I think this is my 4th version of this dress, and I love it more each time. This time, I got it in my head that I wanted a flutter sleeve.
Because really, it doesn't get much girlier than that...
And seriously, how awesome is this fabric?! Y'all, I found it at the thrift store!! It was a twin flat sheet. I was so thrilled!! Two bucks and I should be able to get 2 more dresses out of it! Score!
But the sleeve. That's what this post is all about. How cute is that? This is my first attempt. I drafted it as a circular flounce, using the circumference of the armhole as the inner circumference of the flounce. I cut the hem edge as an oval, with the widest part at the shoulder point and only a narrow band under the arm. You can see that pattern piece here on Instagram.
I love how gracefully it sits at the top of her shoulder. It provides some coverage from the sun, while still being as cool as a sleeveless dress.
The thing I don't like about this version is the amount of fabric that is under the arm. Because of the way it flounces the wrong side shows and I don't think it is very attractive.
It's still a very pretty dress, and Myra really likes it, but I'm headed back to the drawing board with this sleeve. Fear not! I will prevail! And I'll show you how as well!
You may have noticed that I finished the sleeve with a rolled edge on my serger.
I really think this is the perfect finish for something light and airy like this - no hem bulk to weigh it down. But when I first tried this function on my serger, I had all sorts of trouble, especially on curves (and this sleeve is a big circle - all curves!). The fabric tended to miss the needles and I'd have bits of rolled hem tails hanging off the unfinished edge of my project - not pretty. I discovered that the key to keeping the fabric in the "roll" is the position of the serger knife.
On the left, you see the serger as the manual says to set it for a rolled hem - with the blade as close to the needles as possible. On my serger, this is referred to as the stitch width, which is a bit of a misnomer, since it is actually the cutting width. In the picture on the right, the blade is set as far AWAY from the needle as possible. This way, there is enough fabric for the needles to catch and actually roll under.
Here you can see how the fabric just slightly rolls under, giving the hem a teeny bit of body, without bulk or weight. If the blade is cutting close to the needle, you lose that extra oomph, and run the risk of your fabric running right off the edge of the needle.