Variations on a Tee # 7: Half Spiral Sleeve

Burda 01-2013-119 Thumbnail

I am way behind in blogging.  I actually made this top in the nick of time for Jungle January!

The variation on this tee is that I used the sleeve from Burda 01-2013-119.  A while back on Pinterest I saw these Handmade by Carolyn spiral leggings.  I was fascinated, and loved the way they draped.  I vowed to use the idea for a sleeve eventually.  Well, lo and behold January's Burda arrived with the pattern already drafted for me.  I would still like to do a full spiral eventually, but I am in love with this sleeve.

Three Quarter View

The Burda pattern is a raglan sleeve tee, but it was very easy to transfer this feature to my set-in sleeve block.  I traced the sleeve head onto tissue, and then set the tissue on the Burda tracing sheet.  I lined up the underarm corners of the sleeve patterns, ignored the raglan sleeve head, and traced down the body of the sleeve.  The raglan sleeve was a bit wider than my set-in sleeve, so I just sort of centered my sleeve over the raglan pattern and blended.  The photos of this process were useless, because of the maze of Burda tracing sheets.

The sleeve was long for me, so I folded out 1 1/2 inches of length.  It was still pretty long and the next time I made it I shortened it a little more.

It is very hard to get a picture of your own arm.   Hopefully the photos give you some sense of what this looks like!

Sleeve Progression

The sleeve is easy to construct.

First, sew the gathered seam, starting it with a little dart.   I serged the seam first, then used the sewing machine to put the dart in the top.

Stretch Clear Elastic While Applying

Next, I gathered the seam using clear elastic.  I threaded the elastic through my buttonhole foot and then pulled is as taut as I could while stitching it over the seam.

That's it.  From here on out you treat the sleeve as you would any other.

Interface Hem

This sweaterknit ($4.99/yd from Fabrics 4 Less in NYC last November) is lightweight and a little difficult to handle.  In order to turn up the hem with a minimum of drama, I fused a strip of knit interfacing to the hem allowance before turning it up.  Although the interfacing has some stretch, it doesn't stretch nearly as much as the fabric.  However, since the hem is the widest part of the top, the lack of stretch is not a problem.

Use Blind Hem Foot on Foldover Elastic

I finished the neckline with foldover elastic.  I sewed the first pass using a zigzag, then folded the elastic over to the front.

I used the blind hem foot as a stitch guide, clicking the needle to the right to stitch juuuuust along the edge of the FOE.  The result is awesome!

I'm still working on the proper proportion of FOE to neckline.  1:1 results in a saggy neckline.  I think here I did it 80% as long as the neckline.  However, with my lightweight fabric it took a bit more than I wanted and raised the neckline to slightly higher than I would prefer.

Front Unbelted

This sleeve is just awesome.  I've always liked the look of ruched sleeves, but they can just be too much fabric.  This gives the look without the bulk.  There is not a big bunch of gathering at the wrist to get dragged through dishwater, and it doesn't do weird things under a coat.  I've used it on another tee since and am sure it will show up for years to come!

Have I mentioned in the last five minutes how much I *love* having a TNT tee that will be the perfect fit and the perfect length right off the tissue?  Love.

All photos are here and the pattern review is here.


You know how hard it is to find time to sew after work and taking care of everything else?  So does The Onion.  The linked article is uncomfortably dead-on, in the most amusing kind of way (disclaimer:  I actually like my job).

I have been feeling really pressed for time lately, and I really don't know why.  I've been getting more responsibility at work, but it hasn't required me to work extra hours.  I do spend a lot more time *thinking* about work outside of work.  Nothing else has changed.  It's not clear why this change is causing me to feel the strain.  At any rate, it has been affecting my blogging and I apologize for being a bit scarce lately.  I'm not going to pressure myself to "produce"--this is my hobby!  So I will probably continue to be scarce for a while and hopefully will eventually get over whatever this is.  I've still been sewing a lot and have a large backlog of projects to share.


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