Sunday, April 17, 2016

Frill sleeve

It's been a long time since I've posted on this blog and I had totally forgotten that I had this post started and abandoned in draft form.  However this year I have had so many lovely clothes come in to be altered or copied with so many great ideas that I really want to start documenting them again.   So let's start with this one:

I made this dress for a client quite a few years ago.  The dress itself was quite simple, made out of black jersey, but what made it stand out was that frill detail on the shoulder.

It is quite easy to do.  The dress needs a single shoulder strap and this needs to be reasonably wide (from memory this one was 5cms) so you have something to sew the frill on to.

The frill itself is just a length of jersey double the width of the finished frill plus seam allowances.  So if you want a finished frill about 8cms wide you need to cut your fabric 8cms x2 plus 2 seam allowances of 1 cm - so your final width is 18cms.  Cut the length as long as you possibly can.  If necessary sew smaller lengths together to make one long length. Or use a couple of lengths and just fold the raw ends under the frill when you attach it to the strap. Fold your fabric in half and sew it together with two lines of gathering stitches along the cut edges.  Then gather your frill as much as you think it needs - there is no real precision here, it is just a matter of getting it to look as frilly as you want.

When you have it as gathered as you want, lay it backwards and forwards on your dress strap so that each frill edge covers the raw edge below it. Tuck the raw edge at the beginning underneath your first frill.  It will disappear in the effect.  From memory I basted it first and then flipped up each layer and sewed the cut edge to hold it in place.  When the top edge flipped back down it hid my stitching.  However, I have seen this done on other dresses where they just hand sewed the frill into position.

At the shoulder, play with the frill so it goes round and round and forms a flower shape - again you create this organically by playing with the frill rather than following a precise formula.

You will probably find that you need a separate length of frill to do the back section of the strap and it is a good idea to add that before you finish your flower at the shoulder as you can then tuck the raw end under the flower, or even add it to the outside of the flower to make it bigger.  Once again, hide the last little bit of raw end under the rest of the flower.

It is really quite an effective trim that makes a simple dress look a bit different.

Sunday, September 5, 2010


This is a great idea when you want a strap to be thin, but not as thin as spaghetti straps, and to stand out.
It is made of three bias tubes, made as you would for spaghetti straps, that are then tightly plaited together

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


There seems to be tradition that the first blog post is a mission statement or statement of intent for the blog to follow - so who am I to buck tradition, particularly when it is a good one.  And the Selfish Seamstress (whose blog I read assiduously) has taught me that blogs can be written for selfish reasons.  So this blog is really for me.  If it helps or inspires others then that is a bonus but my aim is to record sewn items that inspire me or techniques that I think are worth remembering and that I will forget if I do not record them somewhere - with lots of photos for reference.

So this is my first blog post of something I want to record.

The sleeves on this dress hide a secret.  They look like cute short slightly puffed sleeves accented with rows of beading.

However, this picture shows that the rows actually form a V pattern and that is because they have a dart at the centre of the sleeve head.

The dart is about 7cms long -just long enough to take out any excess easing that there might be in the sleeve head, a great solution for any commercial pattern that has that problem.  But it is also a good solution to the problem of adding width to a pattern for someone with heavy arms without adding excess length and therefore ease in  the sleevehead.
The usual solution to this problem is to split the pattern lenthways and crossways and add the extra in the middle but the problem is that this flattens the sleevehead and if you are adding a lot of width, the sleevehead can be flattened too much.
With a dart, however, you can just slit the pattern through the middle, add as much as you want in the centre and then take the excess in the sleevehead out with a short dart - no problems with a flat sleevehead causing the sleeves to pull up and no difficult easing either.