25 September 2012

How to Ruche a Sleeve

Ruching partway up a sleeve is a detail I love in some of my shop-bought clothing. So I decided to add this feature to my pussy bow blouse. It's very easy to do and can turn a boring sleeve into something a little prettier. Here's what I did...

You will need:
- Elastic (I used 4mm thick stuff)
- Unstitched sleeve pieces
- Thread in the colour of your fabric

1. The easiest stage to attach the elastic is after you've added any gather stitches to the sleeve caps but before you've stitched the underarm seams and sleeve hems.

2. Draw a line in chalk or washable pen vertically up the centre of your sleeve, marking the points where you want the gathering to start and end (I also marked these points with tailor's tacks). The starting point should fall at a point that will be enclosed inside the sleeve hem to keep things nice and neat. I started mine 1/2" up from the raw hem and ended 4 1/2" above this point.

3. Cut your elastic. Elastics vary in how much they stretch, so test it out before cutting - pinning between the start and end points of the gathering and scrunching up the fabric in between so it lies flat will give you a rough idea of how much the fabric will gather and how much the hem will rise. Once you've decided on the length, mark the end point on your elastic, then cut about 1" longer than this so you've got something to hold onto while you're sewing.

4. Start sewing! You can use either a straight stitch or zigzag stitch. Begin at the hem, securing the end with a stitch and backstitch. Then sew carefully in a straight line while stretching the elastic up to the end point of your gathering. Secure at the top with a backstitch, then snip the threads and the extra elastic.

Et voilĂ ! You can now stitch the underarm seam and hem and attach the sleeve to your garment.