How to Make a Puff Sleeve Blouse

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Puffed sleeves evoke images of peasant blouses and Edwardian gowns. The sleeve has added fabric at the top that allows it to rise over the shoulder seam and fall in random collections at the cuff. Many older styles include patterns for puffed sleeves. But many modern blouse patterns include capped or fitted sleeves. Changing the sleeve pattern from a fitted to a puffed sleeve requires you to draft the sleeve pattern.

Things You'll Need

  • Blouse pattern
  • Brown craft paper
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Tape
  • French curve
  • Elastic

Drafting the Pattern

  • Cut out the sleeve pattern for your blouse.

  • Trace the sleeve pattern on the brown paper. Transfer the grain line and the notches. These will ensure that your new pattern fits the blouse. Set the original pattern piece aside.

  • Cut the brown paper pattern piece down the middle, from the highest point of the sleeve curve.

  • Split the pattern again between the notches and the center cut on both sides. The brown paper pattern is now in four strips.

  • Spread the strips of paper 1 inch apart and place them on a second sheet of brown paper.

  • Place the French curve on the rise of the sleeve pattern. This is the area near the notches where the sleeve pattern begins to go into the arc of the sleeve cap. Using the French curve, continue the upward curve of the rise on both sides, creating a new, higher sleeve cap.

  • Mark a point 1 inch below the hem of the sleeve at the center. Draw a new hemline that starts at the hem, curves to meet the center mark and heads back to the hem.

  • Cut out the puffed sleeve pattern. The pattern is both wider and taller than the original.

Sewing the Blouse

  • Follow your pattern's instructions for assembling the front, back and collar of the blouse.

  • Sew three gather lines on both sleeves between the notches at the top. These are three rows of basting stitches 1/4-inch apart. Pull all three top threads to gather the fabric. Pin the notches on the sleeve to the notches on the front and back of the blouse with the appropriate sides together. Adjust the collection of fabric to create an even puff and pin them in place. Sew the top of the sleeve to the blouse. Remove the threads.

  • Finish the bottom of the sleeve. In one method you sew three gather lines at the bottom of the sleeve, or gather the base of the sleeve into a cuff. In another method, you can sew a casing at the bottom of the sleeve and thread elastic through the casing.

  • Sew the side seams of the blouse and hem the bottom.

Tips & Warnings

  • Lightweight fabric may need starch to puff properly.

References

  • Photo Credit Maria Teijeiro/Photodisc/Getty Images
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