One of the most common questions I got when the Ruby Dress pattern came out this summer was “can you add a sleeve to it?” It was hard for me to say “not yet!” but I knew that we had two new gathered sleeves coming out in both the Washi Expansion Pack and the Josephine pattern (we’re working on it!) that would work nicely with Ruby. I finally had a chance to test the Washi XP sleeve out on this Ruby top (fabric is Anna Maria Horner’s Field Study rayon challis) and it worked great!
I love a gathered sleeve because the generous fit means it’s comfortable, and it’s easy to sew because it will fit just about any armhole. Because I love to mix and match when I sew for myself, rather than making the same thing over and over (hence Washi XP), it made sense to design a sleeve that will be interchangeable with all of my patterns. At some point I would like to make an ungathered, fitted sleeve too, but I really prefer the gathered sleeve right now. Anyway, this is one step closer to my dream of creating a portfolio of women’s patterns that all work well together so you can make endless variations.
So you can see that I took these photos a while back, when I was about 12 weeks pregnant…not much of a belly to show for myself there yet! (Now? There’s no hiding it)
To add a Washi XP sleeve to Ruby (and this will work with the Josephine sleeve as well), you simply sew the entire dress or top together up to the side seam step, then gather the top of the sleeve between the marks and sew it to the armhole. Once the sleeve is attached, you can finish the side seams and hem the dress and sleeve, and you’re done. Pretty simple! It’s a bit more difficult to add a sleeve AND a lining for the Ruby yoke, but it can be done. If you really want to try this, you might want to email me first so I can send you a little step-by-step.
By the way, probably the second most common question I get about the Ruby is “can it be made with knits?” We added knits to the list of recommended fabrics for the main part of the Ruby, but not the yoke, with the idea that the yoke really shouldn’t be made from knits unless it’s a super-stable (non-stretchy) knit. It makes sense right? If your yoke stretches out, the whole top is going to look kinda saggy. So the answer is, yes, Ruby can be made with knit fabrics, but shoot for less stretchy knits like interlock or jerseys with less stretch to avoid getting a saggy yoke and armhole.