Thursday, April 1, 2010

My creative space - making a sleeve more complicated than it needs to be

I've enjoyed popping into other people's creative spaces via Kootoyoo's "My creative space" every Thursday, so I thought I'd share mine this week.

By now anyone who looks at this blog regularly knows that I like detail. I LOVE fiddly stuff to make. So for my latest design, which has a totally plain A-line front (don't worry, there's going to be some interest at the back) I decided on quite an elaborate applique. This design is from a brilliant book of William Morris inspired quilting/applique designs. (Details to be checked when I dig out the book before returning it to the library!)

Cutting away the excess fabric is fiddly and exacting.

But the layer of colour combined with the contrasting thread stitching really make the design pop.

Then it was on to the sleeve. I'd drafted a tulip sleeve (from Aldrich of course!) and wanted to do something to show off the edge.

I started by cutting bias strips of the same satin that I used under the applique. This two ruler trick is a great way to get a long line. The upper ruler is a BRILLIANT scrapbooking one a lovely friend picked up for me. It has 0 in the centre and goes out to 15cm (or 6 inches depending on which side you use) at each end. It also has lines printed on it which enable you to draw a line at 1.5, 2 or 2.5cm from something. I love this ruler sooooo much.

The wide bias strips were paired with narrow piping cord....

....and stitched to the edge of the sleeve. I had to pin from the back to line up the wide bias with the narrow hem allowance.......

....then move the pins to the front to make it easier to sew along the edge of the piping cord.

Then I trimmed the inner layer of the bias strip to line up with the cut edge of the sleeve.

After that I said a few rude words as I steamed my fingers pressing the remaining seam allowance over the trimmed one and hem allowance before pressing everything into it's final position.
I topstitched from the right side to hold everything nice and securely.

Here's what it looks like from the inside - nice clean tidy bound edge.

And from the outside, a nice piped edge.

Steamed fingers aside, this was easy enough to do and looks just how I wanted it to. I love it when I have what I'm sure will be a good idea and it works even better than I'd hoped! Now to finish the dress so I can set in the sleeves....


  1. the piped edge of the sleeve is so nice and tidy. i wonder if i'll have the patience to achieve that.

    it's my first time to join this event. looks like fun!


  2. So intricate and it's turned out so well!

  3. I can't wait to see this all put together!!! Such pretty detail work!

  4. It looks like it will be really pretty finished. Can't wait to see it finished! Thanks for stopping by my blog too! It's a nice way to find new people to read.

  5. That looks really lovely. Great photos for the piping.