Shift Dress Sewalong: Sleeve Frill

sleeve frill banner

We're back with another Ultimate Shift tutorial. This time we're going to go through how to make and attach the sleeve frills.


First we're going to finish the armholes. Using either a zigzag stitch or an overlocker, sew around the outside of the armhole. This will encase the raw edge and minimise fraying.


Next turn over this finished raw edge to the inside of the garment  by 1cm max and iron. Topstitch it in place, remembering start at the underarm seam so your backstitch won't be on show.


Pin two of the sleeve pieces right sides together along the long straight edge.


Sew this edge.


Turn the sleeve back on itself so the wrong sides are together and press with the seam right on the edge.


Finish the side edges and the long curved edge using an overlocker or a zigzag - stitching the edges together.


Along the long curved edge sew two rows of gather stitches using a 4mm stitch length with a 0.5cm and 1.4 cm seam allowance. You don't need to backstitch here.


Remember to leave the thread tails long at both ends.

So that we can get the placing right, mark the centre of the sleeve frills with a pin. You can do this by folding the sleeve piece in half lengthways and popping a pin in at the fold.


Now gently pull on the long threads to gather up the sleeve.


Insert the sleeve into the armhole, aligning the centre of the frill with the shoulder seam on the dress.

Distribute the gathers as evenly as you can around the sleeve opening and pin in place. The postitioning of the sleeve is up to you - if you want fewer gathers pin the sleeve further around the armhole; if you want a fuller frill gather it up more.


When it's all pinned, make sure your stitch length is set back to 2.5mm, and topstitch the sleeve onto the dress. Follow the line of stitching you already made when you sewed when you hemmed the sleeve.

Now all you need to do is hem your dress or your top and voila!

You can find the Ultimate Shift Dress pattern here
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