Simplicity 2406 tutorial: Sleeves, part 2

Part 1 down, on to part 2.  This next bit is possibly the most confusing in terms of instructions, but it’s actually quite straightforward.  Open out the seam you’ve just sewn, and flip the whole thing over so the open seam is face down:

You’re going to sew that long side along the bottom of the sleeve, but you need to get the rest of the sleeve out of the way.  So starting at the neckline seam, roll the sleeve down past the cut-out part, as far as you can go:

Holding that rolled part in place, fold the long edge up and over the roll to meet the corresponding long edge on the other side.  Pin in place:

See?  That rolled section is hidden inside, out of the way of the seam line.  Sew the whole seam.

Next, turn it right way out (a little like we did in one of the steps in part 1).  Get hold of the rolled up part in the middle and pull it through one of the ends:

 …til you get something like this:

Nearly there!  Just one more seam to sew, to turn it into the 3D sleeve.  Open it out at either end of the seam you’ve just sewn:

 Pin and sew the seam, and you’re done:

Done!  All beautifully finished – the only remaining raw edge will be sewn on to the bodice (see pattern instructions).

Hope the photos were helpful – let me know if anything wasn’t clear, or needs more explanation.  Or even just if it helped you with the 2406 (it’s always nice to hear nice things).  Happy sewing 🙂

Simplicity 2406 tutorial: Sleeves, part 1

Have I ever mentioned how much I like Simplicity 2406?

1. Fairground Dress / 2. ‘Check and Check again’ top / 3. ‘Experiments with colour’ top

In fact, I’ve gone on about it so much that it’s attracted several comments along the lines of ‘how on earth do you do the sleeves?!’  Yes, the instructions aren’t the most helpful, and you need a good dose of sewing intuition to figure it out.  I’ve wittered on in replies, not particularly helpfully, as it’s one of those things that’s much easier to see… so, here it is, step by step. To stop this post getting ridiculously long, I’ve assumed some sewing knowledge on the part of the reader – but let me know if I’ve glossed over anything important!

First, sew each front sleeve piece to its corresponding back sleeve piece at the shoulder seam (the shortest seam).  My pieces are very slightly different as I’ve played around ith the proportions a little, but it should look something like this:

You’ll need to do this four times – two outer sleeves and two for lining.  Remember which bit is which: they can all start looking the same!  The outer sleeve and lining should be mirror images, so you can lay the right sides together to sew the next seams.

So here are the outer sleeve and lining sleeve pieces, right sides together (the shoulder seam’s been pressed open).  I’ve sewn the next two seams in navy thread – there’s one at the top, which will form part of the neckline, and then one seam running right round the ‘cut-out’ shape in the middle (starting near the bottom, then up and pivoting at the shoulder seam, and back down the other side).

Trim the seams and clip them so that the curve will be smooth later on.  Then turn the whole thing the right way out – you need to pull one half through the little gap where that pressed open shoulder seam is (in between the neckline seam and the cut-out seam).  Does that make sense?  Here it is after pressing:

Right, now we’re going to close up the lower bit of the cut-out shape.  Open it up:

…and lay it flat.  Pin those two edges together, matching up that seam in the middle (the bottom of the cut-out seam).  You’re essentially sewing the front pieces to the back pieces for both the top sleeve and the lining sleeve, in one go.

Press the seam open, and it looks like this:

Looking good! On to Part 2 for the second half…

Stick a bow on it

I’m not a really girly girl, but…


…I can’t resist a good bow.

Source: via Amy on Pinterest


So, did you see this awesome pic on So Zo’s wedding dress inspiration post?


I think my jaw physically dropped.  But gorgeously beautiful as it is, I can’t conjure up any possible place/time that I’d wear something like it.  I’d be forever hitching it up at the top, and obsessively debating whether it made my shoulders look too broad.

Fortunately, there was another way to get my bow fix:

Here’s Simplicity 2406 made up according to the pattern in red check crepe, with a little asymmetry thrown in… then a couple of standard gathered bows hand-stitched around the ‘strappy bits’ of the sleeve.

Made it about 10 days ago… already worn it 4 times.  And right now waiting for it to dry so I can wear it again.

A dowager’s hump??!!

Big thanks to ReadyThreadSew, Claire and Louise for your advice on my massive shoulders problem.  Now I have another one – I googled “high round back sewing adjustments” and the article I hit was The Dowager’s Hump by Threads magazine. Dowager’s hump?  Now there’s a way to make a girl feel frumpy and insecure.  I’m checking the photos again…

…it’s not that bad, is it?  Honestly? I mean, my head’s a bit tilted forward, but that can’t be a hump…  man, now I need to sign up to Pilates or something for some posture reassurance.  Thanks a lot Threads. Really.

