For some reason I just did not expect after waiting 3 months for the matching fabric and lace motifs that the fabric would be just one yard of tulle, garden variety chain store tulle, flimsy, thin, essentially air holes held together with thread. The bride and her father wanted big poofy sleeves for all the wild Irish jump dancing, high kicks, arm waving, and quick spins that they would be doing. This was no time for snug fitting demure puppies…so what I attempted to create was (if you are old enough to remember) Imelda Marcos sleeves using two layers of wimpy tulle…oh yes, and all the added 8 heavily beaded lace motifs. I had one day to perform this trick before the wedding…no pressure!
First I stacked the 2 layers of tulle and spray starched the crap out of them for some body, any body.
Using the sample fitted chiffon sleeve, I split it and added the volume:
Then I added another seam allowance all around for even more ease and a higher cap. The sleeves were cut out and the motifs were positioned so they would be mirror images. Who thinks about this ahead of time? Happy with the spacing etc. I sewed the two layers together using a French seam to act as the clean hem and then started pinning like crazy. So after adding all that ease… and in honor of Imelda, I started pleating the sleeve caps after all I only had 16 inches of armhole circumference to work with/
squeeze into. All the motifs were hand sewn with Mettler Metrolene polyester thread 120 wt. which is very thin and fragile but it had to be almost invisible on the back of the tulle. Every edge had to sewn to the tulle and also the weight of the beads required/ forced me to run thread down through every center area too…because I had loads of time/ ultimate patience to finish this….NOT!
Sleeve caps matching, let’s insert these puppies!
Now, before anything could be attached, the rough armhole edges had to be covered with handmade Ambiance rayon bias strips skin colored and hand sewn and attached both sides…but I had lots of time…NOT.
One good thing is the seam allowance from all those pleats will act as a sleeve head…not much but a little when flipped. I was able to machine stitch FINALLY for about 3/4 of the insertion and the rest by hand. Lord knows I didn’t want those sleeves to rip off during the dance production!!! And voila’ we have sleeves…the finished front: She is ready for her wild wedding dancing debut!
Next time a fancy bustle and a real dramatic alteration on my own clothes…HOLY MOLEY! Winter has returned…snow is predicted and the birds are wolfing down seeds like crazy…do they know something we don’t?