OTC-011 Off The Cuff ~Sewing Style~: Gathered Sleeve or Puffed Sleeve? ...it's All About the Seam Allowances <body><script type="text/javascript"> function setAttributeOnload(object, attribute, val) { if(window.addEventListener) { window.addEventListener('load', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }, false); } else { window.attachEvent('onload', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }); } } </script> <div id="navbar-iframe-container"></div> <script type="text/javascript" src="https://apis.google.com/js/platform.js"></script> <script type="text/javascript"> gapi.load("gapi.iframes:gapi.iframes.style.bubble", function() { if (gapi.iframes && gapi.iframes.getContext) { gapi.iframes.getContext().openChild({ url: 'https://www.blogger.com/navbar.g?targetBlogID\x3d10604511\x26blogName\x3dOff+The+Cuff+++++++++~Sewing+Style~\x26publishMode\x3dPUBLISH_MODE_BLOGSPOT\x26navbarType\x3dTAN\x26layoutType\x3dCLASSIC\x26searchRoot\x3dhttps://off-the-cuff-style.blogspot.com/search\x26blogLocale\x3den\x26v\x3d2\x26homepageUrl\x3dhttps://off-the-cuff-style.blogspot.com/\x26vt\x3d-7200128261330671945', where: document.getElementById("navbar-iframe-container"), id: "navbar-iframe" }); } }); </script>


Gathered Sleeve or Puffed Sleeve? ...it's All About the Seam Allowances

First...Since many wondered what I'd be making with that luscious striped Japanese knit (shown in a previous post) , you'll see it pictured above, made into the HotPatterns Riviera AnnisetteTop. The Riviera Annisette Top has gathered sleeves, but I chose to alter the sleeve pattern and make long plain sleeves instead. Why? I just felt that there was enough interest in the fabric itself, and didn't want to muddy it up with more details.

Now to begin this discussion of gathered sleeve caps, take a look at the blue top, above. It has gathered sleeves that are very subtle. When you make a top, dress or blouse with sleeve cap gathers, you have a choice to make them "puffed" or simply gathered into soft folds. It's all about the way the sleeve cap seam allowances are pressed.

When the seam allowances are pressed towards the sleeve, you have puffy sleeves like the example to the right.  In my opinion, puffy sleeves are usually better suited to the very young...but to each her own :)

Pressing the seam allowances towards the "body" (neckline) of the garment, results in sleeve cap gathers that lay  "flatter", and present more subtle folds.  It's a small detail, but one that is usually kinder to a mature figure.

Directing the seam allowances of gathers one way or the other can make a difference in other areas of a garment. For instance, pressing the seam allowance of a gathered skirt of a dress "up" towards the bodice will encourage the gathers to lay more flat, in smooth folds. Pressing those same gathers "down" (towards the hem) , will encourage the gathers to puff-up.  It's all about the look you prefer...and now you know you have a choice.

Sewing Notes: Yokes on both of the tops shown interfaced with PRO-SHEER ELEGANCE Light Fusible Interfacing from  

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Blogger Gorgeous Things said...

Pam, that's fascinating! I had never given much thought to the pressing of the gathers. Probably because I have never liked puff sleeves, even when I was younger. Thanks for the tip!

1:16 PM  
Blogger Summerset said...

I agree with the choice of look - I think the flatter version is much more flattering. I actually don't like gathers at the sleeve head at all, but that's personal taste.

The top with the Japanese knit it lovely - good choice of pattern!

3:55 PM  
Blogger gwensews said...

Both tops are lovely. I don't care for gathered sleeve caps,but I do like a pleat in the center. As always, beautiful sewing.

6:05 PM  
Blogger susan said...

You win the Oscar for the most concise, helpful, well-illustrated sewing post of 2009. Thank you!

7:28 PM  
Blogger Ann Made Studio said...

Truly love both tops. The Japanese fabric looks beautiful made up in this pattern.

9:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How would you alter the cap of the sleeve if you would want to eliminate the gathers altogether?
I appreciate your tips as they are very helpful
Thank You

7:13 AM  
Blogger Pam Erny said...

Hi Marie,
In order to ADD gathers to a sleeve, you slash the cap,and spread it out.
SO...when I wanted to eliminate the gathers, I made a few vertical slashes about 7" long between the "gather notches" of the pattern, then overlapped them. I held them in position with "painters tape". I then measured the entire length of the sleeve cap and compared it to the the length of the armsyce (armhole). Then I adjusted my "slashes" so that I had 1/2-inch of ease in the sleeve cap, re-taped it to hold the slashes in position...and my new sleeve was complete ! I'll TRY to do a blog post showing the entire sequence with photos within the next few days ;)

10:07 AM  
Blogger Sigrid said...

Great explanation of the difference the way of pressing the seam allowance make. Couldn't be more clearly said.

4:42 PM  
Blogger Kirsten said...

Thank you, such a simple solution but not one that I had actually thought of, I am about to make dresses for my granddaughters, I will use this iron towards the cap advice. Kirsten

1:48 AM  

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