Monday, July 11, 2011

Spiral Sleeve Disaster Averted

For my IRCC project, I wanted a set of sleeves slashed and trimmed in a spiral.  Originally I had intended to make the woolen pinked Clarice sleeves reverse to this planned spiral slashed sleeve.  But now I am re-considering that concept.  Here is a woodcut showing a spiral sleeve:
I re-traced the Clarice sleeve pattern onto blank paper and then drew a series of parallel lines 4" from each other starting at the wrists.  Then I sketched in the 5/8" side seam allowance and drew sloped lines from one parallel line to the line two beneath it through where the parallel lines and seam allowance lines intersected.  I went back and forth on trim ideas and finally settled on cutting strips of the pin-tucked burgundy taffeta and pressing under the raw edges - basting that to the sleeve and basting down.  I cut the sleeve out of the plain burgundy taffeta, placed one over the pattern showing the trim layout, placed the trim and hand basted.  Then I placed the sleeve without trim on the bottom, sleeve with trim on top and eyeballed a slashing pattern similar to the sleeve of the Neoplitan woman above cut.
Since the June Taylor fray block worked so well on the woolen Clarice sleeves, I used it without doing a test on the taffeta - BIG MISTAKE!  The taffeta wicked up the liquid and it looked like puddles around each slash.  That looks odd I thought, but surely it will dry unnoticeable. But just in case, I stopped after doing one row of slashes closest to the shoulder.  Well it was a DISASTER - it dried just as it looked wet - like puddles around each slash.

That row of slashes had to go but I didn't want to have to cut a new sleeve.  Inspiration struck.  I took out the basting stitches for the trim below the fray guard disaster and added another piece of fabric using two rows of straight stitching that will be hidden by the trim.  Then I re-cut the slashes through the damaged part and into the patched piece and cut the shape of the sleeve top before cutting away the damaged section with pinking shears.  In this photo, I slid pattern paper between the damaged and patched section to show the layers before I cut the sleeve top shape.
The trim is shown folded back and the patch stitching lines are now safely hidden under the trim.  First disaster averted!  Now how was I going to seal the edges of the cuts?  I remembered that synthetic fabrics melt when exposed to heat - ruined a bodice back lining with an iron that was too hot.  This time I tried the technique on a scrap of fabric before trying it on the sleeve.  I folded the cut edges together and quickly passed them by the side of a candle flame.  It worked wonderfully - disaster #2 also averted.
After sealing the raw edges of each slash with the candle flame, I placed the white cotton peek-through fabric under the sleeve and machine basted the pin-tucked bands through all layers. I had picked up a braid with gold edges and a burgundy center for next to nothing at Ledford Fabrics and decided to stitch that down on either side of the pin-tucked strips.  I also decided that if the strips did not quite meet properly at the seam this defect could be lessened by applying the braid in the round after the sleeve seam was stitched.  It was a good idea that was hard to execute.  Because of the spiral, I had to start at the sleeve head on one sleeve and sew towards the wrist on one sleeve and stitch in the opposite direction on the other sleeve.  Thank goodness the free arm on my machine is not any larger.  As it is, I had to perform sewing machine gymnastics to get the braid on.  For the sleeve where I started at the wrist I had to slide the entire sleeve onto the free arm before starting and unwind it off of the free arm as I stitched the trim down.  I'm glad applying the braid is done!

  Sleeves one with the braid attached and the other before applying the braid.

To prepare my sleeves for lining, I run a row of basting stitches at the wrist stitching line and press under at the stitching.  When I sew the side seam I put basting stitches in the 4" at the wrist opening and press the whole seam open.  I fold the intersecting press marks together at both corners of each sleeve opening and miter that corner.  The lining is treated in the same way.  Then, I turn the lining inside out, put right sides together with the sleeve and stitch together at the armhole seam, grade the seam with pinking shears, turn the lining into the sleeve, press well,  and hand stitch the lining to the sleeve at the wrist edge and opening.  I prefer hand sewing on straight the straight edges of the wrist rather than at the curved shoulder of the sleeve.

1 comment: