Hello all, hope you are enjoying your summer and all the great things that go with it. For the month of June I've come up with a fun, flirty way to tweek your favorite T-shirt pattern for summer, a flutter sleeve! It's a quick pattern hack that shouldn't take you more than 1-1.5 hours to complete. You'll have plenty of time to whip up one of these tops and still go outside and enjoy the weather.
In this article I'll be showing you two methods to draft flutter sleeves. The first version will feature a gathered flutter sleeve paired with Renfrew's scooped neckline. The second version has a half circle flutter sleeve added to the V- neck Renfrew neckline. I'll also briefly discuss alternate ways to finish both of the necklines. When sewing your own version of the pattern hack, any light weight jersey with drape will work well. For example, both of my samples were sewn in rayon/spandex blends.
To recreate this pattern hack at home you will need:
- A copy of Sewaholic's Renfrew. Copy the front/back with the neckline of your choice. If you want to make the half circle flutter sleeve, also trace the short sleeve pattern piece.
- Your favorite type of tracing paper
- A clear ruler
- A french curve and a hip curve ruler
- Scotch tape
- Pen or pencil
- Optional, a gridded cutting mat is helpful but not necessary to complete the drafting.
Gathered Flutter Sleeve
In this section we will draft a new sleeve using the armhole measurements. The sleeve will be a long straight piece which will be gathered up to fit the armhole.
1. Using flexible tape measure measure the back and frontarmhole on the body patterns. Add these two numbers together and subtract the seam allowance to get the size of the armhole. In my sample this measurement is 18".
2. Take the armhole size and double it to give yourself a starting point for the new sleeve cap size. You can draft the sleeve with doubled measurement or add/subtract to that sum depending on how many gathers you like at the cap. This number will be the length of your new sleeve cap. In my sample I subtracted 5" from the doubled sleeve amount. My drafted sleeve length is 31".
3. Take a large piece of trace paper and draw a straight line the length of the new sleeve cap. (Again, in my example it's 31".)
4. Draw a notch at the center point of this line. This will be the sleeve head notch.
5. From the sleeve head notch measure out how wide you wish the sleeve to be. On my sample this is 5.5"
6. Now go to the ends of the line and measure how wide you want the sleeve to be at the underarm. Personally I think it looks nicer if the sleeve is shorter in this area. I've made my sleeve 2.5" here.
7. Now connect the end points and the center points into a gentle curve. A hip ruler is the easiest way to do this. However if you don't own one you can draw the curve free hand or use a french curve.
8. Add a grainline to the pattern, cut it out and you are done!
Additional drafting notes
The body of my sample is scooped neckline version of the Renfrew with 2 minor changes.
- 2" of length was added to the body of the pattern. I left off the hem band and finished the shirt by making a 1.25 turned hem.
- Instead of finishing the neckline with a band, I used a wrapped knit binding. The same neckband pattern piece can be used, just attach one side, fold it over and top-stitch. The Colette blog has a good tutorial on this if you need one.
Half Circle Flutter Sleeves
In this section we slash and spread the renfrew sleeve pattern to create a sleeve that is full at the hem but has no gathers at the cap.
1. Take a traced copy of the Renfrew short sleeve and shorten it by .75".
2. Trace a vertical line down from the sleeve head notch to bisect the pattern. Cut the pattern in half along this line.
3. Pick one of the halves to slash and spread. (It doesn't matter which since they will be identical in size.) Now draw 3 vertical lines 1.5" apart on the sleeve half.
4. From the hem of the sleeve, cut each line up almost to the cap. Leave a small "paper hinge" for spreading the pattern.
5. Next we are going to spread the pattern on top of some folded trace paper to make the new sleeve pattern. Cut out a piece of trace that more than double the sleeve width. Fold it in half vertically.
6. Spreading the sleeve will increase the shoulder seam length slightly so you'll want to let the sleeve head slightly overhang the edge of the page. Measure over .75" from the center of the sleeve and draw a new notch. This will now be the sleeve head notch. Place this notch on the folded edge of the trace paper and tape.
7. Now slowly spread out the cut sections and tape them down when they are as flared as you'd like them. On my sample I spread the center section .5". All other sections were spread 1.25".
8. Go back in and connect the spread sections to create a new hemline.
9. If the top edge of the sleeve looks bumpy go in and redraw that area so that it is smooth.
10. Keeping the paper folded, place a few pins in the sleeve to secure it. Cut out the sleeve and unfold it. Draw in a grainline parallel to fold in the trace paper and you're done.
Additional drafting notes
- For this sample I used the V-neck renfrew pattern and finished the neckline with a facing. The facings were drafted using the same method shown in other months. I then sew the facing on, top-stitch the edge of the neckline and then cut away any excess facing fabric on the wrong side.
- I turned my renfrew top into a dress by cutting the bodice pieces straight across near where the side seam curves in for the waist. I then attached the skirt from the Kitschy Coo "Lady Skater" pattern to the bodice. The Lady Skater skirt is close to a half circle skirt which can be easily drafted yourself. By Hand London's blog has an excellent post on the math for this.
- When sewing the gathered flutter sleeve version run two lines of basting along the long edge. Match the sleeve head notch to the shoulder seam and then gather up the sleeve to fit the armhole. Sew into place.
- On both versions the sleeve edges where left raw since they will not ravel. A small turned sew hem can be added if you prefer a finished edge.
- Other than the alternate neckline finishes previously discussed, the samples were sewn using the Renfrew construction directions.
My sample also has the following fitting adjustments
- 1/2" forward shoulder adjustment made to both the shoulder seam and the sleeve cap.
- The dress version has been taken in at the side seams about 1/2".