Let’s move on.  Button-holes!

First ever button-holes: a learning curve

In a not-quite-a-resolution sewing post, I said I’d face my fear of button-holes this year… secretly thinking, maybe June time.  And then the Sew Weekly sticks in ‘buttons’ as the theme for the second week of January!  I’d already signed up as a contributor for 2012, and though I won’t manage a project every single week, I really wanted to get started.

Not my brightest idea…as I wrote in my Sew Weekly post, the plan seemed loopier by the minute.  But I beat those buttons into submission in the end:

One challenge down, now must go sort out my dowager’s hump Truffle muslin for the next one.  Have a good weekend everyone!

Shirt restyle

Do you remember I was a bit unsure about this fabric combination?

The plaid fabric is a man’s Gap shirt from the charity shop, which turned into this: (Claire, you were right, the shiny blue stuff was for the pockets!)

I kept the buttoned placket, cut the front bodice as one piece, and re-attached the collar a la So Zo.   I used one of my all-time favourite patterns, Simplicity 2406, which was also responsible for these two:

I’ve had a couple of attempts now at refashioning men’s shirts, and they’ve generally gone hideously wrong – especially when I’ve tried to turn them into a fitted women’s shirt.  I was inspired by Zoe’s version to have another try, going for a loose style and avoiding extra darts and seams.  Key lesson learned: it’s not necessarily helpful to rip all the original seams to get separate fabric pieces.  When I cut the bodice, it took in an inch or two of the sleeve section – fabric I’d have lost by removing the sleeves first.

Having mentioned Zoe, it’s a good a time as any for this:

I, Amy, of Diana & Me, sign up as a particpant of Self Stitched September’11.  I endeavour to wear at least one item of self-stitched or refashioned clothing each day for the duration of September 2011.

This is the same thing I pledged for Me Made June’11… but I’m treating that as a practice run (having skipped a few days, and worn Pendrell tops more or less continously for the month).  With a few more projects completed since then, and lots more under construction, I’m looking forward to September as a much more sartorially interesting month.  Anybody else joining in?

PS – though Pendrell tops will not be taking up such a high proportion of SSS’11, I love the way Debi’s wearing hers here.  And her skirt pattern is up for a giveaway, finishing at midnight tonight!

Simplicity 2406 Take 2

I’d popped into a fabric shop to buy some navy voile-type stuff and lining for a potential project, and on the way out I saw a bundle of this fabric in the bargain bin… Not something I’d usually be drawn to, but I couldn’t quite walk off and leave it.  Queuing up at the till for the second time, the bloke said “Looks like you’ll be busy” – but for a while, I’ve had no idea what to do with it.  (And I haven’t started the navy project either.  Bad Amy).  The fabric’s actually quite gorgeous – heavy polyester, but with a lovely satiny finish, and silvery threads worked through the flowers so it shimmers. 

Cue Simplicity 2406: after the success of my fairground dress, I fancied trying it again with a few tweaks (slightly lower neckline, slightly higher hemline, different sleeve option).  Round 2 has taught me this:

  • The instructions are a nightmare.  I assumed I just hadn’t read them properly the first time round, so I studied them METICULOUSLY.  After ripping out the pocket seams for the 3rd time, I finally gave up and found a good tutorial here instead.
  • I really don’t like using black thread.  It just looks messy, especially if there’s any zigzag stitch involved, and if you go wrong it looks like squished up spiders.  Nice.
  • The different sleeve options are great!  Two down, one to go…

I finished the hem at about 7pm last night, before wearing it out to dinner at 7.30.  Hooray!


PS – do you like the shoes?

Cynthia Rowley Dress Simplicity 2406

(Hmm, slightly over-modelled pose, but it was better than all the other shots, believe me.)

I can’t remember whether I saw the fabric or the pattern for this dress first, but they’re both so fun it seemed obvious to match them up.  I love the unusual sleeve design.  The instructions didn’t make much sense, but it was fairly easy to figure them out as I went along (on the first sleeve anyway – got overconfident on the other one and mucked it up).  The fabric looks vaguely floral from a distance, but up close it’s actually a little fairground design:

It’s 100% cotton and creases like crazy, but I think it’s definitely worth getting the iron out for.

Finally, here’s the dress on Diana, but sadly you need arms to really work this style.  And a belt.