TUTORIAL-- Gathered or Puffed Sleeves? It's All About the Seam Allowances!

Monday, May 30, 2011
^ Click on the photo to see detail. To return here, click your browser's "Back" arrow/button ^

The HotPatterns Riviera AnnisetteTop is one of my favorite styles from the HotPatterns collection, and a perfect style to demonstrate how manipulating the shoulder seam allowances can change the look of a garment with a gathered sleeve.  This is a revised post of one first published here in 2009...for my newer blog followers or those who may have missed it the first time :)

Take a close look at the blue top, above. It has gathered sleeve caps that are very subtle. When you make a top, dress or blouse with sleeve cap gathers, you have a choice to make them "puffed" or simply gathered into soft folds. It's all about the direction the sleeve cap seam allowances are pressed.
 





When the seam allowances are pressed towards the sleeve, you have puffy sleeves like the example to the right. 




Pressing the seam allowances towards the "body" (neckline) of the garment, results in sleeve cap gathers that lay  "flatter", and present more subtle folds.  It's a small detail, but one that is usually kinder to a mature figure.





Directing the seam allowances of gathers one way or the other can make a difference in other areas of a garment. For instance, pressing the seam allowance of a gathered skirt of a dress "up" towards the bodice will encourage the gathers to lay more flat, in smooth folds. Pressing those same gathers "down" (towards the hem) , will encourage the gathers to puff-up.  It's all about the look you prefer...and now you know you have a choice :)

Sewing Notes: Yoke is interfaced with PRO-TRICOT DELUXE Fusible Interfacing from  ~FASHION SEWING SUPPLY~