Hello VFT Family,

 

Blithe Child and Tween have released and I noticed several people asking about how to make Blithe with a sleeve. So, I thought I would share my hack with the Zoey Sleeve!

 

Sleeves:
For this hack you will be using Zoey’s long or elbow length sleeve instead of the tulip sleeve. Skip step #1-7 on the Blithe tutorial.
*Simple Zoey Sleeve:
Place the sleeve together with right sides touching, pin and sew with a ½” seam allowanceand finish seams. Follow steps #16 and 23-27 on the Zoey tutorial to create the casing for the elastic. 

*Shirred Zoey Sleeve:
I started off hacking the Zoey sleeve by shirring the hem of the sleeve instead of elastic like the tutorial calls for. Hack on a hack! 
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Before I go into how I shirred the sleeve here are some shirring tips below.
-Hand wind the bobbin with elastic thread. You don’t want to pull it tight but you don’t want it loose. With that being said, it has been mentioned to me quite a few times that if you have a Brother it is best to machine wind the elastic thread.
-Use regular thread on top.
-Always finish with a steam iron (I have heard people will throw their clothing item into the wash to help shrinkage as well but I prefer a good steam iron).
-Use a longer stitch length- 4 to 5
-Increase tension (every machine can be different)
-Thread the elastic through the small hole.
-Back stitch when you start and finish your row.
-It will take a couple of rows before you start to see gathering.
-Thinner fabric works best.
-Increase the tension on your bobbin.
-Always test on a piece of fabric to find what works for your machine.
-Good quality elastic thread like Gutterman. I have found Dritz did not work as well.
-Gently pull it the fabric straight as you sew each row. This will help keep your lines straight. Also as you reach row 2 and beyond you will need to keep the fabric taut so that it will not wrinkle under the sewing foot. 
-If you have a top loading machine it is important that your thread is threaded through the notch/cut out on your sewing machine. See photo below.
-If you have a front loading bobbin thread the elastic thread like normal then also thread through the small hole. This increases the tension in your bobbin. See photo below.
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For my shirring recipe, here is what I did on my Bernina:
-Hand wind the bobbin
-Longest stitch
-Threaded the elastic through the small hole in the bobbin casing (again this helps with increasing bobbin tension)
-I did not need to change my tension
You will need to find your “recipe” for what works for your machine. Each machine can be a little different.
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1. Start by laying the sleeve flat on your table and hem with a ¼” and ¼” hem and topstitch.
2. Next you will start your first shirring row ¼” below the hemmed stitch line.  Leave a thread tail about 1” long to tie off.  Stitch across the sleeve and leave another tail. Don’t forget to backstitch! You will do that another 5-9 times. For my size 14 I did 10 rows total.  For a size 2 you could do 6 rows total. It is really a personal decision but you need at least 3 rows to make sure you get a nice gather.  
3.Once you have finished your shirring rows, place the sleeve together with right sides together, pin and sew with a ½” seam allowance. Finish the seams. 
*Blithe Bodice:
Follow Step #8
Skip Step #9-10
Follow Step #11- Except ONLY pin and sew around the neckline. Not the armhole
Follow Step #12- Flip the lining in and turn right side out
Follow Step #13-15- Bring the main front and back together with right sides touching, pin and sew. Repeat with the lining. Finish the seams.
*Sleeve insertion:
Follow Step #18-21 on Zoey Tutorial- Except your side seams will already be sewn and the sleeve will be inserted into the armhole. The sleeve will be sewn to both the main and lining.
*Blithe Dress:
Continue to step #16 for a Blithe Dress
*How to make the Blithe top:
You will need to add 3/4"-1" to the outerskirt pattern pieces. This will ensure it covers the belly button in the front. 
Follow step #16-17- To create the Blithe top only use the outer front and back skirt pattern pieces.
Follow Step #19-21- Except do not separate. Gather, pin and sew to the bodice/lining.
Skip to Step #43-45,47-49 for Zipper insertion- Since the bodice main and lining are already sewn together at the waist you do not need to separate the main and lining. Also, when serging you will be serging both the main and lining together.
Skip to #Step 53 for topstitching the neckline
Skip to #Step 55 for hemming
Bam! Blithe Top or Dress with a simple or shirred sleeve. I hope you love it as much as I do!!
Fabric: Silver Velvet from StoneMountain Daughter
Zoey and Blithe are both listed at a special price for a limited time!! 
https://violettefieldthreads.com/collections/5-friday-blithe-zoey
Until next time!
-Alexis
December 15, 2017 by Alexis Wright

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