The Sofia Bell sleeve

September 01, 2020

Welcome back to the Sofia sew-along! In this tutorial, I'll walk you through the steps of constructing bell sleeve version. This sleeve is a flowy bias-cut style that's paired with a shoulder strap, making it perfect if you're looking for a style that gives coverage for bra-straps.

I mentioned in an earlier post in this series, that you could easily pair one of the other sleeve styles in the pattern with this shoulder strap if you wanted to give more bra-coverage to one of those sleeve styles. If that's your plan, then follow along with the shoulder strap steps, and the stay tuned at the end of this post for diagrams that will assist you in making that pattern construction changes to the sleeve.

Shoulder Strap

  • Apply interfacing to the wrong side of the Shoulder strap pieces.
    These pieces will be referred to as the "fused" pieces.
  • This image shows one set of steps. You will need to have two strap pieces with interfacing, and two without interfacing.

Interfacing applied to shoulder strap pieces

  • Trim off 1/8" from the shorter curved edge of the non-interfaced strap pieces.

Edge being trimmed off of shouler strap piece

  • Place the fused and non-fused strap pieces right sides together. Align and pin the pieces together along the longer curved edge.

  • Sew along this edge at 1/4" (6 mm) seam allowance.

  • Open up the shoulder strap component and press press the seam, turning the allowance towards the non-fused side of the component.

  • Understitch along the strap seam. Sew alongside the seam, stitching onto the non-fused side of the strap component, about 1/8" (3 mm) away from the seam.

  • Turn the strap pieces to face wrong sides together. Press along the finished edge of the component. Match the remaining un-sewn edges and pin the edges together.

  • Sew along the short curve edge of the strap component at a 1/4 (6 mm) seam allowance.

  • Finish the short edges of the strap with a serge or zig-zag stitch.

Attach the Strap to the Bodice

  • Attach the short ends of the strap to the bodice. With the wrong side of the bodice and the non-fused side of the strap facing up. position the straps so that the finished seam is facing the center of the bodice.

  • Align the short edge of the strap to the zig-zag/serged edge of the bodice's upper folded edge.
  • Pin the strap to the bodice. Do not stretch the bodice shirring out as you pin the pieces together.

  • Turn the Bodice and straps to face right side up. Transfer the pins to the right side of the bodice, making sure that the strap remains pinned in position.

  • Sew the straps to the bodice. Use a straight stitch set to a regular stitch length (2.5). Sewing on the right side of the bodice, follow the first two rows of shirring stitching near the upper edge of the bodice. Begin the stitch in line with the finished edge of the strap, and end at the armhole edge.

Sew the Bell Sleeve:

  • Sew two rows of gather stitching along the cap edge of the bell sleeve. Stitch in between the two notches closest to the center of the sleeve.
  • To sew the gather stitch, use a straight stitch set to a length of 4. The seam allowance for the first row will be 3/8" (1 1m), and the second row will be sewn at 5/8" (1.6 cm). Do not backstitch at the beginning and end of the stitches. Instead, leave a few inches of thread tails.

  • Fold the sleeve in half with the right side facing. Align the side edges and sew at 1/2" (1.3 cm) seam allowance. Finish the seam with a serge or zig-zag stitch. Press the Seam allowance over to one side of the seam.
      • Turn and press the hem edge of the sleeve towards the wrong side by 1/4" (6 mm).

        • Edgestitch the hem of the sleeve, sewing at a scant 1/4" (6 mm) seam allowance. Press the finished hem.

         

        Attaching the Sleeve to the Bodice:

        • Align and pin the bell sleeve right sides together with the bodice and the shoulder strap. Connect the following point:

        - Match the sleeve seam to the bodice's side seam.

        Match the notch along the sleeve's armhole edge to the upper ruffled edge of the bodice.

        Match the sleeve's gather stitch to the notches on the shoulder strap, nearest the center of the strap.

        • Once the Sleeve is pinned in along the armhole, you will notice excess fabric along the upper portion of the sleeve. This excess length is to be taken in by the gather stitch.

        • Draw the gather stitch threads in, pulling only the threads on the wrong side of the sleeve. Stop pulling the gather threads once the length of the sleeve cap equals the length of the shoulder strap.

        • "Lock" the gather stitch threads by wrapping them in a figure 8 around the pins located at the notches at both sides of the sleeve, where the gather stitching ends.

        • Evenly distribute the gathers along the sleeve cap.

        Sew the Sleeve into the armhole at 1/2" (1.3 cm) seam allowance. Work with the sleeve uppermost, as this will allow you to have more control on the gathers, allowing you to adjust them if necessary as you sew.

        • Finish the armhole edge with a serge or zig-zag stitch.

        • On the right side of the sleeve, remove the visible tow of gather stitching from the sleeve cap. 

        (The peplum top style is shown in this image)

        If you're making the crop top or hem style, then this marks the end of your Sofia sewing journey. Congratulations, and I hope you love your new top.

        If you're making the dress, check out this post where we make the skirt and finish the dress! If you're adding side seam pockets to the skirt, you can get a head start by heading over here.

        Sewing the shoulder strap with other sleeve options:

        Now, as promised, I wanted to show you how to use the Bishop, Cap or elbow sleeve with the shoulder strap.

        If you hope over to this post, you'll learn how to sew these sleeve styles. Once constructed, you will need to add an additional step to the sleeve.

        • Sew two rows of gather stitching along the cap edge, in between the two notches.
        • To sew the gather stitch, use a straight stitch set to a length of 4. The seam allowance for the first row will be 3/8" (1 1m), and the second row will be sewn at 5/8" (1.6 cm). Do not backstitch at the beginning and end of the stitches. Instead, leave a few inches of thread tails.

        Once the shoulder strap is attached to the bodice, it's time to attach the sleeve.

        • With the bodice/shoulder strap and the sleeve facing right sides together, align the sleeve's underarm seam to the bodice side seam.
        • Connect the sleeve notches to the upper folded bodice edge.

        • Pin the sleeve into the armhole, draw in the gather threads so that the sleeve cap length matches the length of the shoulder strap. Distribute the gathers along the cap and sew the sleeve in at 1/2" (1.3 cm) seam allowance.
        • Finish the sleeve seam with a serge or zig-zag stitch.

        For further details on setting in the sleeve, review the instructions for sewing the bell sleeve, as the method is the same for both sleeve styles. 

         





        Leave a comment


        Also in The Victory Patterns Blog

        How to make a yarn pom pom
        How to make a yarn pom pom

        November 26, 2020 8 Comments

        Up until recently, I had never made a pom-pom in my life. I consider myself a super crafty person, and since these little guys are sort of like craft 101, I figured it was high time I get on it. I'm happy to say, they're really easy, fun and quick to make. Now that I feel like I've mastered this little craft, I wanted to share this tutorial with you, which comes just in time for the release of our latest pattern the Atlas Tuque. 

        View full article →

        Introducing the Atlas Tuque Pattern
        Introducing the Atlas Tuque Pattern

        November 26, 2020 1 Comment

        Last year we released the Atlas mitten pattern and have had lots of requests to make a winter hat pattern to go with it, so I'm happy to announce that our latest accessory pattern - The Atlas Tuque - is here. What's a Tuque, you ask? You may call it a beanie, winter hat, block heater, but here in Canada, this is what we call it.

        View full article →

        Finishing the Sofia Dress
        Finishing the Sofia Dress

        September 03, 2020

        Welcome back to the Sofia sew-along. In this post we'll be sewing the skirt and attaching it to the bodice. This is the final post in the series, marking the end of the project!

        View full article →