Jump Rope Dress Sew-Along ~ Sleeves & Sleeve Cuffs

on September 9 | in Jump Rope Dress Sew-Along, Products, Sew-Alongs | by | with 46 Comments

Jeanne from Night Knitter shows us how to make the sleeves and sleeve cuffs today for both views (A & B) of the Jump Rope Dress. We’ll pause for a long weekend to give you some time to catch up, and we’ll be back with new sew-along posts on Monday! Don’t forget to comment on any sew-along post for your chance to win an Oliver + S pattern or 12 fat quarters of the City Weekend fabric collection by Liesl Gibson for Moda!

Check out the sleeves! Jeanne’s completed Jump Rope Dress, View B.

    Now that your collars are complete, today we are going to tackle:

  • Preparing the sleeves
  • Creating the sleeve tabs (for View A only)
  • Attaching the sleeves
  • Sewing the sleeve and side seams
  • Finishing the sleeve cuffs for both Views A and B

Prepare the Sleeves (both Views)
When you begin to prepare your sleeves, finish the bottom of the sleeve’s raw edge with a zig zag stitch to prevent the fabric from fraying.

When you sew your two rows of gathering stitches, use a long basting stitch and don’t forget to leave the thread tails rather long on both sides. I sometimes find it easier to use a contrasting colored thread in the bobbin so that I can not only see the stitches better but also help me remember which set of gathering stitches to pull from when I start to attach the sleeve cap to the armhole (more on that later).

Sleeve tabs (View A)
For those of you who are sewing View A, let’s get started with creating the sleeve tabs.

I pretty much followed the directions exactly as they are written in the pattern including using tissue paper to help stabilize the fabric.

Sewing the tiny tabs can be a bit of a challenge since they are so small, but here are some tips to help you create crisp points:

  • Mark the pivot points on the tab before you start sewing.

  • In order to pivot 1/4” on both sides, you may have to shorten your stitch length.
  • If you are a knitter, try using a knitting needle to push out the corners of the tabs once they are right side out.

  • If you choose to edgestitch the tab, use tissue to help stabilize the fabric. If you use an edgestitching foot, check out Amy’s handy tutorial here.

I chose to eyeball my edgestitching on the tabs so I could see when I needed to pivot the tabs without having the edgestitch footer impede my view.

Now that you have your sleeve tabs sewn, let’s baste them onto the edge of the sleeve. Fold the sleeve in half and mark the center with the pin. You can also use a fabric marker or tailor’s caulk to so this as well.

Fold the sleeve tab in half at the unsewn end. Finger press the crease to create small fold line. Match the fold line with the pin marking the center of the sleeve.

Pin the tab to the bottom of the sleeve and baste.

Preparing the Sleeve Cuff (both Views)
You can either use a ruler along with tailors chalk or a fabric pin to mark the 1 1/2” first fold line.

You can also use a basting stitch to create the fold line. My sewing machine doesn’t have a 1 1/2” guide, so I measured the distance from my needle and marked it with tab.

As you create your second fold line, make sure your fabric is face down.

Fold and press your sleeve cuff.

Before you attach your sleeve into the armhole, you will need to unfold your sleeve cuff. Be sure that you have distinct creases at your fold line since it will make finishing your sleeve cuffs so much easier.

Attach the Sleeves (both Views)
Set-in sleeves can be a bit tricky because the sleeve cap must be eased into the armhole to ensure a proper fit. The gathering stitches are used to help you ease the sleeve cap into the armhole.

Place the right sides of the armhole and sleeve together. Matching the notches is extremely important when you are starting to pin your sleeve to the armhole. Usually a double notches indicate the back of the sleeve, and single notches are for the front, but with this pattern, both the front and the back of the sleeve have single notches.

When you are pinning your sleeves into the armholes, start lining up the notches and pin the sleeve and the dress’s armhole. Gently, pull on the gathering stitches slightly and distribute the gathers evenly.

I find it helpful to evenly distribute the stitches by working in sections between each set of notches. Within each section, try distributing the gathers evenly and then pin the sleeve to the armhole working your way from the each notch, alternating pinning the right side and then the left, and towards the center of the section.

While you are doing this, make sure the fabric around the armhole remains flat and smooth.

Attaching the sleeve in this way will help gently ease the sleeve into the armhole. In these photos, the pink pins illustrate where the notches are located.

