In mid_March, Peggy Saggers posted an update broadcast with more ideas for adapting Tank tops. Now, of course, Peggy was using her pattern #500 but she said these changes could be made to any tank top. The point is to start with your fitted tank. Which I did, although mine is developed from Connie Crawfords 1201 basic bodices pattern. I’m quite happy with my sleeveless sloper for moderate-stretch knits; and ever since I saw Peggy’s broadcast had wanted to make the adorable Flutter Sleeve. I watched the broadcast live in March (1st Viewing). In prep for todays garment, I watched again about a week ago (2nd Viewing). Just to be sure I started right, I watched the video a 3rd time the night before. Let’s just say, either something went missing in the translation or I flat didn’t understand because this turned out to not be one of my favorites.
I developed the sleeve pattern as follows:
Green arrow is the measurement from the waist on my pattern to the shoulder on my pattern.
Orange arrow, the 9″ Peggy specified as the width of the sleeve
Purple arrow joins the 9″ to beginning point on the green arrow.
Peggy instructs adding a seam allowance along the 9″ shoulder edge. Why? Surely I’m not aligning the shoulders and then stitching through all 4 layers. Not only would that be bulky but then how do I finish the armscye. So it must be for joining two of the triangles together to form the sleeve. I have more than enough fabric to cut the sleeve as one piece. So I didn’t add the seam allowance but place the “shoulder” along a fold and cut; then repeat; creating my two flutter sleeves vs 4 half flutters that needed to be stitched together. Voila:
I didn’t like the idea of a sleeve with such a point. So I rounded it:
I really don’t like raw edges and so further smoothed the point at the serger when I did a 2-thread flat-edge along all edges.
I wanted to make changes to the armscye and neckline of my knit sloper. I didn’t want to permanently change my sloper, but I knew I would want to sew tank tops with a certain style over and over. So I copied my knit sloper; moved the vertical darts to side seams and center back (again); moved the armscye dart and added a center back seam. I’ve done this 3 times so far. I don’t even need to think about it. The process of cutting a copy and making these changes took 8 minutes — including the time needed to find where I put the original knit sloper. Then I measured down from the shoulder point 8″ and over 1″. Got out my curve and drew a new neckline. Finally I made tick marks 1″ deep all around the back and front armscyes and trimmed out both the neckline and new armscyes. I serged the shoulders together. Finished neckline with a 3/4″ binding. Finished armscyes with a 1″ strip applied as a flat binding. 30 minutes, tops. Like Peggy says, when the fitting is all done changes are fairly easy and sewing is quick.
I struggled, yep struggled with applying the sleeve to the bodice. Most patterns would provide a guide line. Peggy says just to align and stitch. The sides were too long. Instead of ending at my waist, I finally settled them just below my hip bone. I had to pin the flutter sleeves to the bodice using my dress form. I hate using pins but I was not otherwise getting the sleeves nicely positioned on the bodice and symmetrical. I’m still not sure they are symmetrically positioned but they are attached with a large zig zag. If I get up the courage I can remove them, yet again (4th time).
My serger had not liked this ITY after several adjustments I left the stitch length a 3 to create a nice edge. When I zig zagged to attach the sleeve, that nice edge is rumpled and ugly-looking.
There is also a lump on each side seam.
Peggy says to attach in the side seam. My side seam is 1/2″. I serge finish the edges and then baste the side seam at 1/2″ before checking fit. When I’m satisfied with fit, I stitch the side seams permanently. My way, 1/2″ seam allowances, gives me flexibility to adjust fit if the next knit doesn’t have as much stretch. But it also meant stitching over a much wider part of the Flutter Sleeves’ points; and thus the lump in the side seams.
…And for some reason my SAS decided to roll and stick to itself instead of my ITY fabric. I have not finished the hem because it too is lumpy.
Perhaps a time or two through the wash cycle will loosen the entire hem and I can try again. (I’m thinking that the increased humidity may have caused the SAS to soften.)
Will I attempt this flutter sleeve again? Doubtful. It does have a certain joie de vivre, but it’s very distinctive.
And while Peggys version was adorable mine is not. Mine is just, Okay. It maybe the choice of fabric, print or just that I didn’t get the instructions right.
I do like the neckline and armscye changes I made. Although you can’t see the armscyes, they are now typical Tank Top. Neckline could be a little lower, but is definitely modest while still allowing for some air flow.