Clever Crossing Variations, our newest pattern for Tabula Rasa Knits, includes a graceful short tulip sleeve that carries the “crossing” theme into another aspect of the knit top. Construction of the tulip sleeve is a bit different from the regular Tabula Rasa Knit Tee & Tunic sleeve, so we thought we’d give you a visual step-by-step to get you going. Now is the time of year to give it a try on your knit tops! Of course, you can use a tulip sleeve with any Tabula Rasa Knit Tee or Tunic.
These steps and photos follow the steps outlined on page 11 of the instruction book for Clever Crossing Variations. You begin by cutting out the Tulip Sleeve Front and Tulip Sleeve Back patterns in your size, and then cutting two front and two back sleeves out of your fabric. If you have trouble telling the fronts and backs apart after cutting them out, note that the front sleeve is slightly smaller and has just one notch; the back sleeve has two notches. Be sure to mark the dots on both front and back sleeves.
Lay the back sleeves on your worktable right side up, then lay one front sleeve on top of each back sleeve right sides together, lining them up along the short, curved underarm seam. Pin and sew the underarm seam. Clip the underarm curve if needed. Finish the seam allowances together by your preferred method, then press the seam toward the back sleeve.
Open each sleeve out on your worktable into one long piece. Now is the time to finish the hem of the sleeve, which is the long unnotched edge, using one of the hem finish options recommended for a Tabula Rasa Tunic (see page 9 of the Knit Tee Instruction book). The sleeve pictured here has been finished with a double turned baby hem.
Another great option is to finish the sleeve with a binding. Create a 2” wide binding strip for each sleeve and apply as directed in the Clever Crossing Variations instruction book for binding a crossover yoke or surplice neckline (page 7).
Now comes the tricky part – forming the sleeve into a tube. Lay the back sleeve on your worktable right side up. Grab onto the tip of the front sleeve and bring it around to lay on top of the back sleeve, also right side up. Match the dots and sleeve head curve. Pin between notches and baste the sleeve head curves together.
If you are not sure if you’ve done it correctly, here is a way to check. Turn the pinned or basted sleeve entirely right side out and lay it on your table on its side or opened out flat. Does it form a sleeve that looks like one of these photos?
Congratulations! Now you can proceed to attach the sleeve to the side panel, just as you do with the regular sleeve, and then insert the side sleeve/panel unit into the body of the knit top as described in Steps 4 through 7 of the Knit Tee instruction book.
We hope you have fun with the tulip sleeve! Can’t wait to see your samples.
Happy Sewing, Carrie