Hey y’all – today I’ve got another bonus dress from my book Sundressing, and a tutorial to show you how to add a sleeve to a dress. This flutter sleeve couldn’t be more simple, and using the bodice pattern in the book, you can modify any of the dresses this way.
The sleeve question came up almost immediately after announcing the book, and I had anticipated that some of my more modest readers might want a sleeve, so my plan was always to do this tutorial. If a set-in sleeve is more your speed, I have a tutorial about drafting a sleeve here.
So, here is my variation of the Parlin Dress. I skipped the collar and rounded the neckline instead of making it a V, but the rest of the construction is the exact same except for the addition of the sleeves.
And incidentally, the day we went to take these photos, my Rocksbox set showed up with these rose colored earrings, and it was like my stylist was reading my mind. If you’d like to try Rocksbox, you can get a FREE month here using the code mellysewsxoxo when you sign up.
So here’s how you do it. Start by drawing in the half inch seam allowances on your bodice pattern in the shoulder and armscye area (blue lines below). Then measure the portion of the armscye you want the sleeve to cover – red lines below.
Finally, draw a half circle as shown above, with the red side equaling the measurement of the two red portions of the armscye.
Fabric is important for flutter sleeves; you want something with a lot of drape, like this silk/cotton blend I used. Other good options are things like rayon challis, cotton voile, and knit. What you don’t want is straight up quilting cotton, twill, or other fabrics with a lot of body – that may end up looking like wings.
I did a rolled hem on the sleeve, like this. To attach the sleeve, after I joined the front bodice to the back bodice at the shoulder seam, I pinned it into the armscye.
Then I rolled the sleeve up and pinned it to the bodice to keep it out of the way, then sewed the lining to the dress along the neckline and armscye.
When you turn it right side out, it looks like this, and you finish sewing the dress as per the Parlin instructions.
I also added pockets just like I did in this dress; I even used the exact same pattern pieces.
And that’s it! Happy sewing.Get access to my free pattern gallery - sign up for my newsletter!