Tuesday, January 15, 2019

The Box Top pattern hacks. Adding a cuff sleeve.

The Box Top was my very first sewing pattern release, and it's still my most popular pattern.
This simple to make and easy to wear top is the perfect pattern for beginners, if you've sewn a few easy things like a tote bag, or a cushion cover, and you're feeling ready to move on to your first garment, then this is the perfect place to start!
If you have the pattern already, then you might have already tried one of the pattern hacks to make a dress or peplum top, this is an extra that's super easy to do. I promise!
If you'd like to buy a pattern, you can find one at one of my stockists - there's a full list to the left of this post - or buy one online here. Thank you!
I'll cover some of the other techniques like applying bias to the neckline in another post, but here I'll cover adding a cuff to the sleeve to give you a great tee shape. 
Feel ready?
Let's go!

First things first!
You'll need to cut 2 strips of fabric to make your cuffs as follows -
Size xs/s - 15cm x 51cm
Size s/m - 15cm x 49cm
Size l/xl - 15cm x 48cm

We're going to change the order of construction (sewing) from the pattern instructions, so once you have your pattern and fabric cut, and your markings transferred, we'll start sewing here...

1. Join your top at the shoulder seams, finish those seams together (both seam allowances together) either with an overlocker, or with a small zigzag stitch, and press towards the back of your top.

2. Open out your top so that it's flat on a hard surface. Now take one cuff strip and pin (right sides together!) the to edge of your sleeve turnback allowance. Repeat for the other sleeve.

3. Stitch the cuffs to the top with a 5/8th inch (1.5cm) seam allowance. This means that your line of stitching will line up with the side edges of your top.

4. Now press your seam allowance towards the cuff. You don't need to finish this seam because it will be enclosed in the finished cuff.

5. Pin your top front to the top back (right sides together!) up along each side seam and along each cuff sleeve. (apologies for the upside down photo, but you get the idea!)

6. Now in one line of continuous stitching, sew the side seam and the sleeve seam with a 5/8 inch (1.5cm) seam allowance, pivoting where the marking is....important note! the marking IS NOT on the 5/8 inch (1.5cm) allowance, it is placed to mark the point at which you'll pivot. To pivot is to leave the needle in the fabric, lift the sewing machine foot, and turn your fabric around before lowering the machine foot and continuing your sewing. In this case, you will turn your work at a right angle.

7. Now carefully clip into the corner of the seam allowance with your scissors. This allows some movement in the fabric so it will sit flat when turned right side out.

8. Now you can finish both edges of this seam allowance, sewing right across the gap created by that clipped corner, either with an overlocker, or with a small zigzag stitch.

9. Take a breather, we're almost there! Cup of tea? Yes, thanks!
10. Press this side and sleeve seam allowance to back of your top, and then turn in about 0.5cm of the edge of the sleeve and press.

11. Turn the cuff sleeve in so that it just overlaps the seam where you joined the cuff to the top, and press. You might like to put a few pins in to hold the cuff in place, but if you do this, do it from the right side of the top....the reason will be clear in the next step!

12. Turn your top to the right side out. We're going to sew that cuff in place by stitching in the ditch! This means sewing along the line of the seam that joins the cuff to the top, catching the cuff fabric in that stitching on the inside. It's a little fiddly, but go slowly, and use your fingers to feel for the fabric on the inside to make sure you're sewing through all layers. It's a really neat and fuss free finish!

13. Bravo! You've just added a cuff sleeve to your Box Top!
You can now pick up the pattern instructions at the bias neckline, and you'll have a finished top in no time at all.
Make another cuppa, and admire your work!

Need a pattern to get started? You can buy one here.


Unknown said...

Thank you! Your Box Top pattern was the very first pattern I bought, and it is still my favourite. Have always thought 'I'd love to add a sleeve' but had no idea where to start, so this tutorial is very much appreciated.

concretegirl said...

I think you are inspiring me to brush the dust off the sewing machine........