There shouldn’t be any pleats on the armhole side of the fabric or gathers on the sleeve on the right side of the dress.

To make sure the placement of your sleeve is correct, you may want to use a set of basting stitches to sew your sleeves to the armholes. This will prevent you from having to struggle with pins when you are sewing the sleeve. It will also help you check the placement to make sure there are no pleats on the sleeve cap or the armhole prior to adding the final stitches.

As you are sewing the sleeve to the armhole, take the time to stop and pull on the fabric beneath to make sure there are no gathers underneath.

After you have finished sewing the sleeve to the armhole, you may discover a pleat or pucker.

Never fear, just grab your handy seam ripper and take out a few stitches around the pleat, smooth the fabric out, and sew it again. Voilia, pleat be gone!

Once your sleeve is attached, your sleeve cap and armhole should be smooth with no visible gathers or pleats once the dress is turned right side out.

Once your sleeve is sewn in finish the seam allowance and take out your basting stitches.

For more on sewing in sleeves, there is a great tutorial from Jenny Gordy here.

Now, you are ready to join the side and sleeve seams as written in the pattern directions.

As you do so, take care to match up the creases to you created for the cuffs.

Finishing Cuffs
Now that your side and sleeve seams are sewn together and you have finished your seam allowances, re-fold the cuffs and press them.

Follow the directions in the pattern to stitch the bottom of the sleeve to the actual sleeve. I turned the sleeve right side out and eased the inside sleeve under my needle. I used the far edge of the zig zag stitch as my guide as I sewed around the bottom of the sleeve.

For View A, make sure you pin down the tab, so it doesn’t get in the way.

Secure the cuff with a blind hem stitch. As the name implies, a blind hem is a stitch that is hidden so it doesn’t show when the dress is turned right side out.

You can find a great tutorial Liesl wrote on how to sew a blind stitch hem here.

When you start to sew your blind hem stitches, start under the sleeve cuff and use small stitches as you work my way around the bottom of the sleeve.

For View B, I used longer and fewer stitches to secure the cuff to the sleeve.

This will allow me to take the blind hem stitches out and unfold the cuff so it can be worn longer as my daughter grows taller. In a way, the sleeves grow as my daughter’s arms grow longer.

This image below is my daughter wearing View B of the dress I made her last year. With the unfolded sleeve, she can wear it a few more times before the dress is retired to a box in the attic.

Now step back, and take some time to admire your handwork!

Completed dress with pretty sleeves, View B.

For those of you who are sewing View A, hold off on attaching your button to the sleeve tab. Just pin the tab to the sleeve for now. We will tackle buttons next week.


* Win a new Oliver + S sewing pattern of your choice, courtesy of Oliver + S. (4 winners, See the selection at Sew,Mama,Sew! & Badskirt.)

* Win a pack of 12 fat quarters from the new City Weekend fabric collection by Liesl Gibson for Moda, courtesy of Sew,Mama,Sew! (3 winners)



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46 Responses to Jump Rope Dress Sew-Along ~ Sleeves & Sleeve Cuffs

  1. Great tutorial on how to apply a sleeve which is especially difficult in the smaller sizes.

  2. corinne says:

    thank you so much. i hate setting in sleeves as i’m always sewing the sleeve to the bodice or something stupid. i’ll try basting first! thanks for doing the post!

  3. I’ve caught up now that my maternity leave has started! I’m making an aqua dress with a rose print trim and am trying to decide which fabric to use for the pockets.

  4. Shirley Clark says:

    I love all of the pictures as you sew. It helps a whole lot.

  5. WandaFish says:

    These directions are so helpful that I’m really tempted to be a late starter and have a go! Thanks so much.

  6. christy says:

    Gosh I’m so in love with this dress – I really must start cracking on mine!

  7. Justine says:

    I really liked seeing the pics of the sleeve pinned in – sleeves done on one dress done! Off I go to sew in the next ones!

  8. Melissa says:

    Love the dress – my girl would especially like the pockets. I might have to try this one!

  9. Angelina S. says:

    These dresses are so cute!!

    figure8angel[AT]gmail[DOT]com

  10. Tong says:

    Really enjoyed following along the sew along even though I’m not making the dress this time, but it’ll be a great reference point in the future when I do make it!

