Best Summer Gown Checklist: 15 Hacks for 2022

Geri In Stitches, where I share with you my love for sewing. And this week I'm going to show you how I hacked the sleeves of the Wilder Gown into poofier, longer sleeves - a very fun hack! and the Wilder Gown of course, is this garment that I'm wearing right now - designed by Friday Pattern Company. And I'm stepping back so that you can see it in its full glory. This has two gathered tiers added to the bodice of the dress and you can also make it into a blouse in the original pattern.

And there are also two sleeve variations - one is the shorter sleeve version, which you see on me right now. There's also a longer sleeve version which makes the sleeve like a three-quarter length sleeve. Now what i'm going to show you is how I made the sleeves poofier and longer. This dress is a very popular pattern in the sewing community because it is relatively easy to sew, and very easy to wear. All you have to do is just pull it over your head, and you're ready to go. And it gives you this very relaxed easy breezy vibe, and at the same time it's very stylish.

The genius detail in this design is the ruffled collar which is gathered up together with neckties, and you can choose to wear this opened or closed. Now this genius detail is also the detail that makes it a little bit tricky to hack the sleeves because essentially the collar is an extension of the sleeve and bodice patterns. So i'm going to show you how i hacked it but in the meantime i want to show you a version of the puffier sleeve so that you know what we're headed for before I go into all the technical details. Here we go - ta-da! Here's another version of the wilder gown - this time in 100% silk chiffon. It's transparent or translucent so I'm wearing a bathing suit underneath for modesty. But I love how the wilder gown feels in lighter fabrics like this and you can see the extra poof or extra volume that I added to the sleeve.

This fullness in the sleeve is then gathered together at the end with an elasticated band, and I like this end-off of the sleeve because I can choose to loosen it, and then the sleeves will fall at this length. Or I can choose to lift it up higher and I kind of create more poof at the bottom of the sleeve. The length of this sleeve right now is actually the original length of the longer version in the original pattern - I didn't make any length adjustments. But in this version that I'm going to do with you I'm going to also lengthen it. on top of making it poofier - so I hope you're ready to jump into this hack grab the stuff that you need and let's get technical. Let's go. Here's the sleeve paper pattern of the Wilder Gown. The first thing I do is to draw in the approximate center vertical line onto the original pattern.

This is important because it will be the grain line that will be transferred to the new paper pattern that we're drafting. So here it is - the new grain line. Next I am retracing the pattern onto some drafting or tracing paper. I am using the slash-and-spread method for modifying the sleeve pattern. After taping down the original pattern and tracing paper so that they do not shift, the first marking that I transfer is the grain line that I drew in in the first step. I am extending the grain line beyond the original sleeve hem because I want to lengthen it. I use a pencil to retrace the outline of the original pattern, and a clear plastic ruler really helps to retrace the pattern as well. Once I have the outline done then i transfer all important markings - like the notch attaching to the front bodice, and the notches attaching to the back bodice. Next I also transfer the lengthen/shorten line from the original pattern because I'm using this as a guide when I slash and spread for the new pattern. In addition I mark in the lines that form the collar: the first line indicates the first fold, which is a half inch away from the top edge; and the second line is the second fold lined which is two inches away from the first; and the third line indicates where the first fold line will meet it and that is another two inches from the second line.

I am lengthening the sleeve by five inches and I measure the extension first at the grain line and make a mark there. The original pattern is a three-quarter sleeve, and five inches is a good length for me to extend the sleeve to end at my wrist. Draw a parallel line to the original sleeve hem five inches away then extend the side sleeve seams to meet the new bottom edge of the sleeve, and this is the extended sleeve length now drawn in. And we're ready for the next step. Now time to draw in the parallel slash lines - the first one is already on the paper - it's the grain line which is the approximate center vertical line. Then I draw two more next to this center line - each two inches apart on one side of it, then two more on the other side. And all in all there will be five parallel slash lines drawn in, and the sleeve pattern piece will be divided into six different parts or sections. Once the slash lines are drawn in, then we are ready to cut out the pattern piece. And this is what it looks like at this stage in comparison to the original pattern.

