June 22, 2020
Today we are finishing up View B from 211 Two Middies, sewing the sleeves and hip band. Check out Days 1 (prep), Day 2 (View A), and Day 3 (starting View B).
Let's get to finishing up View B!
I can not tell you how excited I become when a garment I am working on, finally starts to take shape. I am happy to say that I am most pleased with my Middy Blouse View B results thus far. I so hope you are equally pleased with your project as well. We will be finishing up this version of the Middy Blouse by adding the sleeves and hip band, plus some finishing top-stitching and pleat details.
To finish up the making of the Middy Blouse View B, we will be using the remaining pattern pieces: Front Sleeve M, Back Sleeve N, Cuff O, and Hip Band P. Take notice that there is a women's and men's Cuff O and Hip Band P.
Below are the remaining pattern pieces we will be working with.
Final Pattern Adjustments Before Cutting Out Your Fabric
If you have not already done so, trace and cut out the remaining pattern pieces and make any adjustments required. We made grading adjustments in Day Three of the Sew Along to Front G and Back H of View B. If you made adjustments to the sides of the front an back of your blouse edges, you will need to make the same grading adjustment to Hip Band P with this Sew Along.
Grade the Hip band
To grade Hip Band P, add new strips of tracing paper to either side of the Hip Band P and secure with tape. Draw a horizontal line straight off the top and bottom edges on each side of the Hip Band P. Since we added 1/4 inch to each side of the front and back, we will add 1/4 inch to both sides of the Hip Band P. See the illustration below.
How to easily grade the Hip band P.
Simple Sleeve Width Grading
I have decided to grade the width of the sleeve pieces and cuff for a bit more room as well. The pleats could have been eliminated on the sleeve to garner more room, but I really like the look of the pleats and did not want to loose them. I added an extra 1/4 inch to the bottom edges of the front and back sleeve pieces and 1/4 inch to either side of the cuff. I graded my sleeve pieces and the cuff as demonstrated in the illustration below.
Use a hip curve or French curve to create a smooth continuous drawn line (the blue line in illustration) connecting the added measurement at the bottom edge with the tip of the sleeve edge. Do the same for the front sleeve and the back sleeve. the idea is to only add width to the bottom of the sleeve and leave the edge of the arm pit undisturbed.
How to Lengthen or Shorten Your Sleeves
The sleeve can easily be made longer or shorter, depending on your requirements. Use the line labeled "lengthen or shorten here" for lengthening or shortening. I decided to lengthen my sleeve by 1/2 inch.
Simply cut on the "lengthen or shorten here" line to separate the sleeve into two pieces. Then insert another piece of tracing paper behind the two original sleeve pattern pieces, to will allow for the increase. Be sure the extra tracing paper is big enough to provide enough overlap on the back side to secure to the original pattern pieces with tape. A bit of tape added to the front side will help as well. Draw a line to connect the two separated pieces of the sleeve. Trim any access tracing paper away. Now the sleeve pattern has been lengthened and ready to use.
To shorten the sleeve length, simply fold your pattern piece up making a pleat equal to one-half the amount you wish to shorten. tape it or pin in place to secure. There is no need to cut your pattern piece, simply pin or tape it in place. Keep it in tact for future use.
The Remaining Cut Out Fabric Pieces
Cut out all the remaining pattern pieces - two of each - if you haven't already. Your remaining fabric pieces should look like the illustration below.
Be sure to mark the right side of each of your cut out fabric pieces. Mark all instructional markings, such as the notches and pleats. It is not necessary to mark the button placement on the Hip Band. The button placement will depend on the size button you use and it is easy enough to measure the placement out when the time comes.
Step Three: Sleeves and Side Seams
The sleeve construction for this version of the Middy Blouse View B is comprised of a front and a back sleeve, along with a very simple, yet clever, cuff to finish the sleeve off. The sleeve quickly and easily attaches to the body of the blouse while laying flat.
First, make the pleats before sewing the front and back sleeve piece together.
The construction for the men and women's sleeve differs only in that the women's version has pleats and the men's does not.
Only the Women's Sleeve Gets the Pleats
Working on the right side, using the transfer markings for the pleat on both the Front Sleeve M and Back Sleeve N. Fold the pleat to the outside edge, matching markings, pin to secure, and press into place. Baste the pleat down just inside the 1/2 inch seam allowance to hold it in place.
Pleat on sleeve folded to the outside edge of the sleeve, pressed and baste stitched in place.
Now that the pleats are made, sew the the sleeve front and back together. With right sides together, matching the notches on the straight sides of each sleeve, pin and stitch together using the 1/2 inch seam allowance. Press open and finish seams, or finish seams together and press toward the back of the sleeve.
