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Mrs Bowden’s Top Tip – inserting a puffed sleeve

Mrs Bowden’s Top Tip – inserting a puffed sleeve

Mrs Bowden’s Top Tip – puffed sleeves of loveliness

A few tips on setting in a puffed sleeve – this is useful as the same technique applies for a gently gathered sleeve too!

The variety in sleeves is inspiring and designers can add interest to the head of the sleeve – where it travels over the top of the arm by using tucks, gathers, pleats and darts.  Each one of these requires slightly different treatment to produce a sleeve that looks really pleasing to the eye.
This week’s top tip concentrates on how to ‘set in’ a puffed sleeve to a bodice armhole.   The head of this sleeve has extra fullness in the pattern to create a ‘puff’ at the head. Traditionally, a puffed sleeve also has a cuff so you get the full ‘puff ball’ effect.
As there is quite a volume of fabric to deal with edge finishing the fabric before you start constructing the sleeve is helpful.  If you don’t have an overlocker you can set you machine to a zigzag stitch and finish the edge or use pinking shears.

Create tram lines for gathering by setting the sewing machine to the longest stitch length and sewing 5 mm from the edge between the notches or where the ‘gathering’ is marked on the pattern.  Repeat with a second line of stitches 20 mm from the edge.  This allows the fabric to be pulled up using the top threads and creates a relatively speaking easy to control section of gathers.

Be mindful of matching the notches/tailor tacks on the sleeve to the bodice as you want to make sure the gathers are even and in the right place i.e., travelling over the sleeve head.  Follow the same rule for attaching the cuff and checking an even distribution of gathers on the cuff – there will be an exclusion zone of puffiness around the underarm seam as this makes it more comfortable to wear.
Here is the sleeve inserted into the bodice and awaiting it’s cuff.  It’s so tiny as it was taken from a 1950’s childs dress pattern – adorable!
I do hope you find this helpful and have a happy week!

Until next time,

in stitches,

Mrs Bowden x

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