Friday, March 26, 2010

Princess Puffed Sleeves

Few garment styles say "Little Girl" as well as 
Puffed Sleeves
 And being a sewist who loves to sew girly dresses,
I make a lot of puffed sleeves.

Today, I finished up this little princess costume 
for a local client. 
It is a birthday present for her granddaughter.
And I must say, she will be quite the princess
in this gown. 

The client brought me the pattern 
and all the fabric a few days ago 
and I really thought it would not be a 
big deal to make this dress.
I mean, I have made a gazillion princess
costumes and dresses over the years.
So it could not take me that much time, right?


But this pattern, Butterick BP186 dated 2005,
has to take the cake as the most poorly written
pattern I have ever used. 
The pieces fit together fine, but the instructions
were ATROCIOUS!!!!! 
Instructions did not match up with illustrations.
Entire portions of the instructions were missing.
And even the amount and type of interfacing for the hat
was nowhere to be found.

Fortunately, I was able to figure it out. 

But there were some things that I felt needed to be added to this
pattern to make it look better, be more functional
and feel more 
"Princessy"  to a young child playing dress-up.

So, back to those "Puffed Sleeves".
The silvery fabric for these sleeves is very thin.
My concern was that after a few wearings, 
they would just deflate. 

The answer?

Sleeve heads!

And since the pathetic pattern did not call for them, 
I fell back on my favorite method.

And since you are all so nice, I will share it with you.

I had already sewn the sleeves into the bodice when I decided to do this,
so I will show you how to make the sleeve heads and add them to the sleeve.

Grab you sleeve pattern piece and some fusible interfacing.

Fold the interfacing and lay the pattern piece on top.

Use the pattern markings that indicate where you gather 
to help you know where to lay the pattern on the fold.

Make sure you have transferred these markings to you
sleeves and bodice so that you can match up the edges of the sleeve heads 
and the sleeves.

Then cut along the pattern piece.

When you unpin the pattern piece and open up the folded piece of interfacing,
your piece should look like this.

Cut two of these, one for each sleeve.

Fold the piece back and press it so that the sides fuse together.

Your sleeve heads will look like this now.

Now run two rows of gathering stitches along the rounded
edges of the sleeve heads.

These rows of gathering stitches will follow the curve of the sleeve too.

Now, take your bodice where you have already sewn 
the sleeves into the shoulder opening.

I apologize for the how the silver fabric looks. 

It bleaches out with the flash.
Pin your sleeve heads right along the seam line of the sleeve.

Pull up the gathering stitches so that you can match up the
edges of the sleeve head with the transferred dots on your sleeve seam. 

Then stitch the sleeve head into the sleeve at the shoulder, 
using the same seam allowance as the sleeve.
Then zigzag and trim or serge the seam allowance 
to control the gathers and reduce bulk.

When you put the sleeve right side out,
you should see a nice, supported "PUFF"!

And this puff will not sag. 

So, sleeve heads are easy to add and really make a difference with puffed sleeves. 

Another change I made to the pattern was that 
I only sewed the sequins and lace on the outside
of the dress. 

The original pattern had the sequins actually sewed into 
the seam allowance. 

And that can make for an itchy dress!

So I sewed the sequins on AFTER the dress
was completed and there were a few layers
of lining and fabric between those sequins and the young princess.

Another change was the subtraction of the zipper
and the addition of Velcro dots. 
The client suggested this change so that 
her granddaughter could put the dress on herself 
instead of needing her Mommy to zip her up.

The plus signs on the back of the bodice
show where the Velcro is stitched down.

Even though this dress is for someone else, I still
had to have Ahnalin model it.

My little princess actually prefers pink so 
I had no problem convincing her that this dress was going to another girl.

And just because I had to show you all
how things REALLY look when I sew,
this was the kitchen table while I was sewing.


It was a MESS!

Underneath the princess gown items was a pair of jeans
that I am hemming for a client, the pink batiste
sleeves Ahnalin's Easter dress that I am still smocking,
and some muslins! 


My goal is to get some more Yaya's Apron work done
this weekend and then clean my sewing area. 

And this time I MEAN IT!!

(Anybody want a peanut?)

Sorry, random "Princess Bride" quotes pop out at the most inopportune times!

Oh, and I wanted to thank you all for your prayers and kind
words for my India.

She is still really ill and has not made it to school
all week.

On Wednesday, we made our trip to U.C. Davis medical Center
for a follow-up appt. with the doctor in the immunology clinic.

The last time we went, I was very frustrated because the doctor
did not take me seriously and her response to me was,
"India just may be a girl who gets sick a lot."

Was that the best she could do????

So, after I demanded some titer testing
and blood work for antibodies,
the doctor then ordered 2 blood tests.

Well, flash forward to our appt on Wednesday.

The results were interesting and now,
low and behold,
the doc is taking this seriously!!

You see, for some reason India
is missing quite a few antibodies that she is supposed to have.

So, more tests were ordered and we are praying we get to the
bottom of this immunological issue.

