Good gravy...I haven't blogged in forever. My goodness. This past year I have made the decision to shift BG from a business to more of a hobby-business as I have put some other things on my plate, and my lack of blog presence shows just that! But, here's hoping this can make up for the absence.
The Tilly. What can't she do? I have seen you ladies make some amazing creations with her as the base. You never cease to amaze me. But if I had a dollar for every time someone asked me for a sleeve for the Tilly, I may not be driving my ancient Honda anymore. Well, I love that car, so I probably would but you know what I mean. ;)
I have a folder on my computer filled of dress ideas that Louisa likes (the older she gets the less she loves wearing what I make, sigh...I knew it was coming and I am just grateful she was compliant for as long as she was) and this was one she picked out for a dress for my cousin's wedding in September. (This picture is from Zulily, I am so sorry I do not have the brand...and I tried to reverse search it to no luck, so if someone knows - fill me in!)
In looking at it, I saw Tilly...with a sleeve modification and dropped, curved bodice. So, I got out my drafting paper and went to work. And this is what the result was. I was instantly in love, and so was Lou. Winner, winner chicken dinner.
And as I saw how awesome this sleeve paired with Tilly, I decided I would finally cave to all of you. I mean, you had been so patient!! So, I drafted a sleeve for each size of the Tilly and modified the armsyce to provide as well. It was the least I could do for awesome geese. XOXO
Now to get down to business for the sew along. For those that do not have the Tilly pattern yet, it is on sale for 50% off in my Etsy store right now and will be through the rest of the week. If this week is crazy for you and there is no way you can get to your sewing room, do not stress! As with all of my sew alongs/hacks and tutorials they are ALWAYS available here on the blog if you click one of the tabs on the menu up top. If you are new to a BG sew along, welcome!! What I like to do is a mini tutorial that goes in conjunction with the tutorial included with the pattern so you can get as much use from your BG patterns as you can. I love to offer diversity in my patterns to save money, but also to help you broaden your skill base! I am an absolute nerd when it comes to sewing and believe you cannot ever learn it all so I love walking into my sewing room each day knowing I will try a new skill. And with this sew along I did. I know feel confident with the slash and spread method and actually will include a mini tutorial at the end to show you how to use this method on any sleeve! I am always amazed at how the smallest lessons in the sewing room can lead to some of the biggest changes.
SIDE NOTE: this modification will work with all 3 views of the Tilly, however I have written the tutorial following View C with the closed back.
Welcome to day 1. Today we will make the necessary changes needed to the bodice of the pattern for this hack and then construct the bodice. Tomorrow we will hem the sleeve with bias tape, finish the top/dress and then I will do the mini-tutorial on how to make any sleeve a flounce sleeve.
Enough talk. Let's get down to business. Here is a link for the file that contains the sleeve and the modified armsyce. https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B8RLfeP2eFAyRXFUR3dyN0U5amM
This is what it should look like all printed out and taped together. (I totally forgot to add the grain line arrow on the sleeve, but it runs parallel with the fold of the sleeve)
Now, you may be wondering why there is a modified armsyce. There is a method to my madness. When you have a sleeveless dress (like the original Tilly) it is drafted so that the armsyce (arm curve) comes closer to the underarm so there is no major gap. Well, when you add a sleeve, you need to allow a bit more of a drop (meaning farther down from the underarm) so that there is more room for movement with the sleeve. I usually use 1/2" to either drop the arm when adding a sleeve, or raising it to make something sleeveless. While it doesn't seem like a ton, it does make a difference. There are other adjustments that technically should be made in making a sleeveless dress have sleeves, but thankfully this sweet flounce sleeve has a lot of forgiveness to its shape. So, there is the method. Basically your little girls underarm will thank you and no seams will be ripped on the playground.