It is easy to get the sleeves confused and not realize it until it is time to sew the sleeves onto the body of the blouse. Ask me how I know? This is why marking the right sides of your fabric pieces is always a good idea.
Front Sleeve M and Back Sleeve N pinned right sides together.
Wrong side of sleeve with seams pressed open.
Due to the light weight of the handkerchief linen fabric I used to make my Middy Blouse View B, I decided to top-stitch on either side of the sleeve seam to create some extra strength and to add a bit of structural body to the sleeve. The top-stitching also anchors the seam allowance on the wrong side of the sleeve.
I chose to make my top-stitch with a thread that matches my linen fabric. A contrasting top-stitch thread could just as easily been used for a more contrasting and decorative design element. In this case I really like the subtle but addition detail that top-stitching lends. I used my ever so handy blind hem presser foot as a guide to accomplish this neat and easy detail.
Top-stitching on either side of the sleeve seam with blind hem presser foot as a guide.
Add the cuff to the Sleeve
Now that the sleeve is constructed, lets add the cuff. Do take note that adding the cuff is a bit different than expected... pleasantly so! The finishing work is easily done before sewing the sleeve to the body of the blouse.
With right side of the cuff to the wrong side of the sleeve, match the notch and edges. Ease the cuff and the sleeve into place and pin to secure. Stitch at the 1/2 inch seam allowance.
Cuff pinned to sleeve.
A Thought on Easing & Pinning
You may notice that I sometimes use a lot of pins and wonder why? This is a habit that ensures things stay where they are intended. When adding the cuff to the sleeve there is a fair amount of easing the pieces into alignment, so they fit together properly. If the pieces do not fit right, then the fabric will pucker and get caught up on itself when stitched. I like to take the extra time on the front end of tasks to help with my success rate, so I can keep moving forward. With all the time and attention this process takes, I pin a lot to help reduce the amount of do overs.
Easing needs to occur when two pieces meant to fit together don't. As in the this case, the cuff in a tad longer than the sleeve. This is in not an unusual occurrence in sewing and is often done on purpose to create dimensionality in the finished garment.
To make easing the cuff and sleeve together easier, start by aligning the notches first. Then work at aligning the outer edges. Being sure the 1/2 inch seam allowance intersections (Addressed in Day Three), align properly.
Think of the notch as an anchor that should not move. Pin it down first. Consider the outer edges as solid anchors too. Pin them down. Start easing and pining on either side of the notch. I like to divide the section I am trying to ease in half. Working in halves until the section is all eased into place and secured with lots of pins! This task takes a bit of time, but it pays off by creating a nice smooth fit that is a pleasure to sew, with no fiddling.
Back to Finishing the Cuff
After stitching the cuff to the sleeve, press the seam towards the cuff. Turn the remaining long edge of the cuff under 1/2 inch. Then, fold the cuff in half, having the folded edge cover the stitched seam. Make sure both cuffs are the same width. You can fold the cuff up as far as you like, making a wider cuff, as long as the stitched seam does not show on the right side of the fabric. Top-stitch to secure the cuff to the sleeve and to create a neat clean finish all in one go!
Cuff sewn to sleeve edge, seam pressed towards the cuff, and cuff edge turned under 1/2 inch.
The cuff folded in half and pinned to the sleeve.
Another view if the cuff pinned to the sleeve and ready to be top-stitched in place. Notice the crisp cuff edge.
The nice thing about this cuff design is that the hemming is already done before the sleeve is even attached to the blouse.
Top-stitch to secure the cuff to the sleeve and to create a neat clean finish all at once.
Add Sleeves to the Blouse
With right sides together, match notches 7 and 8. Ease into alignment and pin to secure. The Sleeve Back H (the smaller sleeve piece) should be positioned at the Blouse Back H. Stitch on the 1/2 inch seam allowance. Press the sleeve according to how you are finishing the seams, and finish the seams. The sleeve is now set. How easy!
Sleeve pinned at body matching notches 7 & 8.
I have pressed the seam towards the sleeve and top-stitch the sleeve edge to add the reinforcing details top-stitching provides.
Sleeve edge top-stitched to add reinforcing detail.
The blouse is about to become a functioning garment now! With right sides together, match the under arm seams and pin into place. Match the sleeves at the cuff edge and pin in place. Match the box, above the vent opening, and pin in place. Stitch the side seam on the 1/2 inch seam allowance, from the cuff edge to the vent box, back stitching at each end to secure. Press the seams open and finish.
Side seams pinned and ready to be sew up.
The vent serves as an opening at the bottom of the blouse where the hip band is connected. Because this is a pull-on-over-the-head design, the vent helps with easier access as well as being a lovely detail. Once the hip band is applied the effect is useful and distinct.
