Nicki LaFoille

Flutter Sleeve Pattern Hack

Nicki LaFoille
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Duration:   20  mins

Learn how to alter a set-in sleeve pattern to create a flutter sleeve style. Altering a sleeve pattern is a quick way to change the look of a pattern you already love. The flutter sleeve is a drapy, elegant short sleeve style, and is easily created with a few pattern alterations. Nicki LaFoille shows you how.

This sleeve pattern alteration requires minimal supplies, including only some extra paper, pencil, ruler, and scissors. If you are frequently altering patterns, whether for fit or style, Nicki recommends translucent pattern paper, which is useful and easy to work with.

Begin by marking the seam allowance at the sleeve cap, and vertical draw a line at the sleeve center. Nicki recommends marking vertical lines across the sleeve at 1 ½” apart, ending roughly 2” from the sleeve underarm edge.

Nicki demonstrates how to slash along the lines to preserve the seamline length, then how to tape the slashed pattern onto new paper to create extra volume. By truing the lines of the sleeve cap and lower edge to create smooth curves, the new flutter sleeve pattern is complete.

The sleeve can be sewn into the armscye as usual, and the sleeve lower edge can be finished in several different ways, such as a rolled hem or double fold hem. Nicki demonstrates a marking tip for folding the raw edge toward the wrong side.

If you’d like to leave the sleeve underarm seam open before inserting the sleeve into the armscye, check out this video for using the flat sleeve insertion technique.

Nicki gives tips for eliminating waves or ripples in the hem by stabilizing the fabric with either tissue paper or stay tape, such as this tape by SewKeyZ.

For more on pattern alterations, check out this video:
Pro Pattern Hack: Darted to Princess Conversion

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