Geranium Expansion Pack: the gathered sleeve

made by rae GXP gathered sleeve

A gathered sleeve was the first long sleeve I ever experimented with adding to the Geranium Dress, and I knew it had to be a part of the Geranium Expansion Pack! I love the softer look that the the little gathers at the shoulder adds to the dress, and it’s even easier to add than a fitted sleeve!

Geranium XP - gathered sleeves

The gathered sleeve comes with three length options: short, elbow-length, and long. The long sleeve has a gathered elastic cuff, while the two shorter lengths are hemmed without gathering, though you could definitely add elastic to those, too.

Here’s the short gathered sleeve, in the tiny newborn size:

Geranium XP - gathered sleeves

I love the elbow-length gathered sleeve, which creates a lovely bell shape!

Geranium XP - gathered sleeves

And finally, the long gathered sleeve with the elastic cuff:

Geranium XP - gathered sleeves

For our cover sample, we combined the gathered sleeve paired the neck bow, the longer bodice (bodice extension), as well as a zipper in the back (not shown), and the result is absolutely lovely in this rose-colored double gauze.

Geranium Expansion Pack sewing pattern

You can see the contrast between the fitted sleeve and the gathered sleeve in the photo below. The gathered sleeve is wider than the fitted sleeve throughout the arm, but not too wide. I worked hard on this sleeve to try to get the width just right!

Geranium Expansion Pack sewing pattern

Choose a lighter fabric for the gathered sleeve
One thing I’d like to emphasize is that the gathered sleeve looks best when sewn in lighter fabric weights, such as lawn, voile, or lightweight double gauze or linen, just to name a few options. The gathers and extra width will make it stand out pretty dramatically if sewn with a heavier fabric like quilting cotton, so take that into consideration when you select your fabrics.

A beautiful finish, inside and out
Just like the fitted sleeve, the sleeves are sewn to the bodice before adding the lining, so that the finished sleeve is tidily sandwiched between the lining and the outer bodice for a truly professional finish. For more details and photos, see the fitted sleeve post LINK.

Level of difficulty
I find the gathered sleeve to be easier to add than the fitted sleeve, because the gathers allow you to adjust the sleeve easily to the size of the armhole. It’s a great place to start if you’re new to sleeves!

Visit the Geranium Expansion Pack Page to see all blog posts related to this pattern, or buy it now in my shop: Geranium Expansion Pack

Geranium Expansion Pack: the fitted sleeve

made by rae GXP fitted sleeve

Since the Geranium Dress was released in 2013 we have had so many requests to release a sleeve. The original pattern comes with a faux cap sleeve and a flutter sleeve, but for cooler weather it’s definitely nice to have something longer. People have been drafting their own sleeves or using a sleeve from another pattern for years, but that’s not a great option for everyone. Requests for a long sleeve were definitely what got the ball rolling on the the Expansion Pack.

Fitted sleeves

The fitted (or straight) sleeve comes with three length options: short, 3/4-length, and long. “Fitted” here means that the sleeve cap fits cleanly into the armhole without any gathering. The Geranium has a generous armhole, so there’s plenty of room for comfort and full range of motion, with a clean look. (Of course we couldn’t stop with just one type of sleeve, so I’ll talk about the fitted version now, and introduce the gathered sleeve in the next post.)

Here’s the long fitted sleeve, sewn up in the teeny tiny newborn size (so remember: the proportions will look different in larger sizes):

Fitted sleeves

There’s a generous hem allowance on the longer two lengths, so you can let it out as they grow or fold up a smaller hem for the extra long-armed kid, but it’s also ridiculously easy to shorten these if you want to play around with an elbow-length or something in between the lengths we’ve provided. Here’s what the 3/4-length sleeve looks like in the smallest size:

Fitted sleeves

Note: I originally cut the orange sample sleeves above at elbow-length, before we decided on a 3/4-length. I added extra fabric at the end to make it the exact proportion that it would be for the 3/4-length, producing a seam line (or cuff effect) where the hem stitching would be. So, if you make this length, you will have a stitch line instead of a seam line in that location.

Kitty Geranium with a sleeve

As you can see, the 3/4-length looks a bit different on a bigger kid, in this case, Clementine at age 5 (previously blogged here).

Kitty Geranium with a sleeve

Finally, the short sleeve adds another warm-weather option to the Geranium!

Fitted sleeves

A beautiful finish, inside and out
The sleeves are sewn to the bodice before adding the lining, so that the finished sleeve is tidily sandwiched between the lining and the outer bodice for a truly professional finish. In fact, that’s one of the things I love most about the way it’s constructed: it almost looks the same inside as it does on the outside. Did you even notice that the dress in the photo above is inside-out? Here’s a closer shot, below.

Geranium XP - fitted sleeve, inside out

How hard is it to add the fitted sleeves?
Because of the way the sleeve seams are sandwiched inside the lining, it may be challenging, so we’ve included lots of detailed instructions and diagrams to walk you through it. I’d recommend making the pattern without sleeves first if you’re new to sewing, but if you’re a confident beginner (you know who you are!!), you can do it!! Just work carefully and put a little trust in the instructions to get you where you need to go. The sleeves are the number one reason we’ve given this pattern the “advanced” level rating in the shop, so keep that in mind when you’re designing your dress.

Combining the fitted sleeve with other elements
All of the sleeves can be combined with other elements in the expansion pack and options from the original pattern for a completely unique look. Here, it’s combine with the pleated skirt from the original pattern and the collar from the expansion pack.

Geranium Expansion Pack sewing pattern

Finally, here are the two long sleeves (gathered, left, and fitted, right) so you can see how they compare.

