Friday, April 12, 2013

Variations on a Tee # 7: Half Spiral Sleeve

Burda 01-2013-119 Thumbnail

I am way behind in blogging.  I actually made this top in the nick of time for Jungle January!

The variation on this tee is that I used the sleeve from Burda 01-2013-119.  A while back on Pinterest I saw these Handmade by Carolyn spiral leggings.  I was fascinated, and loved the way they draped.  I vowed to use the idea for a sleeve eventually.  Well, lo and behold January's Burda arrived with the pattern already drafted for me.  I would still like to do a full spiral eventually, but I am in love with this sleeve.

Three Quarter View

The Burda pattern is a raglan sleeve tee, but it was very easy to transfer this feature to my set-in sleeve block.  I traced the sleeve head onto tissue, and then set the tissue on the Burda tracing sheet.  I lined up the underarm corners of the sleeve patterns, ignored the raglan sleeve head, and traced down the body of the sleeve.  The raglan sleeve was a bit wider than my set-in sleeve, so I just sort of centered my sleeve over the raglan pattern and blended.  The photos of this process were useless, because of the maze of Burda tracing sheets.

The sleeve was long for me, so I folded out 1 1/2 inches of length.  It was still pretty long and the next time I made it I shortened it a little more.

It is very hard to get a picture of your own arm.   Hopefully the photos give you some sense of what this looks like!

Sleeve Progression

The sleeve is easy to construct.

First, sew the gathered seam, starting it with a little dart.   I serged the seam first, then used the sewing machine to put the dart in the top.

Stretch Clear Elastic While Applying

Next, I gathered the seam using clear elastic.  I threaded the elastic through my buttonhole foot and then pulled is as taut as I could while stitching it over the seam.

That's it.  From here on out you treat the sleeve as you would any other.

Interface Hem

This sweaterknit ($4.99/yd from Fabrics 4 Less in NYC last November) is lightweight and a little difficult to handle.  In order to turn up the hem with a minimum of drama, I fused a strip of knit interfacing to the hem allowance before turning it up.  Although the interfacing has some stretch, it doesn't stretch nearly as much as the fabric.  However, since the hem is the widest part of the top, the lack of stretch is not a problem.

Use Blind Hem Foot on Foldover Elastic

I finished the neckline with foldover elastic.  I sewed the first pass using a zigzag, then folded the elastic over to the front.

I used the blind hem foot as a stitch guide, clicking the needle to the right to stitch juuuuust along the edge of the FOE.  The result is awesome!

I'm still working on the proper proportion of FOE to neckline.  1:1 results in a saggy neckline.  I think here I did it 80% as long as the neckline.  However, with my lightweight fabric it took a bit more than I wanted and raised the neckline to slightly higher than I would prefer.

Front Unbelted

This sleeve is just awesome.  I've always liked the look of ruched sleeves, but they can just be too much fabric.  This gives the look without the bulk.  There is not a big bunch of gathering at the wrist to get dragged through dishwater, and it doesn't do weird things under a coat.  I've used it on another tee since and am sure it will show up for years to come!

Have I mentioned in the last five minutes how much I *love* having a TNT tee that will be the perfect fit and the perfect length right off the tissue?  Love.

All photos are here and the pattern review is here.


You know how hard it is to find time to sew after work and taking care of everything else?  So does The Onion.  The linked article is uncomfortably dead-on, in the most amusing kind of way (disclaimer:  I actually like my job).

I have been feeling really pressed for time lately, and I really don't know why.  I've been getting more responsibility at work, but it hasn't required me to work extra hours.  I do spend a lot more time *thinking* about work outside of work.  Nothing else has changed.  It's not clear why this change is causing me to feel the strain.  At any rate, it has been affecting my blogging and I apologize for being a bit scarce lately.  I'm not going to pressure myself to "produce"--this is my hobby!  So I will probably continue to be scarce for a while and hopefully will eventually get over whatever this is.  I've still been sewing a lot and have a large backlog of projects to share.


Sewfast said...

Lovely top and thank you for sharing that Onion piece. That is exactly how I have been feeling lately ( I like my job too) and reminded me that the fabric in my stash ain't gonna magically sew itself! Besides, I have to make room for the goodies coming from FabricMart! Have a great weekend!

Caffy Bundy said...

Great top!

Reallt nice finishing techniques, too!

Thank you!

Bundana x

kathy said...

The Onion puts a good spin on stuff.
They have a couple of pieces on the post office that crack me up.
Take a break if need be.
I enjoy your spin too.

Trumbelina said...

I for one am happy to see a new post from you whenever you have time to do one. This top is super hot on you—Rawrrrr!

Anonymous said...

Doıng the sleeves like that is such a clever idea! I love them. I do like a rouched sleeve as well :-)

I am so impressed with the way you managed to get the foldover elastic on so neatly. That is definitely a thing I struggle with so next time I will look at your pictures before I even start.
Yes, the Onion do get it right, don't they...

LinB said...

We go through seasons in our lives, just as does the earth. This is a fallow season for your blog, when things seem quiet and barren on the surface. Underneath, life is bubbling and boiling and will burst forth into glorious bloom -- but not until it's ready. Enjoy the fallow time.

T. Sedai said...

Love your top! The sleeves look awesome, I might have to try them sometime. And I totally hear you on doing the sewing but not the posting. Things always seem to get hectic in spring and slow down in the summer. Can't wait to see what else you have been working on though, when you get the time to post them!

