirt. I used two patterns that I really like, and mashed them up to create this dress. I used McCall’s M5927 for the bodice front and back, and Simplicity 2444 for the sleeves. You could use any basic bodice and sleeve pattern to create this dress. I created the neckline facing and skirt myself, and I’ll tell you how!

For the neckline facing, simply line up your two bodice pieces shoulder to shoulder, and trace the neckline edges in one continuous line, and make it about 2-2 1/2 inches wide.

For the skirt, measure your waist, then times it by 2. (This is your width). I divided this number in half and cut two pieces- a front and back. (I needed to do this in order to get my stripes going vertical, you can skip this step depending on your fabric, and cut one long piece). Cut your back piece in half again, so you can add in a zipper. For length, measure from your waist to where you would like your dress to end, add 3″ for seam allowance. I always cut the length a little longer than I want so I can decide where the length looks best after the dress is finished.

Materials needed:

-2 1/2 – 3 yards of fabric

-20-22″ zipper

-matching thread

-needle

-basic sewing tools

Lets begin!

  1. Mark + sew darts. I always like to mark with thread using the pattern, then gently remove the pattern and cut threads, threads still intact in fabric. Using a ruler and chalk I mark where the darts will be on the wrong side of the fabric.

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Tip: Start sewing from the bottom (back stitch) and move towards the tip. Once you get to the tip, do NOT backstitch, leave long threads and hand tie a knot. Once you are finished it will look like this:

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2. Iron darts towards the outside edges. Repeat for bodice back.

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3. Pin + sew bodice side edges together, RST.

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4. Iron seam, finish seam. I just used a zig zag stitch to finish my seams.

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5. Pin + sew shoulder edges together. RST.

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6. Prep the sleeves. Mark your center top with chalk or a marker. Also mark about 1″ from armsyce ends as shown below. I used yellow pins.

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7. Baste sleeve at 1/4″ + 1/2″ from yellow pin to yellow pin. Leave long threads on either end for pulling.

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8. Sew each sleeve RST.

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9. Pin sleeve to arm hole. Make sure to line up seams and centers using your marking we just made with chalk.

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10. Pull threads gently and gather evenly on either side of the armhole until everything fits just right. I did not have to ease that much, just a little until sleeve fit just right. Sew at 5/8″, trim seam, finish with a zig zag stitch all around the edge. When you’re finished it will look like this:

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11. Prep your neckline facing by finishing the outer edge. I used a zig zag stitch.

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12. Pin your neckline facing to bodice neckline, RST. Line up centers and edges. Sew at 1/2″.

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13. Flip neckline facing to the inside of the bodice, and iron over about 1/8- 1/4 ” to hide facing from front view. Using a needle and thread, hand tack facing to seams and center front.

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14. Prep skirt. Sew side seams together. Sew back seam together stopping about 7 1/2- 8″ from the waistline in order to leave an opening for the zipper, back stitch. Iron seams, finish seams.

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15. Once the skirt is sewn together, prep for gathering. Baste 1/2″ + 5/8″, again leave long threads for pulling. Pin skirt front center to bodice front center, pin back edges of skirt to back edges of bodice. Gently pull threads until gathers are evenly distributed and everything fits in place. Make sure to line up side seams of skirt and bodice. Sew at 5/8″.

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16. Unpick any basting threads that show on the front of the dress.

17. Sew in invisible zipper, follow instructions on packaging. FInish off zipper and neckline edge by folding zipper tape backwards to the seam, and hand tacking down.

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18. Hem sleeves and dress bottom edge to desired lengths.

Enjoy!

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