  11. Casey says:

    Thank you! I always find sleeves to be tricky!

  12. susan alexander/wilson says:

    Even with the pictures and clear instructions, it all seems sort of fiddly to me. I’m afraid of setting in the sleeves! Stiff drink. And sew. You forgot that part, right?

  13. Sheri says:

    Adorable dress! I love gathering with the stitches above and below the sewing line–makes it all so easy!

  14. carrot cake says:

    Wow, at first this pattern seemed so daunting to me. Now, I’m really encouraged & inspired. Thank you so much for this sew-along! It’s really the most invaluable idea & tutorial I’ve ever seen online. I am keeping my fingers crossed & hope you continue to offer sew-alongs for your most popular patterns! One idea: perhaps have a poll, where readers pick from 3 pre-selected patterns for the next sew-along? Wouldn’t that be fun? :)

  15. tierraazul says:

    I love the idea of sew along tutorials. Maybe one for the ice cream dress? This is a great way to inspire beginners to try something new!

  16. Louise says:

    These steps could be so scary without all these fabulous tutorials! I love the dresses in this tutorial too :)

  17. grapeshape says:

    i love to see these steps worked out visually. time to crack open my oliver & s pattern!

  18. Laura says:

    Just love your fabric choices! Wonderful whimsy for this pattern :)

  19. jenne says:

    Yay! I’ve always been afraid of sleeves. This is great!

  20. I have always liked the long sleeved version better, but I never imagined how fabulous it would look in corduroy! I love it:) And the model has the cutest hair I’ve ever seen.

  21. Cindy says:

    I’m hoping this weekend I’ll be able to find time to sew and catch up. I’m loving all these pictures and insights. They’ll be a big help!

  22. Kimber says:

    Love. this. dress. Fantastic job. I want to make one so bad!

  23. christine says:

    I am loving the blue version. Such talent. I am jealous!

  24. Heather says:

    Adorable!!! The pockets are the bomb! So cute!

  25. Tara says:

    Thank you for explaining this so well :)

  26. Serena says:

    Well done tutorial. Thank you.

  27. Jill B says:

    Wow! I love the pic at the top of the page – that version of the dress is gorgeous.

  28. savvy stitch says:

    Thanks for the directions; this is helpful information!

  29. alisha says:

    Lovely. I especially love the denim dress with those socks and shoes!

  30. Rosa in The Antipodes says:

    I’m in love with this Jump Rope Dress Sew along! Great opportunity to leave novice level…Thanks, guys!

  31. Jennifer Lachman says:

    Awesome advice on gathering. I never thought to use a different color bobbin thread.

  32. Jenn S says:

    Just put the baby down for a nap, so I’m going to do the sleeves while he naps and the jelly is cooking & canning. Great sleeve explanation!

  33. Trisha says:

    I am ready to tackle the sleeves tomorrow and your instructions are sure to help. I loved your hint about the room for growth with view B…GREAT idea. I am going to use that.

  34. Tammy says:

    scared about the sleeves but ready to give them a go!

  35. Jennifer says:

    I love the knee socks (or tights?) your daughter is wearing–they look so cute with that dress!

  36. Matilda says:

    I too love that blue cord dress–I ordered my pattern late, and I can hardly wait to start!

  37. Este says:

    Love the tips for the sleeves Jeanne. Cutest model ever, by the way :P

  38. mel says:

    Well, I’m glad to know that I was right to leave the raw edge inside the sleeve cuff, but I don’t think I like it. I do like the look of the cuff though. What a great idea, too, to take out the stitch for more useful life! Thanks for the mini tute!

  39. Kim says:

    I love the dress in the fine cord! Gorgeous!

  40. Dianne McLean says:

    Love the denim version.

  41. Samantha says:

    I love the little blue corduroy dress. Great instructions…thanks!

  42. Kimberly says:

    This is so helpful! Thank you.

  43. beth lehman says:

    i love watching this process even though i’m not sewing a dress currently – i learn something each time!

  44. Rachel says:

    Thanks for the details. The only set in sleeves I have sewn, were done my grandma was helping me. This is a great reference.

  45. Kerri says:

    I’m going to get a late start on trying this dress for my girls but I’ve ordered the pattern and looking forward to going back over the posts.

  46. Kim Floyd says:

    love the denum dress

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