Up In Arms

~Learn How to Sew on Sleeves to Your  Doll Clothes~

From fabrics to notions, you must be armed (yes, pun intended) with information. Dolly’s sleeves will not be sewn on using the conventional set-in sleeve way. It is important to learn how to sew on sleeves to dolly’s clothes and how it differs from standard patterns.

straight sleeves

Gathered Straight Sleeve

What happens first?

Decide what type of sleeves you want to use. Each of our doll clothing patterns give you specific instructions for each sleeve as well as how to finish the lower edge of each sleeve.

Different sleeve options

elastic puff sleeve

Puffy, Elastic Lower Edge Sleeve

…The quickest and simplest sleeve is made by creating an elastic casing, turning the bottom edge up 1/2” and after stitching, threading the elastic through.  Pin to hold the elastic in place until the final stitches are ready to be made.
…An elastic ruffled sleeve requires that the clear elastic is stretched and sewn on the sleeve’s wrong side, 1” above the finished edge. Clear elastic stretches much better than regular elastic and it makes it easier to slide dolly’s arms in and out of the finished sleeve. It is best to finish the bottom edge of the sleeve using a hem or lace prior to stitching the elastic on. This will add a ruffle at the bottom of a puff sleeve.

…Add a band on a puff sleeve, create cuffed roll-up sleeves, or have dolly wear long sleeves with or without cuffs. Remember, each one of the doll clothing patterns will direct you to the type of sleeve you should use, but know that there are many options to add variety to your sleeves.

How to Sew on Sleeves:

Since the sleeve’s opening is so small, be sure to leave the side seam open when you sew the sleeve to the bodice. Make sure the lower edge of your sleeve is fully finished before attaching it to the bodice.

3 different sleeves

Cuffed Straight Sleeve; Puffy, Lower Elastic Casing; Straight, Roll-up Sleeve.

With that in mind, it is time to run your gathering thread over the sleeve cap. Stitch two rows of gathering threads 1/8” and 3/8” from the edge of each sleeve head.  Pull the two gathering threads at the same time for even gathers. Stitch down the middle of the two rows as you stitch the sleeve cap into the armhole seam with a regular (2.5) stitch. This should give you a seam allowance of 1/4” from the edge of the sleeve for your final stitching.  Next, pull the two rows of gathering stitches out and finally, zig-zag the sleeve’s seam allowance in order to finish the raw edges.  This seam should lay into the sleeve.

Now you are ready to put it all together. Sew the sleeve underarm seam and the bodice side seam all at once. Match the sleeve hem, the armhole seams, and the lower edge of the side seam.  Zig-zag finish the stitched edge for neatly completed the side seams.

Armed with these tips and tricks, you can now successfully enjoy sewing sleeves on any of our doll clothing patterns. Now roll up your sleeves and get to work! Then sit back and enjoy your dolly’s beautiful bodice and finished sleeves.

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