Thursday, March 27, 2014

Basket Weave Sleeve Tutorial

Hello again!

Today I'm showing you how I made my basket weave sleeve. I used the Beachy Boatneck pattern by Blank Slate Patterns (affiliate link), but this tutorial will work with any flat insert sleeve pattern you have in your stash. If your skilled with a seam ripper, you could even take apart an existing shirt to add a sleeve insert. You will follow the same steps for either knit or woven fabric, but a bit more patience is required when working with knits to prevent any warping of your fabric.
Step One: Prepare your pattern. Trim 3/4 of an inch off of the long edge of the sleeve pattern piece.
Step Two: Cut your fabric. Instead of cutting on the fold, you will cut two separate pattern pieces for each sleeve.
Step Three: Create your paper guide. Cut a strip of paper 2 inches by the length of the sleeve edge. You will most likely have to tape an extra scrap of paper to the bottom to get your desired length. I recommend paper tape which will tear easier when we remove the paper from the sleeve. Use a quilting square or a ruler to create your grid. You can save some time by making a photo copy for your second guide.
Step Four: Cut and fold your strips. You could make tubes, but that generally leads to warping with knit fabric. Another option is to fold them like bias tape which is what I did. I cut my strips to a one inch width, and then folded the edges so they met in the middle. I then folded them in half lengthwise to hide the raw edges and pressed them closed. I used twelve 8 inch strips to make a size 7. You will also need two extra strips long enough to make a sleeve binding.
Step Five: Create your weave. Use your paper guide to arrange the strips of fabric in a basket weave pattern. Let the strips hang over a little to be sure they get caught in the seam. You can trim them back later. Play around with space between strips. You may prefer a tighter or looser weave. Pin the weave to your paper at each intersection.

Next you will sew it to the paper. Sew slowly along each strip. Stop just before the needle reaches each intersection. Remove the pin and gently guide the fabric under the needle by hand so that neither of the strips get folded over. This is the part that makes this project take so long, but it is necessary so that your weave can keep it's beautiful shape.
Step Six: Attach your weave to the sleeve. With right sides together pin the shirt sleeve to the paper and weave. Sew along the edge with a 1/4 inch seam allowance. Repeat with the other half of the sleeve.
Step Seven: Finish the sleeve. Turn both sides of the sleeve to the right side and top stitch close to the edge.
Step Eight: Follow the pattern instructions to insert the sleeve with the paper still attached. Once the sleeve is secured tear away the paper guide. Most of it should come off easily because of the perforations from the needle, but there may be a few areas (such as the double stitching along the edge) where you are left with scraps. Don't force the paper off or you risk pulling up stitches. Instead wait until your top is finished and soak it in warm water. The scraps should pull off more easily.

Once the sleeve is attached you can trim the excess off the ends of the strips. Also check your facing to make sure it doesn't show. If it does you can trim that back as well.
Step Nine: Apply the two remaining folded strips of fabric to your sleeve ends. Use a zigzag stitch and be sure to catch both sizes of the binding. You may want to pin the ends of the weave in place so that they don't shift while you sew them into the binding. Trim the ends and finish the shirt according to the pattern directions.

That's all you get to see for now. I'll reveal the finished shirt with the rest of my Spring Break look next week when I post in on the Project Run and Play sew along.

Have fun with the tutorial. Try different widths and tighter or looser weaves to get a custom look. Happy Sewing!
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