The slash lines can be clearly seen when I bring it closer to the camera, and they are ready to be slashed or cut. Start the cuts from the bottom edge of the sleeve but leave a few millimeters uncut at the top edge which means we are not cutting through these sections completely. After cutting the other four slash lines in this manner you will end up with a pattern piece that looks something like this. Set aside the slashed pattern piece for now and lay out a fresh piece of tracing or drafting paper, and draw out a perpendicular line on the paper. And this will be the grain line of the new sleeve pattern. I am going to spread out the slashed pattern on the new drafting paper which is underneath it. I start by taping down the top edge with a couple pieces of sticky tape. Now what's important here is to align the grain line of the slashed pattern with the grain line of the new drafting paper at the top edge of the paper pattern. This means that half of the slashed pattern will be on one side of the new grain line and the other half on the other side. Once the top edge is temporarily anchored down, then i start spreading the slashed sections.

I want to make sure that the two center slash sections are equally spaced from the grain line of the new draft beneath. I am spreading the slashed sections two inches apart at the lengthen/shorten lines which was previously marked on the slashed pattern, and this means that the center slash sections will each be one inch away from the grain line of the drafting paper. I tape the center sections down once they are equally spaced then I go ahead and spread open the other slashed sections which are going to be two inches apart at the lengthen/shorten line. Now this two inch spacing is completely arbitrary - you can choose to space the slashed sections further apart which would yield even more volume in your sleeve, and the opposite is true: less distance in the spacing will produce a sleeve with less volume.

You may also choose to spread out the slashed sections at the bottom edge of the sleeve instead of at the lengthen/shorten line and if so then the spacing between the slashed sections would be greater for the same amount of poof volume. A quick comparison of what we have now with the original pattern will show you how much volume we've added to the sides and to the bottom of the sleeve. I will trace out the outline of this new draft with a pencil, and it's also good to transfer important markings like the lengthen/shorten line and the original hem line - which you will notice are now curved in relationship to the grain line. The fold lines at the collar are also curved after slashing and spreading and while it's okay to have curved lines at the hem these curved lines at the collar will be problematic when folding and sewing it up. Mainly because the top edge is narrower than the bottom collar line so when we fold it up, and sew it up there will not be enough fabric at the top fold line to meet with the bottom edge of the collar.

If we take a look at the original collar section you'll see that the corners of the pattern meet at right angles so the next step is to copy this shape of the original collar onto the new collar section of the new sleeve pattern. Essentially we have to take out these curves, and replace the collar section with edges meeting at right angles. To do so first draw a straight line that will connect the corners of the current collar. Then we have to use a tool, like a protractor, to measure out the right angles, and align one edge of the right angle of the protractor with the line that was just drawn; and the other perpendicular edge of the protractor will meet at the mark indicating the bottom of the collar. The same thing will be done to the other side of the collar to produce the other right-angled corner. The result is an almost rectangular shape and now you see me measuring the original side seam of the collar to compare it to the freshly drafted seam. The former measures 3mm more than the latter, and I do the same check on the other collar seam, which yields the same result.

What I have to do is lengthen the new seams so that it matches the original, and i do this by adding 3mm to the top edge of the collar. This has to be done so that the collar side seams will match up perfectly with the bodice seams when we are sewing. For example here's the front bodice piece of the dress pattern and I am double checking that the collar side seam here on the front will match up perfectly with the collar side seam of the freshly drafted sleeve pattern piece. It's a fit so we are good to go. This new draft of the collar has produced a steeper pivot point when front and sleeve pattern pieces are going to be sewn together. And later on I will show you how to sew this seam properly when we're connecting the front bodice pieces to the sleeve pieces and also the back bodice pieces to the sleeve pieces. It mainly requires a snip in the seam allowance at the pivot point to make sure the seam would lay nice and flat. So now the collar section of the sleeve pattern piece is drafted and I am ready to move on to draft the bottom hem of the sleeve. As you can see the hem is curved after slashing and spreading, and there's the option to keep it as is, but I'm going to draft a slight s-curve instead.

Here's an example on another sleeve pattern piece so that you understand what I'm trying to do here. First I divide the sleeve hem into 3 thirds - so I measure the total curved distance, and divide that measurement into 3. Then I mark the 1/3 divisions on the sleeve hem. Now on the back of the sleeve I measure about a 1/2 inch down from the 1/3 mark and this would indicate where part of the s-curve would hit. And on the front of the sleeve I measure a 1/2 inch up from the 1/3 marking and this would indicate where the other part of the s-curve would hit. Then with the help of a French curve we can connect these points together creating a s-curve at the bottom hem of the sleeve. When this is done then we've finished drafting the sleeve pattern piece of the Wilder Gown, and we can go ahead and remove the slashed pattern pieces and cut out the new sleeve pattern. Give yourselves a pat on the back! So here's the shape of the new sleeve pattern when it's cut out, and here's the original sleeve pattern for comparison. And this is how much volume we've added with the slash and spread method and you can see that the new shape has created a kind of bishop sleeve that is much fuller at the hem than it is at the middle and at the top. Make sure that the new pattern piece has all the important markings included.