So, first things first. Let's redraft our Tilly bodice for this modification. I like to use tracing paper for this so that I can see the original Tilly and still make changes. This is what I buy, and I usually buy it by the bolt when it is 50% off to use for all patterns when I draft and when I trace the sizes http://www.joann.com/pellon-interfacing-tracing-material-pattern-white/1540640.html#q=pellon%2B830&start=1
Trace the size you need for the modified armsyce. The ONLY thing that has changed here is the curve of the arm. The F and B will help you to line up the front and the back of your original Tilly bodice.
Now, trace the size you need from the original Tilly. It matters none if you start with front or back. Place it on top of the modified armscye, lining up the shoulder, side and also the mark for the front or back, depending on which one you are using. Again, the ONLY thing that is different is the curve of the arm. Once you have it all lined up, trace the modified armsyce (shown below in blue) on your original Tilly bodice. See how it is dropped 1/2"?
Shown below is my modified bodice front with the dropped curve. The black arrow points to the old arm curve.
Okay, I debated on adding this photo or not, so IT IS NOT MANDATORY but personally, I like to kick out my arm curve just a bit (as shown below in the red) so that the sleeve falls more in line with the edge of the shoulder. I have done the Tilly with a flounce without doing this and it was fine. So, do not fret or feel you need to, it is totally personal preference.
The armsyce is now all done and ready for the sleeve. However, let's get to work on dropping the bodice and adding the curve that makes it so sweet. With your modified bodice get your ruler and trace down 1.25" from the bodice bottom along the fold (if you are working on the front first) or the center (if you are doing the back first). Then, on the side measure down 2.5". Now, you do not have to drop the bodice at all, you can carry on with the way the original bottom of the bodice looks with a flounce sleeve. You be the designer. I am working on a size 4-5 for reference. You can certainly play with how much you drop the bodice depending on your size. You may need to decrease the numbers for the smaller sizes and increase for the larger sizes. But remember your number as we will use it later!
Once you have those markings, draw a curve between them that mimics the one below.
Once you have that done...you have your modified Tilly bodice all ready for a sew along! I have outlined the changes below in blue, and you can see the original bodice in the pencil marks for reference. Now, if you started on the front bodice, all you need to do now is make the changes for the back bodice (or if you started on the back, make the front changes). Easy peasy ladies!!
Now that all of our drafting is done, it is time to cut and get down to sewing! Just as the original, you will cut 2 fronts on the fold (one will be lining), 2 sets mirror image of the back pieces (one will be lining) and 2 sleeves on the fold. HOLD OFF on the skirt for now.
With right sides together, line up the front and back bodice pieces and sew the shoulder seams closed (just as in the pattern, the seam allowance is 3/8") as shown below. Do this for both the outer and lining. Once sewn, take to the iron and press the seams out.
Now lay the lining on top of the outer, with right sides facing making sure to line up shoulder seams, sides and arms as shown below. Sew along the black dotted line. Now, for those of you that have sewn View C of the Tilly before you are probably wondering why we are sewing down the back seams. Well, confession...I am cheating. There will be no placket here. My reason being is that with the dropped bodice, there is more bodice opening and therefore it is easier to get on and off without the placket. However, you can certainly put the placket in if you prefer, just follow the directions as stated in the pattern.
Once sewn, clip into your corners as shown below in red. Now, I did not photograph this step, but I like to under stitch (this is where you stitch the seam allowance to the lining, I do this in the Lennon if you have that pattern, but if not here is a good tutorial, just substitute the lining for the facing https://www.craftsy.com/blog/2014/07/how-to-sew-understitching/) the bodice along the front neck and sides only to help when flipping it right sides out. I have also found that sometimes it helps my corners lay better.
Flip the bodice right sides out and press along your seams.
Now, this next step isn't mandatory, but depending on how unruly your fabric is, it may be helpful. Baste your armsyces together as shown below with the black dotted line.
