By Alice Irvine – @the.polka.dot.palace
It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of the Juliette shirt; it’s an everyday staple with a bit of edge, and it has so much potential for putting your own stamp on it. I made myself one with pleated cap sleeves and the seamstress curse struck: my sister said, “Can you make me one too?” Of course I happily obliged, and here I’m going to explain how to make your own pleated cap sleeves (whether for yourself or a pesky sibling is for you to decide!)
The seamstress: Alice Irvine
I have always been obsessed with clothes. Growing up I would sketch designs for clothes and accessories, and I was given a sewing machine for my 16th birthday (I used this machine until 18 months ago!), which was an absolute game-changer. I studied fashion at university but soon found photography taking a higher priority for me; that’s what I ended up focusing my degree on, and it now forms part of my career
Sewing took a back seat and to be honest, for a while I didn’t realise it was missing from my life. I got married in 2015 and hand made all the decorations for the wedding; every evening after work I would get home and spend hours making and crafting, and that’s what reignited my passion for sewing.
I started my blog to create a central resource for my creative pursuits. I’m obsessed with fashion and the way it enables people to express themselves, so I hope to build the website to inspire people through how-to tutorials (I pattern hack a lot, and want to make this accessible), trend reports, street style photos and portraits I take of other seamstresses and makers.
I can’t imagine my life without sewing. It has opened up so many doors and allowed me to develop new skills, make new friends, and create totally unique garments.
On top of the supplies listed on the instruction booklet you will need 1 3/4 yard of 3/8’’ bias tape .
You’ll also need the sewing pattern for the I AM Juliette shirt, discover it now.
CUTTING THE FABRIC
Cut all pieces as normal, but don’t cut the sleeves.
Make the shirt as per the instructions up to the point where the sleeves are inserted (step 4).
You can add the collar before or after the following steps, but you may find it easier to envisage how you want the sleeves to sit if the collar is on and the buttons are sewn.
PREPARING THE PATTERN FOR THE CAP SLEEVES
Try the shirt on, you’ll probably find the armholes are sitting at an awkward, slightly-too-wide place. Use tailors chalk to draw directly on the shirt where you would like the cap sleeves to sit (bearing in mind a seam allowance), you may find you want to take in a bit almost the whole way round the arm hole. Just do this on one side of the shirt; you’ll then use that side as a template for the other side so they’re symmetrical.
Cut the marked section off in one continuous piece; don’t chop it in small sections. You will need it to make the pattern piece for the cap sleeves and also to cut the other side symmetrically. Lay the shirt flat and use the cut piece as a template to cut the other side. It’s near impossible to do this in one continuous piece so I traced the line on the back, flipped it and then traced the front.
Take a piece of paper and draw around the first piece of fabric you trimmed, marking the shoulder seam. This is going to be the curve that joins the cap sleeve to the shirt:
Working from the shoulder seam mark, measure down 6.5cm from the inside of the curve. Square off this line to meet the sides of your curve.
Now is the really fun maths bit. Make a dotted line straight down from your shoulder seam mark and measure out 1cm from each side of the dotted line.
Cut the whole shape out, and then cut down one of the solid lines (not the dotted one). Stick one side of your shape to a piece of paper and draw a vertical line 1.5cm along from the line you just cut. Place the other half of the piece of paper on that line and stick it back making sure to keep the bottom edge in a straight line. This section will be a pleat! Trim off the excess paper.
Then from the edge of the section you’ve just added in, draw another line 1cm along. Cut down this line and add in another 1.5cm section of paper.
Keep working along, measuring across 1cm, and adding in a 1.5cm section of paper, until you’ve added in 5 sections. It’ll end up a big mess of cello tape and pen, but that’s ok!
Now do the same working the other way from your solid line next to the central dotted line. You end up with one really long piece like this!
SEWING THE CAP SLEEVES
Cut one pair of these from your fabric, cutting little snips using the solid lines as notches, and at your dotted centre line cut a little ‘v’ so you know that’s where to join to the shoulder seam.
It’s much easier to finish the hem of the sleeve now instead of after the pleats are in, so turn the straight edge under by 1cm, then turn this in on itself, pin in place and stitch down.
Working from the shoulder seam outwards so the pleats go down the front and then down the back (rather than all facing in the same direction), join each notch to the one next to it to make the pleats. Pin along then baste to hold them in place within the 1cm seam allowance. Give it a good press to set the pleats.
Now to attach your sleeve to the armhole. Place the sleeve and shirt right sides together matching up the “v” notch with the shoulder seam of the shirt and pin along the sleeve. Stitch it in place at around 7mm, to make sure it’s within the 1 cm seam allowance.
You can see it’s nearly there, but the armhole needs finishing. Unfold one side of the bias tape. Place the bias tape and the armhole right side together. Fold the end of the bias tape on itself.
Sew along the crease line of the bias tape. When arriving back at the start, sew 3/8’’ of bias tape on top of the one already stitched. Cut off the excess.
Notch the curves of the armhole on the garment only. Do not make notches on the bias tape. Iron the bias tape towards the inside of the garment and topstitch all around. This will flip the cap sleeve outwards to it’s sitting correctly, and will finish it all off nice and neatly. Give it a good press too to get it looking really sharp.
If you didn’t initially, add your collar and buttons, finish the bottom hem of the shirt and enjoy strutting those statement sleeves!