In my last post, I talked about my thoughts on the Christine Haynes Emery Dress sewing pattern and how I changed the regular sleeves to these tie sleeves in order to recreate a pretty dress that I had spotted on the High Street. I have had so many lovely comments about it on social media that I have decided to write a separate tutorial on how I made these sleeves.
Straight off I want to say that this is how I made these sleeves, I’m not saying it’s the right way, or the only way, or the best way – it’s just my way!
If you would like to read my full review on the dress, and see the High Street dress that I took inspiration from you can click here.
Firstly, I made the dress as normal, until I came to the sleeves. I cut out the regular long sleeves exactly to the pattern and pinned them to my finished bodice so that I could get an idea of how they would lay when stitched. I put on the bodice and pinched the ends of the sleeves around my wrist – I wanted to see if the cuffs would sit tight around my wrist or if there was room for some gathers. Luckily there was some room to allow for the gathers that I wanted ( I have small wrists ), so I didn’t need to change the sleeve shapes at all.
In order to prepare the sleeve we need to make a ‘keyhole’ cut out in the bottom of each sleeve. To do this I folded each sleeve in half longways, right sides together, so that the long sleeve edges lined up. I marked a point 8cm up from the bottom of the sleeve, on the fold, with tailors chalk. At this time I also marked the fold point at the bottom edge of the sleeve.
I then opened out the sleeve and used a ruler to mark a straight line from the top marking to the bottom (8cm long).
On the bottom edge of the sleeve, I marked a point 1.5cm either side of the line I had just made.
Next I drew a curved line, (freehand), from the top point to one of the 1.5cm markings at the bottom.
Re-fold your sleeve back in half again, pin to stop it from slipping and cut out your ‘keyhole’ shape.
Repeat these steps for the other sleeve – I used my cut-out as a template for the second sleeve.
To bind the edges of the ‘keyhole’ openings you will need 2 lengths of bias cut fabric, each measuring at least 30cm. I used scrap leftover fabric, but you could use shop bought bias binding tape.
I cut each of my strips 3.5 cm wide and this meant that they would run nicely through my 18mm bias tape maker. They were also the exact width of my ruler which made things super easy!
Now it’s time to attach the bias strips to the raw edges of the ‘keyhole’ shapes you have just cut out. Before you start it helps if you iron/press the bias tapes into a curved shape. This really helps you attach more easily.
Unfold your bias tape and pin it right side down to the wrong side of the sleeve around the ‘keyhole’ opening keeping the edges of the tape against the edges of the ‘keyhole’ opening. Use plenty of pins to keep it secure.
Upon reflection it would probably be better to attach the bias to the RIGHT side of the sleeve – further into the tutorial I will explain why!
Take to your machine and sew in place all around the edge along the fold line of the bias tape. When sewn into place, snip the seam allowances carefully to enable it to lay flat when finished.
Turn the tape through to the other side of the sleeve, encasing the raw edge of the ‘keyhole’ and pin into place on the other side.
Stitch neatly into place close to the edge of the bias tape, and trim the ends off. Give it a good press with the iron.
Although this achieves a nice neat finish, it does mean that there is a line of stitching visible from the right side. There is nothing wrong with this and it does not bother me, but it may have been better to have started with the bias tape on the RIGHT side of the sleeve as mentioned in red above and then when it was turned through you could carefully ‘stitch in the ditch’ on the right side thereby leaving no visible lines of stitching on the right side of the sleeve. Oh well, you live and learn…
At the end of both sleeves I ran 2 rows of gathering stitches, in preparation for later, then made up the sleeve tube by placing the long edges together, right sides facing each other, and stitched along this edge. I neatened the raw edge and pressed it.
Now time to gather the bottom of the sleeves, I only wanted a gentle gather, and I worked out how much by the following:
I pinned the sleeve to the bodice of the dress again to get an idea of where the end of the sleeve would sit. I then pinched it to fit my wrist and decided that I had about 5-6cm that I could gather it in by. With a tape measure I measured around the ungathered bottom of my sleeve. It measured approx 25.5cm. I then knew that I could gather up 5-6cm so when the gathers were pulled the sleeve opening would measure approx 19cm in length.
I then pulled the gathering threads on each sleeve so that the opening measured approx 19cm long. I then placed these to one side for a moment.
Next we need to make the tie/cuff band. For this I needed 2 lengths of fabric cut straight along the grain of the fabric which measured 55cm x 5cm.
To prepare the sleeve cuff/ties, fold the strips in half lengthways with the right sides together. What you need to do is sew them into a tube, leaving a large opening of whatever the length of your gathered cuff is – in my case 19cm. To be on the safe side your opening should really be slightly larger than your cuff length to make it easy for yourself. I left an opening of approx 21cm. I hope in the photo below you can see from my chalk markings where I sewed. The area between the central pins is that gap of approx 21cm – from each central pin I stitched away in each direction to the end, pivoted the needle and sewed down to the fold.
When all sewn up, snip the corners, trim the seam allowances and turn right sides out. I used a blunt chopstick to do this. Tuck in the seam allowances at the opening that you left and give it a good press.
Slip your tie/cuff over the raw edge of the sleeve, encasing the gathered raw edges of the sleeve in the opening that you left in your cuff piece, and pin it into place.
Take to the machine and sew neatly as close to the edge of the cuff as you can.
There you have it – a regular sleeve converted into a tie sleeve.
I do hope you may have found this helpful. I know it may not be the correct or easiest way but it is the way that I found worked for me, and I am thrilled with the results. Do head on over to my previous blog post to see the pictures of my finished make and the High Street dress that gave me the inspiration to make this adjustment to the sleeves.
I would welcome your comments, and look forward to hearing your thoughts.
Take care, and I’ll be back soon,