At this point I like having the fold lines drawn in at the collar. I've also transferred the front and back notches, and here's the all-important grain line of the sleeve. Because the sleeve is lengthened I find it useful to have an added notch on the sides of the sleeve - this is 5 inches from the bottom edge, and here's the matching notch on the other side. And this really helps as a guide when connecting this seam which is cut on a slight bias. And here's another look at the s-curve of the bottom hem and I will show some tips and tricks while hemming this curved hem later with an elastic band. So basically we are ready to cut out fabric on this pattern piece because it is completely ready. I recommend using any light to medium weight fabrics for your poofy-sleeved wilder gown and you want to cut 2 mirrored pieces for your sleeves. There's actually very little deviation from the sewing instructions when sewing with this new sleeve pattern piece, so you want to follow the instructions provided in the booklet when preparing the front bodice.

And when it comes to attaching the sleeve to the front and back bodices sew them up as described in the instructions matching at the notches. My only tip is that before finishing the seams with a serger or with an overlocking or zigzag stitch you want to snip into the seam allowance at the pivot point where the collar meets the sleeve, without cutting into the stitches of the seam. I leave about 3mm spacing between the snip and the stitches, and this snip will provide the give that is required for the seam to lay flat when we press it out. And there you go here it is. Then I bring this to the overlocker or the machine to finish it up. If you are finishing the seam on a regular sewing machine remember to trim it before sewing on your zigzag or overlocking stitch. I start serging from the top edge of the collar and when I arrive at the pivot point, I angle the seam so that the seam line feeds into the machine on a straight line. And you can do the same when you are doing this on a regular machine. Finish up all the seams that connect sleeve to bodices in this way then continue sewing up the garment according to instructions: constructing the collar and sewing up the side seams. Give all the seams a good press, and I'll show you what the garment looks like now at this point in time. What's left to do here is to finish up the sleeve hems with a channel for the elastic band to feed through. All the fullness of the sleeve is going to be gathered up at the hem with an elastic band. And here are some tips on sewing up a channel on a curved hem for the elastic band to feed through.

First I sewed a row of gathering stitches scant of 1cm away from the bottom edge and I use the longest stitch available on my machine and I do not back stitch and I make sure that there are thread tails on each end. Then I pull on the thread tails to gather up the bottom edge, and I am not pulling too much. I just want to create a slight pucker so that it'll be easier to fold the bottom edge over by 1cm and then another fold slightly wider than 1cm. I am using elastic that is 0.8cm wide so this channel will be wide enough for it. I sew down the channel close to the folded edge and I leave a gap about 5cm open so that there's an entry and exit point for the elastic band to feed through. The length of the elastic should be an inch or two wider than your wrist. And I always make a marking on both ends of the elastic to make sure that the band is not twisting while it is making its way through the channel. The relatively short elastic band has a long way to travel in the long hem so I secure a safety pin on each end to ensure that the band doesn't get lost inside the channel. Carefully feed the elastic band through and when that's done the markings ensure that the elastic is not twisted and the ends can be sewed down with zigzag stitches. You may have to do some fittings before sewing to determine the exact length of elastic band required for the width of your wrist or arm.

Close up the gap in the elastic band channel, finish up the hem of the blouse, or sew on your gathered tears for the dress, and your Wilder Gown with poofier sleeves is done! I like to wear this with the collar opened or closed and the extra pouf in the sleeves also extend to the raglan sleeves near the collar, which is a detail I like as well .

I've cinched in my blouse at the waistline with an elastic band so that I can wear it cropped, and the bishop sleeves are giving me wicked pirate vibes, which i think is really cute. If you like this content please remember to subscribe to my channel, give me a thumbs up, or send me a comment and ring that bell! You can also follow me on Instagram, or check out my blog. In the meantime here are my three versions of the Wilder Gown by Friday Pattern Company and I hope this video inspires you to make poofy sleeves to go with this fantastic pattern. Till next time, happy sewing and thanks for watching! 

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