Subscribers free pattern – Bell sleeve – How to make:

This months free subscribers pattern is a bell sleeve top pattern. I’ve made this version in a lightweight silver stretch velvet for a more dressy feel. We might be limited to what we can do and where we can go this party season. It doesn’t have to stop us getting dressed up!

Having said that this bell sleeve top pattern can be made in other drapey fabrics like crepe and doesn’t need to be limited to partying even if made in velvet! However because of the fabric I have used bias binding to finish the neck. This is a different technique than I have used so far for the other tops. One that I find quite useful as an alternative to a neck facing. It is ideal if you are limited on fabric and don’t quite have enough. It is also great for fabrics like velvet that have a pile or nap, it can be tricky to get a facing to sit flat. Using bias binding does mean you have a line of stitching showing on the outside but probably looks neater than an ill fitting facing.

Free bell sleeve top pattern from Bobbins and Buttons

Body measurement size chart

Fabric requirements:

This top works in a variety of fabrics. For a drapey sleeve fabrics like this lightweight stretch velvet work well. Crepe, viscose based fabric and Tencel would also work well.

15mm bias binding tape.

See pattern for fabric quantities

To Cut:

Use pieces A and B from the first pattern cut 1 each on the fold.

L – Cut 1 pair

How to make:

The seam allowance is 1.5cm unless otherwise stated. As this is a stretch fabric I made this top using an overlocker. I trimmed the excess seam allowance as I sewed the top together to arrive at the right size. It is worth running a small test on a piece of scrap to work out how much you need to trim if you plan to do this.

Free bell sleeve top pattern from Bobbins and Buttons

  1. With right sides together (RST) join the front and back at the shoulders. Neaten raw edges. Cut a piece of bias binding a few cms longer than the neck edge.(it is better to trim a bit of excess than be slightly to short) With RST pin the bias tape around the neck edge. As you pin the tape let it relax as much as possible without forming pleats. This will help when you turn the tape inside. Start at the back neck near a shoulder seam but not over a shoulder seam. Fold the raw end in and pin the tape matching the raw edge to the raw edge of the neckline. Pin in the fold line of the tape overlapping the tape where it joins by a couple of cm’s.

Free bell sleeve top pattern from Bobbins and Buttons

2. If you are working with velvet test the iron on a scrap before pressing. I find this velvet can be pressed without steam but steam leaves a mark on the pile.

Turn the binding to inside the neck pressing if possible and pin close to the inner edge.

Free bell sleeve top pattern from Bobbins and Buttons

3. You may prefer to tack the neckline first before stitching if you are using a fabric like velvet. Stitch close to the inner edge of the bias binding.

Free bell sleeve top pattern from Bobbins and Buttons

4. With RST and sleeve head centre matched to the shoulder seam, pin the sleeve around the armhole. Stitch and neaten raw edges. With RST and raw edges matching pin the front and back together from sleeve to hem, pivoting at the underarm seam. Stitch and neaten raw edges.

Free bell sleeve top pattern from Bobbins and Buttons

5. Neaten raw edges of sleeves and hem and turn a single turned hem. If you are working with a lighter fabric you might prefer to turn a double turned narrow hem. The single hem works well for bulky fabric like velvet.

Free bell sleeve top pattern from Bobbins and Buttons

6. Stitch the hems to complete.

Free bell sleeve top pattern from Bobbins and Buttons

Free bell sleeve top pattern from Bobbins and Buttons

Free bell sleeve top pattern from Bobbins and Buttons

Free bell sleeve top pattern from Bobbins and Buttons

 

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Julia Claridge

I was about 6 or 7 years old when I had my first go on a sewing machine, it was an old hand crank machine that my mum used with her patients, she was an occupational therapist. I still vividly remember watching with amazement as the tiny perfectly formed stitches were created as I turned the handle. I Grew up in the 70’s and 80’s when buying clothes was less affordable and dressmaking was an answer to updating your wardrobe more regularly. My own mother was a talented dressmaker who made most of my clothes and my sisters clothes as well as a many for herself. I soon got involved with making my clothes, I loved the whole experience of picking out fabrics, trims and a pattern to create a new outfit, then going home to make a new garment or outfit. When it came to leaving school I visited a careers advisor who asked what I wanted to do next. My answer was ..Sew! Read more...

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