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.
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):
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:
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.
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).
Finally, the short sleeve adds another warm-weather option to the Geranium!
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.
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.
Finally, here are the two long sleeves (gathered, left, and fitted, right) so you can see how they compare.