Trends often come and go, but one trend has stood out the last several seasons and doesn’t seem to be going anywhere: statement sleeves. From bishop sleeves to puff sleeves, to everything in between, a bit of interesting detail at the arm of an otherwise simple garment can elevate it with ease. In today’s tutorial, we’ll take our free Melia Blouse pattern and turn up the volume on the sleeves to make a gorgeous bishop sleeve!
All seam allowances are 1/2″ unless otherwise stated. See chart below for sizing specifications. Note, this specific pattern is available up to a size 30.
First, you’ll see from the pattern flat above that the original Melia has a two part sleeve: a standard straight portion paired with a puff at the bottom. We’ll need to combine them to create a full straight sleeve to start.
- Overlap the upper Sleeve and Sleeve Gather 1″ along the bottom edge of the Sleeve and tape together. The 1″ accounts for the 1/2″ seam allowance added to each of the pattern pieces.
- Use a straight edge to continue the lines from the upper Sleeve down to the bottom edge.
- Cut the excess portions from the Sleeve Gather piece.
- Beginning at the center notch and shoulder seam notch, draw a line straight down the length of your sleeve. Repeat at every inch across the sleeve until you run out of room along the bottom edge.
Next, we’ll use the slash and spread technique to give the sleeve more volume.
- Cut along each of the vertical lines your drew on your sleeve to create strips.
- Place the center strip on a large piece of paper (preferably pattern paper)
- Place each consecutive strip onto the paper, touching the top edges (but not overlapping), and put a 3.5″ space at the bottom.
- By not overlapping the top edges, you’re keeping this edge of your sleeve the same dimensions as it originally was; meaning, it will fit into the armscye of your sleeve correctly without bunching or coming up too short. If you’d like to add gathers or pleats to your sleeve at the shoulder, you could opt to spread your pattern pieces out here as well.
- 3.5″ is not the requirement for the lower spacing, but tends to add a decent amount of volume without being too crazy. Add more space for more volume, or deduct for a subtler sleeve.
- Once all of your Sleeve strips have been placed, outline the top three edges and draw your new bottom edge with the help of a French curve.
Voila! You’ve created a brand new sleeve pattern.
To sew, simply sew up the inseam with a French seam and gather it into the cuff. For the original sewing instructions for the Melia Blouse, click here!