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Monday, November 28, 2022

Simplicity 9641 - What sleeves!


Let's set the playing field here. I am making Simplicity 9646, a basic blouse with dropped shoulders, collar with stand and the big billowy sleeves you see popping up all over in fashion. Those sleeves are lovely but I didn't want them on my blouse. I wanted the far more interesting, a bit less voluminous sleeves on Simplicity 9641. I am doing a separate post for these sleeves because first of all they are so interesting to make and secondly, anyone making 9641 needs to know about these sleeves first. They will never find the info needed in a pattern with another number! They definitely deserve their own post.

I fell hard for the fabric I am using here.  It was a heavy yarn dyed plaid flannel. Its colors  seduced me amid the bolt lineup. I bought right away. I got home and   decided on my pattern. That took a while as I wanted the side pleated sleeves but not their bodice.  Eventually I got it all to work with two separate patterns. I thought.  I started planning my plaid layout. How did I not notice it was an uneven plaid? I couldn't let  that stop me.  I'll make it work and I think I did in the end. My first solution was to cut the sleeves on the bias. Back to the store for more fabric. New bolt on the rack, it's running out of the store! Now to making one sleeve fit into the other pattern's armscye.

The above photo might work better if you blow it up. The pleated sleeve is nearly a perfect square, the better to confuse you if you are cutting  and pleating a bias plaid, my pretties! The purple arrows at the top indicate the original 9641 armscye curve.  The red arrows show the new curve, that of the 9646 armscye/sleeve curve. The top centers actually matched nicely, difference being one was pleated and one was gathered.  You can see how this turned into a near square once my alteration was done. Pleats are all marked in on the new tissue. 

I will give a few tips now if you are going to sew these sleeves on anything. 

* Buy an even plaid if you plan to make this sleeve and cut it on the bias. It will save  you a lot of misery. 

*Immediately,  before moving your fabric from your tissue pattern, apply a piece of tape on the right side with an arrow pointing to the top of the sleeve. It is very easy to get confused with this shape once the tissue is removed and the fabric has shifted around. I did the first sleeve sideways with the side pleats at the top. Oh, the shame! This is just as important if it is an allover print.

* Cut these sleeves one layer at a time. The next tip will show why. Cut them fabric right side up, flipping the tissue, important. 

* Don't move anything away from the tissue with that first sleeve except pins. With the  square shape of the piece it is easy to mark the wrong side. Just slide the fabric over. Get  your ruler and marker and line up the ruler with the pleats and mark. 

* It is very helpful to distinguish the pleats with two  different colored markers or two different lines. I used short lines for the perforated pleat lines and long marker lines for the solid pleat lines. This will help a lot. Trust me. 

* Go to the machine and baste it in. Remember to keep an eye on that tape and that arrow pointing to the top. Replace the fabric on the tissue. 

* With the fabric back on the tissue, start folding from the bottom up as the arrows direct. Finish one side and move to the next. Baste and continue. You should end up with a circular sort of pile as in the pic at the very top. Mark all your other dots and you are good to go with the rest of your garment. 

* Be careful of the top center pleats on the sleeve cap. It is boxed and the remaining pleats extend outward on each side, not one way. It is very easy to miss.  I blew that one too, as I did it last and all the others were one way pleats, Oy................

I am excited to finish this blouse. It will be a great winter addition to my wardrobe. I've done Hong Kong seams and did them in some really cool fabric as you will see. The entire project has been a lot of fun. I just seemed to be genetically tuned to taking something simple and complicating it. I enjoy doing that but it can be risky. We shall see how it goes......................Happy Sewing,   Bunny


  1. That plaid is BEAUTIFUL! I can't wait to see the completed top.

    1. Thanks. It's been a challenge, a fun one however, every step of the way. I am so happy because today I got a half way decent buttonhole in that little curve on the collar stand. That is the only thing I dread doing in m sewing universe.


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