Pattern Overview

Nivalis cap sleeves (mini- tutorial)

I am a member of the Sofilantjes Sew & Show group on facebook.
I have seen the same kind of post pop up every summer:
It goes a bit like this:

Nivalis help needed!
Cap sleeves: it doesn't fit?
What side goes where?

The helpful people at the group draw pictures and try to explain how the pattern works. 
But we don't have unfinished Nivalis dresses lying around just to answer those questions.
So when I finally made a cap sleeved version for an upcoming blog tour, I decided to make some pictures. My 2 cents in solving the cap sleeves mystery.

DISCLAIMER: This will only show you how to attach the cap sleeves.
You will still need the pattern for all other instructions and to get the pattern pieces.

To get to the point where pictures were taken, I followed pattern instructions up to the sewing of the shoulder seam. The front and back are attached. Side seams are still open.

Sofilantjes patterns come with included seam and hem allowances. This is what makes the cap sleeve pattern piece look a bit weird. 

The hem that will be folded inward, creates 2 little "wings". Since this is not exactly on official sewing term ... here's a picture map:

On the picture the top of the sleeve (the big bulge) is aligned with the armhole of the bodice. (right sides together).

If you want to make folding the hem less tricky: fold it over on the dotted line (wrong sides together) and iron. The crease you create will make hemming so much easier!

1. Pin the cap sleeve to the armhole (right sides together).

Start by pinning the middle of the cap sleeve to the shoulder seam.
Then pin the end of the cap sleeve to the side of the bodice.
After that it's just a matter of adding pins between the rest. You can do this with less pins, if you hate pinning.
I just like to make sure the pieces don't shift while I sew sleeves. I don't like unpicking them because I've sewn little folds.

2. Stitch the sleeve to the bodice using your favorite stretch stitch.

Reinforce the seam by giving it a good press. This seam is going to be stressed, so best prepare for that.

Did you notice how the straight edge at the top of the cap sleeve goes into the seam allowance?

If you're using a serger, the seam allowance is already trimmed. If you are using a sewing machine like I'm doing, trim as you see fit.
I usually don't trim a lot unless the bulk is too visible or uncomfortable.

This is what it looks like if you turn everything to the right side.
It's starting to look like a sleeve now.
But those wings are still there!

When we fold under the seam allowance,
this is what's gonna happen:
tada: a sleeve!

Note: feel free to switch around step 3 and 4. I like this order, because I think the finished product looks better. But if you are used to hemming first and closing the side seams afterwards: by all means: switch.

3. Close the side seam.

Pin the front and back bodice (right sides together), including the sleeves.
Stitch with a 3/8" seam allowance. That's roughly where I drew the red line.
Again, use your favorite stretch stitch.

To reduce bulk, you can trim down the seam allowance. I usually make a little "V"-incision at the second pin. Make sure not to cut into the stitching! The incision makes it easier to fold the hem under.
I press the seam open to reduce bulk a little more. .

4. Fold under the hem and stitch. 

I used a twin needle for hemming.
But there are other options: decorative stitching, contrasting thread color, ...
Whatever your creativity calls for. Just remember to use stretchy stitches.
I made a tip and tricks post about hemming last year. Feel free to go and read it.

I forgot to take pictures of the last steps. They are basically the same as you always do hemming sleeves, so I think you will manage ;-)
If anything is unclear, don't hesitate to ask in the comments section.

Stay tuned for the finished dress in the next "Let's Stitch Together"-tour!
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Follow links are in the top right corner of the blog.

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