I couldn't let the whole year go by without blogging at least one more time! I created this split sleeve on one of my favorite dress patterns, and I thought I would share how you can replicate this trendy style.
For three years I enjoyed testing for pattern companies. I learned so much and met so many amazing people. I will say though, I think it made me lose some of my creative side. When you're testing patterns, you aren't allowed to wing it or make your own changes during the test. Since I was testing for multiple companies, pretty much everything I sewed was for a test, so that meant following a pattern exactly all the time.
Almost a year ago though, I decided life was a little too hectic to keep up with those testing deadlines, so I very reluctantly left all the groups I was in. It was so strange at first, but I realized it was very freeing! I could actually take a pattern and do whatever I wanted with it. No more rules to follow! Every time I made something I had the urge to change it up, even if it was only a small change.
Now that Brenna is getting older and moving into her tween years, I feel like the freedom to modify is more imperative. Let's face it, there are endless styles out there for toddlers, but the older Brenna gets the harder it is to find patterns that are not only age appropriate but also current with tween fashion today.
I started looking at places that I buy her clothes for inspiration. Jak & Pepper, Joyfolie, and Nordstrom are my top three places to find inspiration. Many of the modified styles I made this year were made based upon the clothes I found here.
But inspiration doesn't stop there. Another place I find my creative juices flowing is when I'm perusing Instagram. In fact for this particular project I was inspired by a woman's dress pattern called the Marilyn Dress by Style Arc. I saw the pattern in my Instagram feed. The particular design detail that I was drawn to was the sleeves. I loved the split opening and the tie closures. I still needed to find the dress shape I was looking for, but I was off to a great start.
When Petite Stitchery and Co released the Grace dressI knew it was just what I was looking for. It has the same V neck look as the Marilyn Dress, but it also has a more defined waist and the high-low hem which Brenna and I both love.
Since this pattern comes with the option for long sleeves, the only change I needed to make to the Grace dress was to add the split detail to the sleeve. Here is what I did to create the sleeve.
1. Extra Pieces:
I didn't want the reverse side of the fabric to show on the sleeve like I saw in most of the inspiration pictures I found. So instead of cutting two sleeves, I cut four. (I only recommend this when you are using lightweight fabric like rayon or voile. I don't think it would have the same nice drape if it was woven cotton).
I also cut two strips for the ties at 2.5" x 30" (This measurement is based off a size 10 dress)
2. Cutting the Slit into the Sleeve
Lay all the sleeves on top of each other wrong side facing up. Measure 1.5" from the top of the sleeve and make a mark. Then find the center of the sleeve at the top and the bottom. Draw a line in the center from your mark at 1.5" all the way to the bottom of the sleeve. Cut along this line through all 4 sleeves.
3. Finishing the Split
Take two of the sleeves and place them right sides together. With a 1/8" seam allowance sew all the way around the cut you just made. Clip around the curve at the top so it will lay flat.
Then turn the pieces right side out. (Optional: I made this dress in rayon, which can be a little slippery. I basted around the entire sleeve on the outside to keep it in place when attaching to the bodice. .) Repeat with the other 2 sleeve pieces.
Once you are to this step you can attach your sleeve to your bodice as directed by the pattern, or you can wait until the ties are complete, whichever you prefer. (TIP: When I attached my sleeves to the bodice, I used a safety pin to keep the slit together at the bottom so the sleeve holds it shape.)
4. Making the Ties
Take one of your ties and fold the fabric on the long end with right sides facing. Where the raw edges meet up you need to find the center and mark with a pin. Then measure 3.5" to each side and place another pin (white marks shown below). Then you will sew with a 1/4" seam from the pin to the outside on each side. This leaves the center 7" unsewn as shown below. (Remember, I am making a size 10, so if you are making a different size you will need to measure your little one's wrist and add a 1/2" to get the measurement you need to leave unsewn.)
On the short ends sew a seam 1/4" from the edge on both sides.
Before you turn right side out make sure to cut a perpendicular line where your stitches begin on each side in the center. (the cut will go the same direction as the white lines drawn above).
Turn right side out and iron flat. This is what it should look like when this step is complete. Repeat with the other tie.
5. Attaching the Ties to the Sleeve
If you already attached your sleeves to the bodice and used a safety pin to hold the slit together, remove the safety pin. Sew a gathering stitch on the raw edge of the sleeve hem. Adjust the gathers to be the same width as the unfinished section on your tie (for my size 10 that is 7").
Next pin the unfinished edge of the band to the gathered edge of the sleeve. Sew together with a 1/4" seam allowance. Finish this seam and iron the seam towards the tie. You can topstitch it down along with the rest of the tie, but I preferred how the tie looked when it wasn't topstitched.
You're split sleeve is now complete!!! Turn it over and see how pretty it is!!
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial. If you decide to make the split sleeve, please tag me so I can see!!
See the slideshow for more pictures of the finished dress :) The dress is made with Art Gallery Fabrics rayon from the new collection Dollhouse by Amy Sinibaldi. I absolutely LOVE the drape of rayon with this style!