Subversive Femme

Tutorial 3: Adding a 1940’s tuck to your Smooth Sailing sleeve

Sorry for the blog silence.
I’ve been busy at work and feeling so drained that I haven’t had the energy to sew or knit – let alone blog.

Now I’m back on my feet it’s time for another Tutorial… this time, making the Smooth Sailing blouse feel a bit more Forties by adding a sleeve tuck (like below).

And here’s a close up of my version with the modified tuck sleeve.

smooth sailing blouse wearing history novelty print 1930s 1940s
Fabric is ‘April Showers’, by Moda























This is a really simple way to adjust the sleeve, and it saves about 20cm on the overall yardage requirement for the pattern.

Step 1. Trace your sleeve pattern and all markings. The SS sleeve is puffed at the top, so we only need to add volume to the middle, and a tuck at the bottom.














Draw a line from centre top to bottom.

Step 2: Add depth to the bottom (optional). I wanted an extra inch in sleeve length.














Step 3: Draw a line horizontally across the sleeve, from the armscye to armscye (widest points).
Cut up the vertical line to the top of the sleeve, stopping just before the edge.














Cut from the middle of the sleeve, along the lines to the base of the armscyes, stopping just before the edges.

Lay the pattern down, and separate the vertical split by the amount you want. I wanted 1.5 inches for a moderate tuck, but 2-3 inches would look great too.

Pin the top half of the pattern down. The cut should be making a V shape.

Step 4: Swing the bottom half of the pattern up, until the cut sides are equally opposite each other – this is the tuck.














Measure how far ‘up’ you moved the bottom half, and mark the distance to the centre bottom of the sleeve.

Step 5: With a curve, gently redraw the bottom of the sleeve to align with the marks you just made.














Draw around the pattern piece, and mark how high you want your pleat to be (mine was 3.5 inches, not including seam allowance).

Step 6: Done!














Just sew your pleat/tuck before adding any cuffs/hemming, press, and set it in the blouse as you would the normal sleeve.

1940s smooth sailing blouse novelty fabric shirt wearing history moda fabric april showers
Would you believe this is the 15th time I’ve sewn up this pattern?





















I hope this Tutorial proves helpful to some adventurous sewers, and I’ll see you again soon!

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No Comments

  • Reply
    Cherry Darling
    October 22, 2014 at 7:00 am

    I'm still a novice seamstress but this looks like a great detail to add to modern patterns to give them a vintage feel. Thank you for a great tutorial.

    She Knits in Pearls

  • Reply
    October 22, 2014 at 7:17 am

    Great tutorial and wonderful fabric!

  • Reply
    October 22, 2014 at 12:52 pm

    Great idea and a really lovely fabric! The Smooth Sailing blouse is my alltime favorite blouse as well.

  • Reply
    Jessica Cangiano
    October 22, 2014 at 5:17 pm

    Such a pretty sleeve design that sings out vintage instantly. Your fabulous handmade blouses always leave me smitten, dear gal!

    ♥ Jessica

  • Reply
    Claire Gittins
    October 27, 2014 at 12:47 pm

    This sleeve and blouse look fab! I'll have to remember this tutorial for a project in the future…

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