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Monday, May 7, 2012

Adding Capped Sleeves To A Special Occasion Dress

To become the "maid of honor" at her mommy's upcoming wedding reception, this little princess tried on eight beautiful dresses. They were shades of raspberry and olive green. She looked absolutely adorable in them all! Most had capped sleeves or a cute little jacket. This one had no sleeves but was also the perfect match for this cute girl. I  decided it would be easy to add some capped sleeves.
The fabric was actually difficult to match. My little angel went with me looking for a simple satin or tulle to match. We found only hot pink and maroon, which didn't look okay at all! So we decided to take a stroll in Walmart to look. We found this wonderful shimmering raspberry tulle which was perfct, and only $2.47 a yard. Awesome!

I used an old pattern piece to make my cap-sleeve pattern on. I adjusted the size by pinning it into the dress until I got the shape and length I wanted. I folded the tulle so that the straight edge was a fold and cut double fabric (2 layers) for each sleeve. Is that confusing? Two pieces folded (4 layers thick).

This shows where I've sewn a basting stitch close to the edge, twice to make pulling the threads to gather easier. I then measured the sleeve to see the length the entire cap sleeve would attatch, which was ten inches. Instead of just sewing this directly to the sleeve I used satin ribbon (cut ten inches) for two reasons. The outer layer of the dress top is a rose-looking textured satin that I didn't want  to stitch over and the tulle would be itchy inside of the sleeve. I pinned the tulle to the ribbon then gathered.

On the inside of the dress I pinned the sleeve so the satin covers the gathered edge, matching the center of the sleeve to the center seam of the top.

I then hand stitched the sleeve by sewing on top of the satin ribbon, catching the inside of the sleeve, but not going through to the fancy outside.

After reaching the end ot the sleeve I sewed back on the other edge of the ribbon, enclosing the gathered edge inside the ribbon. Now the inside of the sleeve is smooth and comfortable.

Since she hates scratchy dance costumes and fancy dresses, and the waste of this dress bugged her when we bought it, I decided to add satin ribbon to the inside of the waste. I hand stitched satin ribbon carefully, first attatching the top of the dress and then coming back with my needle over the skirt, both directions being careful not to catch the outside layer with my neede. Now it's comfortable!


  1. That turned out great! Now you are one step closer to the preps for the wedding. :)

  2. You were right about her facial expression. Ha ha ha. It looks pretty! I think you need to come sew satin inside all Caiti's clothes so she will want to wear them.

    1. I know! I was totally thinking about Caiti when Jos was trying on dresses and when I said I'd make her dress comfortable. She keeps whining about how she needs a full slip because she doesn't trust me, but I ordered a half slip anyway =)

  3. Beautiful! Great job on the sleeves. I think you can sew ANYTHING!!