Thursday, April 30, 2015

SHB Sew-Along Convertible Mitten Cuff Tutorial (Caveat emptor!)

If you've been following my blog for any amount of time, you probably know that I consider myself a learner and thoroughly unqualified to write tutorials. You probably don't know that I studied Latin in high school. It's true. So, when I say "Caveat emptor!" which is how the Romans said "buyer beware!", what I mean is that I'm really happy with how my little convertible mitten cuffs came out on Taco's new pj's and happy to share, but you should use this method at your own peril. I am not an expert and I'm a sleep starved new parent; there may be a better way and my method may sound like I'm speaking a dead language...

Disclaimer over. Here we go...

SHB Mitten Cuff Tutorial (shudder)

The neat thing about this little cuff is that you don't have to convert the single-piece sleeve into a two-piece sleeve. Instead, we are going to add a dart that will encase one side of the mitten. The other side will be encased in the seam allowance.

First, trace your long sleeve pattern piece, adding a little length (1" or so) so that it is long enough to cover baby's cute little hand. We're going to alter this piece in a minute, so don't cut it out yet.

My pattern pieces

Next, figure out how big you want your cuff/mitten to be.  I wanted mine to be about 2 1/2" tall (unhemmed) and half the width of the sleeve plus seam allowance that would be encased in the dart. I figured this out by measuring the cuffs of the RTW gowns that Taco is currently wearing.

Now let's think about the dart we are going to create.  I decided that a dart that was 1 1/2" wide at the base and 3 1/2" tall (1" taller than the cuff) would nicely enclose the cuff's raw edge. So, I drew that dart into the middle of the sleeve. 

What the altered sleeve should look like
Since I didn't want to make the sleeve any narrower than it was meant to be, I then added 3/4" (half the dart width) to each seam allowance, tapering it to nothing at 3 1/2", replacing the fabric that would be taken up by the dart. See the above picture if that makes no sense. 

Next, create the mitten/cuff pattern piece. This is easy: it's just a rectangle.  Make your mitten piece half the width of the altered sleeve at the hem x twice the length that you want the cuff to be.  I made mine 3.75" wide x 5" tall.  You will be folding this piece in half.

Ok. Your pattern is complete. Go cut your fabric, mark the darts, and get ready to sew! 

First, fold your cuff in half along the fold line with the wrong sides together and press it. 

Next, line it up on your sleeve, like so:

The cuff should be placed with one raw edge lined up with the seam allowance and the opposite one bisecting the dart. You want the cuff to be on the front of the sleeve. Baste if you wish, so the cuff doesn't move around.

Now, sew your dart, making sure to catch the raw edges of the folded cuff piece inside the dart.

Sew that dart!

Give the dart a good press. I pressed the dart away from the cuff piece so there would be less bulk. The right side of your sleeve should look like this...

Yours will probably be better pressed than mine!

See the dart in the center of the sleeve? It fully encases the raw edge of the cuff piece and extends about an inch longer than it.

That's all the extra work you need to do. Just sew the sleeve into the gown, or whatever cute baby item you are sewing, catching the remaining raw edge of the cuff in the seam of the sleeve.

Finished gown with mitten cuff!

You can finish the sleeve hem however you like - with a twin needle, simply turned and stitched or with bias. I made mine match the neck finish.

Flipped over mitten for those little fingers

Voila! You are a convertible cuff genius!

So we are down to the end of the SHB Sew-Along!  If you've sewn something for the baby or parent in your life, be sure to leave a comment here or on Cindy's or Mikhaela's blogs. You can post photos of your makes on Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #SHBsewalong, or post to our Flickr group. We've got some great prizes for some of our sew-alongers!

1 comment:

Clio said...

Brilliant, thank you! Makes perfect sense to me! Though I did a lot of Latin at school too so maybe that helped :-)