Yay for sleeve time!! Okay, if are trying to bust this out quickly, let me recommend that this is the one step you want to make sure to take your time on. I like to be efficient when I sew, which is I think some of the reasons I don't like to sew sleeves...because it forces me to slow down and use my pins. Confessions of an inpatient seamstress.
Fold your sleeve along the fold line and finger press along the top to mark your center. Now, with the way this sleeve is shaped it is easy to make the mistake and sew the wrong side to the armsyce. Trust me, I have done that before. A pretty flounce sleeve it does not make. So, make sure you have the sleeve cap versus the edge!
Now, take the sleeve, and place it along the bodice, right sides together making sure to match up the center you just finger-pressed with the shoulder seam. Pin in place at this point.
Here is the part to take your time. Grab a seat, put on some good tunes and get your pins ready. Ease the sleeve along the armsyce and pin, pin, pin.
I like to work from the center of the sleeve/shoulder seam down to the arm curve as shown below.
Now, if you get to a point in which you have more sleeve that armsyce, this is when you need to ease it in. See below how there is the gapping of the sleeve? Now, when I say ease I don't mean the traditional method of an ease-stitch here as this sleeve will have no gathers. I mean manipulating the fabric so that the sleeve fits in place.
This was hard to take a picture since it was only my at home at the time, but see how I have eased the sleeve in and there is no longer a gap?
Once you have your sleeve pinned until the cows come home, take over to the machine and stitch it to the bodice. Sew slowly and with precision here as many times the bodice fabric likes to jump into your stitches. Don't let it act a fool.
Now, let me address sleeve puckers from easing and manipulating the fabric. I had 2 on my first sleeve for this tutorial so they were perfect to use as examples! The first one is a pucker that starts at the seam and goes through the seam allowance. This is totally fine. It will no be seen from the right side and it is totally normal when you have fabric that is eased.
Now, this next pucker is the bad kind. If it extends through the seam into the sleeve, it needs to be ripped and re-eased. It will show on the sleeve and while it may be minute, it is such an easy, quick fix at this point so you might as well go ahead and remedy the situation. :)
Repeat with the other sleeve and armsyce. And when you have them sewn in, take the bodice over to the ironing board and press the seams TOWARD THE BODICE. Do not look closely at my photo below as my seams are pressed the wrong way. Do as I say, not as I do. I had to go back and rip seams and re-press. Once pressed, line up the bodice right sides together and sew up the sides and sleeves as shown below in black. Then, finish those seams.
Alrighty, we are almost done with the bodice. Turn your bodice right sides out and press your side seams and admire those sleeves! Although, they aren't near as pretty on the cutting table as they are when worn! Now, if you want to top-stitch your bodice, go for it. This is also a good time to add any pretty trim that you may like.
Since we are cheating and not adding a placket, I figure go big or go home...so we will also have exposed seams where the skirt meets the bodice. Who's feeling rebellious? To make things easier and cut down on the amount of underarm sweating that may be done with the automatic buttonhole function on the machine, let's go ahead and add those now. With the back of the Tilly facing up, line up the side seams and overlap the back pieces. It matters none which side is on top, I usually pick the side that looks best. Then, place buttons as you would like (remembering there will be a 3/8" seam along the bottom) and mark where to make your buttonholes. Then, take to the machine and make your buttonholes on a wide open bodice. Some of the easiest buttonholes to do!!
Once sewn, put your Tilly on a flat surface again with the back facing up and overlap your back pieces again. Open up the buttonholes and make marks where the buttons need to be. Then, sew a basting stitch along the bottom to secure the back pieces in place as shown below with the black line. I like to place a ruler between the front and back of the bodice so that I don't accidentally sew the front to the back.
Okay ladies. That is all the work we are going to do for the day. Tomorrow we will start the day making bias tape to finish our sleeve hems (don't shoot me...I personally feel they are best finished that way) and then adding the skirt to our new Tilly. Oh and I will get rowdy and show you how to slash and spread your way to a flounce sleeve. Getting crazy up in here girls. ;)