Seraphinalina said...

Great top. The sleeves sound perfect. I'm with you on finding long sleeves annoying. That seems like a good mix of function and fashion.

That Onion piece is really thought provoking. My husband used to whine about not having time for anything and I would argue there was time, it just needed to be prioritized. You could see a movie or play guitar, but if you chose to play a video game than live with that decision. It's not easy to say no to people (or work) but you have to sometimes to do what you love.

McVal said...

I hope you start feeling better!

I really love that top. The sleeves are really cool!

And yes, you had asked about the back of the prom dress. It's sheer with a sheer layer of glittery fabric over the top of it. Hopefully by Monday, I'll have a photo of my daughter in it posted.

Reethi said...

Nice top!

The time thing - I've been feeling time-crunched for ever! But I think there's a fair amount of procrastination tied into my time-crunchedness. I think with sewing, or any other hobby you love - eventually, the urge to sew will overcome whatever stumbling blocks in the way!

Anonymous said...

I love how this looks on you! That sleeve treatment is very cute, I'm going to have to pin it so that I can remember to try it out sometime. :-)

catspec said...

This is just terrific - it looks GREAT on you, and is just your colors! The fit is superb and the sleeves are so cute! I have always wondered how you work sewing into such a busy life! :)

Victoria said...

Gorgeous top! That animal print is killer!!!!

Stitchinscience said...

Those sleeves are superb, and you have made them beautifully.

panavia999 said...

Really cute top and fabric. Nice job.

Angela said...

Lovely top. I enjoyed the Onion article, too.

Dilliander said...

That is an interesting sleeve! Thanks for the details and your top is lovely too.

panavia999 said...

The Onion article is so true. Alternatively, there is also the career advice from the Dos Equis Most Interesting Man in The World:

"Careers: find out what it is in life that you don't do well, then don't do that thing."

Clio said...

The optimist in me is thinking "but you can get a lot done in 20 minutes" and "I knit almost exclusively during my commute (and flights)". But yes, the Onion has a point about the reality of hobbies and how difficult it is to juggle. Sigh.

Great top!

Venus de Hilo said...

OMG I LOVE that top! What an interesting sleeve and the whole thing looks great.

Karin said...

I overlooked this top because I thought the raglan sleeves wouldn't suit me.

It looks great on you though! And everything you say about the sleeves giving you the look of ruching without all the aggravation is certainly appealing. I may just have to reconsider!

I appreciate your blog posts when they come, but I think sewing blogging is different to other kinds of blogging. It takes time to sew things; and then it takes time to blog them. Sometimes, a person just doesn't have enough free time.

Ripple Dandelion said...

Great top! The color, fit and sleeve detail all look wonderful on you.

Definitely agree with your reluctance to make sewing/blogging more of a duty. The existence of sewing blogs offers us so much opportunity to share with, be supported by and learn from one another, but when it gets to be an obligation--that takes the joy out of it. Thanks for all the blogging you've done over the years!

Adrienne said...

I love that sleeve - really cool idea. I agree, it does take extra time to post and write about the projects, but I always appreciate other people's pattern reviews. It really helps my sewing. p.s. I'm also glad to find other DC area sewing bloggers (I'm in Montgomery county)

Vicki said...

Cute top. Thanks for sharing how the sleeve was done.

Faye Lewis said...

That's a great detail, thanks for showing it. You look great in it too!

Kelly said...

Ugh, that Onion post hits really close to home for me right now too. Anyway, your top looks great and I love those sleeves. Good luck balancing everything, an, no matter what, try not to feel pressure with blogging and sewing!

Mrs. Micawber said...

Wow, what a cool construction on that sleeve. The top looks great too. :)

Hilarious Onion article.

It's hard to find creative energy when work thoughts crowd in like that. Hope things clear up a bit for you.

P.S. Re the perfect neck binding ratio - is there one? I have always tended to just do it by feel, stretching a bit more in some places and a bit less in others, depending on the amount of curvature and the fabric involved (and ripping and re-sewing on occasion). It would be wonderful to find a formula that worked every time....

Linda said...

Nice looking and fitting top. Good use of FOE.

Uta said...

I remember Carolyn's post, and I'm in love with ambitious architectural detailing on clothes! While I don't sew that way myself I think there's so much to be learned about fabric, construction, sewing technique by even just reading about that kind of sewing! Your top is cute as ever, and I love it with the skinny jeans and the bow belt! Post whenever you can, however often that is, it's your (and your readers') perfect frequency.

Harriet said...

Love the Onion thing! It's been my reality for quite some time now.

I don't know how you find the time to do all the things you do, not even counting the blogging. Whenever you find time to post, we will all be reading.

AllisonC said...

That's a cool pattern detail, I just assumed it was an extra long sleeve with gathers, spirals are much more interesting!

Ms. McCall said...

How wonderful to have a TNT t-shirt pattern, that you can give the odd twist to here and there.

You seem to do really well with FOE, I can never get it nice and neat, I'm going to try using the blind hem foot next time.

As for the pressure/blogging, as much as I love reading all the gory details of the process, you should allow yourself to blog as much or as little as gives you pleasure. As you say, it's a hobby, no point in making it feel like more work!

Mimi Jackson said...


Lisette M said...

Beautiful fitting t-shirt and I love the sleeve