I have something very exciting to share with you guys today. I am finally publishing the free sleeve pattern piece to go with my Bennett dress pattern. It has been finished for a while, but I was just sitting on it and thinking about it over the summer holidays.
It is an addition I definitely wanted to add to the dress for myself, but I was unsure about whether or not I wanted to share it. The reason being that the armhole of the Bennett dress has been drafted with as much coverage as possible even though it's a sleeveless dress. I'm sure that many of you can relate, but I have bits of my underarms that I like to cover up if possible due to the fact that I do not have a very toned upper body. Anyway, ramble ramble, what I'm saying is that the armhole is not what I would choose to set a sleeve into! That being said, it is still possible and this is what I have come up with!
Note - the pale blue version is made up from a shirt weight linen and the darker blue a medium weight, soft denim (the same I used for my Roberts collection samples).
The construction is slightly different to the instructions, but I do not have a separate instruction sheet. Instead I shall detail the steps below. These instructions do kind of assume that you have set in a sleeve before, but it is pretty straight forward!
Note - these instructions only apply to the plain front version and not the buttoned up version. For the button up version you could finish the front as per the instructions and face the back neck edge with bias binding before joining the front to the backs at the shoulder seam. I would topstitch the shoulder seams down to keep them neat or maybe do a flat felled seam here!
- Follow the instructions to insert the front bib and tie straps, but rather than finish the neckline edge leave this open and raw (attach pockets at this stage also). The neckline for the sleeved version is finished with bias tape rather than the facings or a finished seam.
- Sew the dress front to the dress backs at the shoulder seams leaving the centre back seam open.
- Finish the neckline edge with a bias tape facing. Here's a link to some great tips on applying bias tape as a facing or binding.
- Next sew up the centre back seam and the side seams and finish.
- Construct the sleeves by sewing up the sleeve seam with right sides together and finish using your normal method.
- Sew an ease stitch between the notches on the sleeve heads approximately 0.75cm away from the fabric edge and gather lightly. I wrap the threads around a pin on one end of the stitch line at this point before placing the sleeve into the bodice to start pinning the sleeve in place.
- Machine sew the sleeve in place removing pins as you go. Finish the seam.
- Hem dress as per the instructions and hem the sleeves with a machined double 1cm turned hem.
Hopefully that's enough information to get you through. This pattern piece hasn't been fully tested in any size other than the size 5 (in my size table), but I am confident that everything fits together perfectly. Of course let me know if you have any questions or feedback!
I shall do a follow up post later this week with details of the elasticated belt I am wearing with the denim sample above. It's so easy, but looks so neat.
I shall leave you with this for now and I hope you like it!
LINK TO PATTERN PIECE HERE - download to your computer before printing and print at actual size!
P.S. Saturday sees the start of OWOP, which is being hosted by cinderellis sews this year! I had the pleasure of meeting her at the recent sewing weekender hosted by the foldine and have decided to join in on Instagram (I haven't officially signed up on the blog yet). I think I shall wear Bennett dresses for the week as I have a load of them in my wardrobe at the moment and thought it might be fun to force myself to wear dresses all week. It was either that or the Roberts pattern to be honest, so thought it would make a nice change! Hope to see some familiar faces on the IG side of the challenge!