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Knot Your Ordinary Sleeve Pattern Hack

Add grommets and ties for fun
Threads #196, April/May 2018

When you have a tried-and-true top or dress pattern, it’s natural to use it over and over with style updates. I came up with an open sleeve version that incorporates a contrasting fabric in soft ties, bringing a colorful detail to a simple tunic.

This pattern hack is a combination of the embellished sleeve trend and the cold shoulder look. It features a long sleeve that’s split down the center then tied together with fabric bands threaded through metal grommets. This change works best with a one-piece set-in or raglan sleeve pattern that is straight or tapered.

Model shot with ties on sleeves.
It’s an open-and-shut case when you split a sleeve then tie it together with jaunty bands. Pattern: Vogue 8952, modified. Fabrics: stretch crepe matte hybrid (top) and silk jersey (ties), EmmaOneSock.com. Grommets: Star Snaps, New York.
Detail of ties.
These grommets have an interior diameter of 5⁄8 inch.

Split the sleeve

The garment body does not change; only the sleeve pattern is modified. You will split the sleeve lengthwise, then add a cut-on facing.

1 Copy the sleeve pattern. Trace it onto pattern paper, transferring all marks and notches. If a raglan sleeve has a shoulder dart, remove it following the instructions in “Remove a shoulder dart,” below.

2 Find the sleeve’s vertical center. Using a ruler, mark horizontal lines across the pattern from underarm to underarm and wrist to wrist. Mark the midpoint on both lines and draw a straight line down the center of the sleeve. Label the sections “Sleeve front” and “Sleeve back.”

3 Transfer the grainlines onto the sleeve front and the sleeve back pieces. Make a mark 4 inches from the neckline on the center line. Label this “Shoulder point.” Cut the sleeve apart down the center line.

Pattern drawing with shoulder point.


Create new patterns

Add a cut-on facing to both pieces, which finishes the edges…

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