The summer weather has finally made it’s debut around here and it’s come just in time because sundress time is my favorite time of year! And it couldn’t have come at a better time because it’s time for Melly Sew’s annual 30 Days of Sundresses sewing series. In year’s past, I’ve joined in the last three years with The Date Night Dress (aka; How to Create a Dress Pattern From Your Favorite Store Bought Dress), a DIY Watercolored Halter Maxi Dress, and a Knit Fringe Dress. This year, I’m sharing a tutorial for adding flutter sleeves to your favorite tank dress pattern.
If you can gather material, than you can create a drape-y, flowing sleeve that’s great for the warm days of summer!
When creating a flutter sleeve dress, you’ll want to choose a tank dress pattern that fits well in the shoulder and arm scythe. And choosing a fabric with a nice drape is a must. You want a lightweight, flowing fabric that is going to drape softly as it flows over your shoulder. Too thick and the fabric is going to stick out or be bulky under your arm.I used this gorgeous, super soft, Rayon Challis Elephant Print from Imagine Gnats! I went with the Blank Slate Pattern’s Catalina Dress (affiliate link). I’ve sewn it a few time already and was confident that it would work well with an added sleeve.
Once the shoulder sleeves are sewn, measure the full length of the arm scythe. Then take note of the measurement from the arm scythe to the bottom of the bodice. Now, do a wee bit of math:
Length of the arm scythe X 2 + the arm scythe to bottom of bodice measurement + 1 inch
If you want a fuller ruffle, add more than double the length of the arm scythe.
Once you have that measurement, you can now create a pattern piece for your sleeve. Create a rectangle that is 6 inches wide X the length calculated above.
Now cut two rectangles of fabric and hem one long side on each piece by folding 1/4 inch to the wrong side and then again 1/2 inch and then topstitching.
Set your machine to a basting stitch (my longest stitch is 5) and sew two lines of stitching. Do not backstitch and leave the tails long at both ends. Pull the long threads to create your ruffle, comparing the piece to the arm scythe so it matches. Remember, you want the fabric to go all the way down to the bottom of the bodice.
Pin the sleeve, right sides together, starting at the middle of the arm scythe and working out, evenly on both sides. The short sides of each rectangle should match up with the side seam of the bodice. Sew using a 1/2 inch seam allowance.
You may find, pinning or basting the short sides to the side seam may help keep the extra material out of the seam. Just make sure to remove these pins before the next step. Finish the sleeve seams with a serger, zigzag stitch or bias tap.
Once the sleeves are sewn in, place the short ends, right sides together and sandwich in between the right sides of the sides of the bodice piece. Pin and sew the side seam using a 1/2 inch seam allowance. Ta da! You’ve added flutter sleeves to your dress. Now move on to attaching the bodice to the skirt and you are finished!
I don’t know what it is about summer sundresses. They make getting dressed each day a breeze. And I love that sewing my own allows me to play with small modifications which always end up creating a unique piece that fits my body shape. Yay for summer sundresses. Now if only my summer tan would hurry up and transform those pasty legs.
Don’t forget to head over to Melly Sews to enter to win some amazing prizes for this year’s 30 Days of Sundresses Series!