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Tips & Techniques > Bias cuffs to replace elastic

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Posted by: Margaret
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About Margaret starstarstarstar
BC Canada
Member since: 11/4/02
Reviews: 311 (tips: 3)
Skill level:Intermediate
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Posted on: 11/23/02 1:02 AM
Review Rating: Helpful by 3 people   Very Helpful by 3 people   
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I got this idea from the Folkwear Gibson Girl Blouse. It will work
when your pattern has a full sleeve gathered into elastic at the hem,
and (IMHO) will be more comfortable than the elastic although it
will necessarily be looser-fitting. The short explanation is that
you make a bias strip and gather the sleeve into it like you would
gather a skirt into a waistband, and you finish it in much the same
way, but a more detailed description follows.

The bottom edge of the sleeve should still be gathered, so do make the
gathering stitches. Then cut a bias strip at least long enough so
that you will be able to get your hand through it plus a little extra
length for a seam allowance. I will explain the width too, but I
think it will make more sense after I say what's going to be done with
the bias strip.

Sew the bias into a circle by sewing the short ends right sides
together; this will be the "cuff." Now gather the sleeve to fit the
cuff and sew it on. (This could be a little tricky as I think most
sewing machines will not have a free arm small enough that you can
get the cuff around it--don't try to force it. Instead, go slowly and
always make sure you are not sewing through the other side of the
sleeve.) Trim the seam allowance and press the bias down, then turn
the rest of it under, press under the remaining raw edge, and hand-sew
it over the seam allowance on the inside.

Now I will explain how wide to make the bias strip (I hope you have
read the whole tip before cutting it!) Decide on the finished width
you want, add a seam allowance, and multiply by 2. The Folkwear cuff
pattern is 2" wide with 1/4" seam allowances, so it will make about a
3/4" wide cuff. I have also made a 1/4" wide cuff of this type using
store-bought 1/2" bias tape (which has a scant 1/4" pressed under on
each side, and I used that as the seam allowance). I think anything
very wide might be risky as the bias may eventually distort.

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moushka said... (11/3/09 6:22 PM) Reply
This is a great tip as I hate elastic sleeves on anyone over the age of six. Thank you.
comocosews said... (11/23/02 11:23 PM) Reply
I really like this idea. I'm going to try it. thanks.
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