In the meantime, I am just still asking for healing
prayers for my sweet girl.

She has missed so much school and we are getting grief over that.

I am so grateful for your prayers.

Oh, and in other news,
over a week ago,
Ahnalin decided to take the "Radio Flyer" for
a drive down our very steep driveway.


She crashed and burned and
really banged up her feet and legs.

And I probably should have taken her to the doctor,
but to be honest, she was walking fine
and is a pretty tough little broad.

So we just cleaned her up and put on
bandages and thought that would be that.

However, now, a week later, they are still not
healing. They break open and bleed and look really nasty.

So, both of my girls are headed back to the doc office again in the morning.

I am tired of this!!!

(Not sure if I should mention this, but one of the times Ahnalin's feet broke open again the other day was because she was climbing up a rock wall on the side of the house and she scraped the scabs off. Gag!! She never quits!!!)

Happy Sewing my friends!


michelle said...

This is SO not fair. I want a princess dress! Little girls get all the fun.

Sew Pretty Dresses said...

Gorgeous work girl! And the sleeve caps are awesome. I had never heard of such a thing so thank you for sharing your technique!
Praying for your girls.

Laura L. said...

Wow, that is one beautiful princess dress. Someone's little princess is a lucky girl. Beautiful work!

I will continue to pray for India. Thanks for the update on what the doctors are finding. Very interesting. Keep us posted.

I'll say a prayer for you too, for an extra measure of strength. You are a wonderful momma!

Mrs. Bianca said...

Thank you for sharing the tip! My grandmother used to do the same thing for me and now I know the reason why!

Prayers for you and for your girls. I just love that little Ahnalin! She's quite an adventurer isn't she? :)

seamsgreat said...

Prayers for India and your entire family.

I love the princess dress.

Bear's Mommy said...

I pray that you get to the bottom of what is happening with India. I hope that the doctors can find out what is wrong so they can start to make her better.

I hate patterns. Almost every time I use one I look at the instructions with disbelief and say "really!?" I'm making Anya's Easter dress right now (with puffy sleeves!). There are so many things wrong with this pattern. If I hadn't had a patient mother that taught me the basics and the persistence to figure things out I would hate sewing because patters are so often horrid. Often times I ignore them and just use the pieces and do my own thing. Works much better that way.

Julia said...

I rarely even read pattern directions anymore. They make me mad. I love to add sleeve heads to puffed sleeves. Poor Ahnalin and poor you!!!!

Blessedmom's Simple Home said...

I made a dress similar to this (in pink) for my oldest daughter when she was about 3. Both girls wore it, alot. We still have it although they are 14 and 16. I guess we should've passed it on to someone, but somehow we just couldn't.

donna said...

Beautiful dress. As I have said before I so admire your sewing skills. Take care and God bless.

Kathleen Grace said...

I remember making princess dresses for my little girls (who are now 20 and 22), what a sweet work that was. Your dress is beautifully done! I hope your daughters are feeling better soon and that Ahnalin's feet heal up! Thanks for visiting:>)

Christine said...

You love princess bride too:-) My favorite movie and my families, lol. That is one beautiful princess dress, I have to say that I despise butterick for their "wonderful" instructions or lack there of. My dd would love it in that color. Still lots of prayers on the way for India! And my sewing room sounds just like yours.....

Beauty Like Henna said...

Anne of Green Gables would be proud :)

Bunny said...

Great tute! Beautiful princess dress for your little princess!

everythingsewing said...

How beautiful, love the special touches.

Rettabug said...

"still asking for healing
prayers for my sweet girl." Consider it done, Honey...knee-mails for BOTH of them!

GREAT Princess dress!! ♥ ♥ ♥

Cindy said...

Love the princess dress!!! Your work is always beautiful.

More prayers coming for both girls. said...

Sivje...nice tutorial! I'm tucking that one away! Cute dress, too. YOU are a persevering mama; cheers, prayers, and love to you. Kathi

Ruth said...

Continuing to pray for India--and Ahnalin. Post when you get updates.

I've been looking through your blog admiring all the beautiful sewing you've been doing. The princess dress is going to be a big hit with your customer!

Rebecca said...

Your post made me smile BIG! I've had lots of patterns that were poorly written over the years.

I like what you said on your profile about your hubbs...and I'm sooo happy you love Jesus.

I have your same Janome! It rocks!


Blessed Mom of Four, Now Five said...

Wow! What talent you have....I don't have the "gift."
Prayers for India and an answer soon.

Sweet Baby Jamie said...

You are so patient, and very good to your customers!! I'm not sure I could have handled that princess outfit, but you did a fabulous job, it is gorgeous!! I will pray for your India....and the rest of your family!

Jennifer said...

Sivje she looks amazing..that has to feel incredible!!

Amber said...

Hey there, I am SO glad you have this posted, I am making MY halloween costume this year (Alice, LOL) and needed this for my sleeves!

Question though, could you not just baste the interfacing to the sleeve and gather together? I'm all about less time hand gathering, LOL