With the seams pressed open, turn the seam allowance under 1/4 inch and press. Turn again another 1/4 inch. Press and stitch close to the turned edge to secure. Create a horizontal stitch at the top of the box or vent opening to reinforce. Due to the pull-on-over-the-head design, this small area above the vent becomes a stress point, so it is best to give it a bit of extra strength with a few back stitches.
Step Four: Hip Band and Finishing
The pleats at the bottom edge of the blouse are a quiet complement to the pleats on the sleeve. Note that there is one pleat on each side, both front and back of the Middy Blouse View B for women. And there are two pleats on each side, both front and back of the Middy Blouse View B for men.
Use the pattern placement guide for the pleats. Working on the right side of the blouse, fold the pleat towards the outside edge, match the pleat edges. Press to create a crisp fold to the pleat. Pin and baste the pleat in place inside the seam allowance. Do this for all the pleats on the front of the blouse and the back of the blouse.
The Hip Band is the final piece to be attached and our blouse will be assembled! With right sides together, fold the Hip band in half lengthwise on the center fold and press. Stitch the short ends on the 1/2 inch seam allowance. I have pinned the length and the short ends to ensure everything lines up straight, before I press . . . just in case.
Hip Band pinned to ensure all edges are straight.
Pin the short ends and stitch the short ends on the 1/2 inch seam allowance.
Trim the excess seam allowance and the corner tips to create crisp corners and edges when turning to the right side.
Seam allowance trimmed away.
Corner edge trimmed carefully to help create a crisp corner when turned right side out.
With the hip band turned right side out it is time to do the final pressing before attaching the hip band to the blouse edge. Press the bottom folded edge of the hip band, and press the side seams.
Hip Band turned right side out and pinned again to align before the final pressing.
Sometimes the corners need a little help to crisp up the edges. It can be a simple as pulling the seam stitching out with a straight pin or needle. Perform this technique gently to prevent distorting the straight edge of your work.
Using a straight pin to gently pull the seam to shape a crisp corner.
Press, rolling the seam to the wrong side slightly. This will keep the seam from being seen on the right side of the garment.
Attaching the Hip Band
Attaching the hip band to the blouse is the same technique used in attaching the cuff to the sleeve. If you were surprised to find how nicely the cuff and sleeve went together, you will be equally please with this next step.
To attach the Hip band to the bottom edge of the blouse, match and pin right side of Hip Band to the wrong side of the blouse. The Hip Band is meant to sit on the hips loosely and the blouse edge billow softly on the band. As you align and pin, ease the two pieces if necessary. Stitch into place using the 1/2 inch seam allowance and press the seam towards the hip band.
Seam pressed towards the hip band.
Fold under the raw edge of the hip band 1/2 inch. This turned under edge should slightly cover the stitch line. Use the stitch line as a guide, but also measure the depth of your hip band to be sure this measurement is consistent across the length of the hip band. Measure from the bottom edge of the hip band to the turned under edge to ensure a consistent depth. You do not want one end of your hip band shorter than the other. Pin the turned under edge as you go.
Turning edge of hip band under 1/2 inch.
Another view of the turned under edge.
The hip band all pined down and ready for top-stitching.
Press the turned under edge to create a crisp edge.
Finishing the Hip Band
One of the things I like most about the Middy Blouse View B design, is how the finishing of the edges happens so easily and neatly. This is a technique that can be applied to other sewing projects as well. So, make a note, as to what you learned in applying the sleeve cuffs and the hip band, in this project. It is often handy to have alternative and smart techniques for finishing, cuffs, hip bands, and waistbands.
The top-stitching serves as a finishing stitch, as well as a construction stitch. Sew a top-stitch close to the pressed edge using a blind hem presser foot as a guide. Remember to remove the pins as you stitch to them. The blind hem presser foot does not hurdle the pins very well, which will disturb the clean finishing stitches. A final top-stitch does all the work.
Final Top-Stitching on the hip band.
Final Button Detail
Make the button holes on each side, of the front of the hip band edges. Your buttonholes placement will depend on the size and the number of buttons you decide upon, but our pattern suggests 3 half inch buttons. Sew and secure the buttons on the right side of the back hip band. Sew buttonholes on the front hip band on each side.
Three buttonholes on the front edges of the hip band.
Three Mother-of-Pearl buttons are the final touch on the hip band.
Another up close look at the hip band button detail.
I hope you are as pleased with your Middy Blouse View B results as I am. This blouse has so many details that blend together beautifully to make an interesting piece that invites closer inspection to fully appreciate all it has to offer.
Finished Middy Blouse View B
Back View Of Middy Blouse View B.
The last day of the sew along is tomorrow! We will finish with the neck tie - a perfect compliment to this shit.