Sew Along: The Maybe Doll Blouson Sleeve
Updated: Oct 13, 2021
The Maybe Doll Pattern is such a fun and quick sew with a lot of potential within your closet. She's a great tried and true casual dress that can be quickly tossed on and super comfortable but in an instant she's can be dolled up for a special event – ya know, whenever we might actually have somewhere to go again.
Having some versatility in a pattern without taking on the complexity of a pattern hack was really important to me when I was creating the Sophomore Collection. The Maybe Doll started off as just a top, a personal pattern I designed a few years back but when I was developing the collection, I wanted makers to have some options within each pattern. So, I created The Maybe Doll to not just be a top but a dress too and added 6 different sleeve options.
Today, I thought we could walk through stitching up the blouson sleeve of The Maybe Doll Pattern. No matter what length you chose, styles F, G or H, this sew along is a step-by-step visual walk through to help you.
In this post I will be running through:
Finishing the sides of the Sleeve
Attaching the Tie Cuff
Inserting the blouson sleeve into the bodice armhole
Stitch it up...
It’s time to get some sleeves in your Maybe Doll. In this sew along we are opting for the blouson sleeve. Blouson is originally a French word meaning blouse but typically refers to something close fitting with blousing over material – Just like the sleeve we will be making today.
This blouson sleeve has 3 different lengths to choose from – short, 3/4 or full length. No matter what length you’ve chosen for your Maybe Doll the steps are the same.
Before we dive in, you might have noticed the Maybe Doll sewing pattern is intended for knit fabric. Well, we are going to break the sewing rules for knitwear and the next few steps need to be done with a standard straight stitch. Don’t worry, I’ve got your back on this but to allow for some stretch in your stitching, you'll need to lengthen the stitch length on your machine to between 3-4 – Or something in between your standard and widest stitch length.
These sleeves utilize one of my favorite binding methods that I like to call the, Sew. Flip. Fold. Bend. Sew. Method. (I dare you to say that five times fast!)
I’ve got a whole video tutorial on this method if you want to check it out in more detail here.
1. Grab your Sleeve Bindings. Working with one at a time, place it along the long edges of the Sleeve.
SEW down the length of the edge and binding at 1/4”.
2. FLIP the Binding away from the Sleeve and under stitch the Binding.
3. FOLD the Binding over the seam allowance. Feel free to press this step but I typically just do it simultaneously with steps bend and sew!
4. BEND the Binding again in the same direction, enclosing all the raw edges and onto the wrong side of the fabric.
5. SEW along the opposite edge of the Binding, attaching it to the Sleeve.
Now, repeat steps 1-5 on all 3 edges of the Sleeves.
6. Run a quick gathering stitch along the hem of each Sleeve. Gather the seam.
7. You should have cut the Sleeve Tie pattern piece that coordinates with the sleeve length you chose (F, G or H) Pick up the Sleeve Tie and place the gathered edge of the Sleeve along the Sleeve Tie, from notch to notch. Stitch just inside a 1/2" seam allowance between the notches attaching the Sleeve to the Sleeve Tie.
8. Now, fold the Sleeve Tie in half, lengthwise along the fold line with right sides together.
Starting at one side, stitch around the edge of the Sleeve Tie with 1/2" seam allowance, stopping a few inches past the first notch. Be sure to tuck the Sleeve out of the way, only stitching over what was previously sewn to the Sleeve Tie, so that the rest of the sleeve is not getting stuck within the seam.
Flip to the other end of the Sleeve Tie and repeat the last step, stitching a few inches past the notch. This will leave a little space for the Sleeve to poke out.
9. Trim any edges along the Sleeve Tie to allow for better turning and then flip everything right side out and give it a good press.
10. Top stitch the Sleeve Tie, end to end, making sure to close the opening left for turning.
Before heading onto the next step, I find it easier to manage if I tie the cuff at this point.
11. Head on up to check out the Sleeve's cap. If you’ve ever sewn a Tulip style sleeve this may look a bit familiar. Notice there’s a few notches going on up there. There are two notches toward the outer edges called the outer notch, a single indicating the front Notch, a double notch indicating the back notch, and a center notch indicating the under seam of the Sleeve.
12. We are going to be wrapping the sleeve cap around, matching the outer notches. With the Sleeve laying flat and the wrong side facing up, fold over the back of the sleeve.
Now, fold the front of the Sleeve over the back and match the outer notches together.
Run a basting stitch or pin the Sleeve's cap into place. This outer notch will now indicate the top of the Sleeve’s cap.
13.Okay, let’s get these sleeves set into our Maybe Doll!
With your garment inside out, match the Sleeve's center notch to the bodice’s side seam then the outer notch to the shoulder seam, right sides together.
The front and back notches don’t have coordinating notches, so don't panic. They are only there to help you determine front from back and not put your Sleeve in backwards.
Once you’ve placed the Sleeve in correctly matching the notches, stitch around the armhole attaching the Sleeve. Repeat to put the next Sleeve in.
You’ve got a beautiful blouson sleeve for your Maybe Doll. Thanks a million for sewing with me today, I hope you found this helpful.
Do you have a question? Want to see something specific? Let me know! Helping makers is totally my jam. So leave me a comment below.