To add some interest to the design of an otherwise relatively plain dress, I decided to add a small puff to the top of my long, straight sleeves. Not only that, but I wanted to ruch the puff to give it even more texture and dimension.
I wanted to use existing patterns for long sleeves and puffed sleeves– the problem was, my sleeve patterns are completely different shapes. As in, my puffed sleeve pattern is symmetrical and my long sleeve pattern is cut so that the seam is set towards the back. I decided that rather than try to convert my puffed sleeve pattern, I would use it anyway and rely on the fact that the whole thing is going to be too short for the difference in seam placement to matter.
As always when I’m experimenting with new pattern designs, I made a mockup out of scrap fabric. After a little tinkering with my standard puffed sleeve pattern (I ended up making it about 4″ wider and 2″ taller) I was set. I just took the puffed sleeve shape and ran four vertical lines of gathering as well as the gathering along the top and bottom edges (in white).
For the main sleeve I cut my shawl fabric with the sleeve on-grain, and the lining fabric on the bias for movement. To help reinforce the sleeve seams and keep them from pulling (again, I hate this fabric), I flatlined the sleeves and resigned myself to not clean-finishing the insides.
To attach the puffs to the long sleeves, I pulled up the gathering stitches on the top edge of the puff to match the top edge of the long sleeves and pinned them together. Then I fitted the double-layer sleeve into the armscye, which required a bit of pleating/gathering as well. Once the sleeves were attached to the bodice at the top I pulled up the vertical gathering lines and the gathers along the bottom edge of the puff to fit, pinning them in place. It helped to have the dress on my dress form at this point to make sure the puffs looked symmetrical and were the right length.
Once I had the sleeve positions set, I took the dress off of the form and hand-stitched the bottom edges of the puffs in place, turning the raw edges under. Not the most secure of solutions, but hopefully it’ll work well enough for what is essentially just a decorative effect.