Geranium Expansion Pack sewing pattern

Visit the Geranium Expansion Pack Page to see all blog posts related to this pattern, or buy it now in my shop: Geranium Expansion Pack

Geranium Expansion Pack is here!

Geranium Expansion Pack sewing pattern

The Geranium Dress has become a staple in countless girls’ wardrobes in the years since we launched it, and with good reason: it’s easy and quick to sew, it’s versatile and comfortable, and has a great fit. And now, the possibilities for Geranium are virtually endless. Introducing the Geranium Expansion Pack, a new add-on for the original Geranium sewing pattern!

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Please note that the Geranium Expansion Pack is not a standalone pattern — it is a supplement to the Geranium Dress.

Geranium Expansion Pack Sewing Pattern

Sizes included
The original Geranium pattern is sold in two ranges: baby and toddler (0-5T) and kid (6-12y). This expansion pack includes both of those ranges, for a total of 14 different sizes included. You can purchase the expansion pack on its own, or select an option to purchase it along with one or both size ranges of the original Geranium pattern.

Geranium Expansion Pack sewing pattern

So many possibilities
It only made sense to add even more features to Geranium, which is a great blank template for building upon, and is already so versatile. The obvious starting point — and probably your most-emailed request, ever — was to add a long sleeve, but I didn’t want to stop there. I’ve included a collar, neck bow, double-fold hem band, a longer bodice, a sash, two new sleeve types (each with three different length options), as well as instructions for adding a zipper. I think you’re going to love all of the possibilities. When I did the math to try and figure out how many different dresses you could make by combining features from the original pattern and the expansion, it was literally in the thousands.

Geranium Expansion Pack sewing pattern

The Expansion Pack is an à la carte pattern; that is, it doesn’t have a “View A” or “View B.” Instead, each element (such as the collar) has its own set of instructions so you can mix and match your way to any combination you like for a completely custom dress. The instructions have road maps — yes, we literally added road map signs — to help you sew everything in a sensible order, no matter what elements you wish to incorporate.

geranium expansion pack

Level of difficulty
The original pattern allowed you to build your sewing skills, and the expansion pack will help you learn even more advanced techniques, with the same detailed instructions and diagrams you’ve come to depend on from my patterns. Some of the elements in the expansion pack are beginner level, but most are intermediate (the neck bow, for example) or advanced (the zipper), so we are giving the entire expansion pack a difficulty rating of “advanced” in the shop. Please don’t let that intimidate you; time and time again we’ve heard from people who have made my patterns having never sewn a garment before who have found the instructions to be incredibly easy to follow and helpful. I’ve also added a recommendation to the general instructions for beginners to try just one element at a time before combining more than one.

Geranium Expansion Pack sewing pattern

I was thrilled to be able to work with Rachel of Stitched Together (@stitchedtogether) on this project for the photography and sample sewing. I’ve been admiring Rachel’s work for years and was so happy that she was able to sew these dresses for her gorgeous daughters and take the amazing photographs you see here.

Geranium Expansion Pack sewing pattern

I’ve always thought her photos were breathtaking, and combined with her fantastic sewing skills, the result is beyond what I could have hoped for. I’m so glad that Rachel was so willing and excited about this project — she has five children and homeschools them, in addition to sewing and writing for her own blog — and I’m honored she found time to fit this into her already very busy schedule. Thank you, Rachel!

Geranium Expansion Pack sewing pattern

Geranium Expansion Pack sewing pattern

Over the next few days, I’m going to introduce you to each of the elements that is included in this expansion pack, one by one, so I can talk a little bit about each one and give you a closer look at the options. I’ve also got fantastic testers who have made the most amazing versions and I can’t wait to show you what they’ve done with this pattern. I’m really just so excited to finally have this ready for you. I can’t wait to see what you do with this pattern expansion!!!

Geranium Expansion Pack sewing pattern

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Cleo + Josephine

Cleo Skirt

As the weather warms up, I’m excited about this combination of Cleo and Josephine. I’ve noticed that when I design a pattern, it’s often because I have a hole in my wardrobe for a certain type of design. I’m also thinking about how it will work with the other things I’m already wearing, which tend to be previous designs I’ve sewn. I love the idea of being able to create a handmade capsule wardrobe with my patterns, so being able to wear Josephine and Cleo together is so satisfying. My assistant Melissa is modeling them here beautifully.

Cleo Skirt

This version of Josephine is View C of the pattern made up in a lightweight swiss dot, and has proven to be one of my favorite wardrobe basics to make. It has enough interesting details (the pleats, the center slit) to make it a perfect match for a solid fabric, especially one that is a bit sheer like this one. The Cleo Skirt is View A made up with two Robert Kaufman lawns, a print from London Calling, and a Cambridge solid in a color that I think has since been discontinued (lipstick), since I no longer see it on their website, but if you do a quick web search you’ll still find it for sale in some shops as of this writing.
Cleo Skirt

This gives me a chance to further profess my love for lawn as an apparel fabric. This spring there have been so many good collections printed on lawn, and the fact that so many manufacturers, including Robert Kaufman, have been adding great lawn prints and solids lately (such as Friedlander lawn) only makes me more excited. Sleeping Porch by my friend Heather Ross for Wyndham is another favorite. I’ve been sewing with a few of her prints and can’t wait to show you what I’ve made! If you’re wary of sewing garments or scared of “apparel fabrics,” you will love how easy lawn is to work with. Quilters take note. Honestly I think lawn should just replace quilting cotton.

Back to this lovely outfit. Here’s a few shots from the back:

Cleo Skirt

Cleo Skirt

Which sewing patterns do you love to combine together for spring and summer? Do you have any favorites?

Cleo Skirt

Posted in Cleo
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