Thursday, July 19, 2012

Should I slit my. . . sleeve?

Have you ever owned a shirt or dress that fit great but had too-large sleeves? Do you ever think of just making small changes to shirts or dresses simply to have a new look? A dress or shirt that fits perfectly, but has an issue with the sleeves, is easily fixed by changing the look of the sleeves. You don't have to have a lot of sewing experience to create new sleeves, and in some cases, you don't need to sew at all!

Blogger's note. I don't know how I end up in these things, these weird things. All I wanted was a bit of advice on clothing alteration - which I hate doing - but when I got an incredible bargain on a beautiful long-sleeved blouse and discovered the sleeves were 3" too long, and when I further discovered it would cost more to get the bloody thing altered than it cost to begin with, I was determined to find some fast-and-easy, no-sweat methods of shortening sleeves.

I knew such methods didn't exist, but I thought I'd try it anyway, like you'd look up a home remedy (such as relief for crackling ears). These always end up being entirely useless, but in this case the alteration methods were so bizarre and incomprehensible that I just had to pass them along to you, Gentle Reader, mon cherie, light of my life. (Come on over here.) I assure you this is strictly cut n' paste and I didn't change a word of it. It was too good to be true, just the way it was. So. . . take up your scissors, and prepare/beware! 

A quick no-sew method for changing sleeves is to use a giant, gold safety pin. You'll find the pins, in different sizes and colors, at any craft store. The pins are made so that the head screws off and allows you to slide beads onto it. So, you won't slide the beads onto the pointed end of the pin, but onto the opposite side. When the bead pattern of your choice is in place you can then screw the head of the pin back on.

(Blogger's note. "Giant gold safety pin"? What the fxxx? I have never seen one of these in my entire life. And what's with this screwing off the top of the giant safety pin and putting beads on it, but "not on the pointed end"? Sounds about as easy as screwing them on your elbow.)

Now open the pin, slide it over your sleeve with the beads on the top part of the sleeve, then gather the sleeve. Close the pin and you've created a new look for the sleeves as well as the shirt. The beads are showing on the outside of the sleeve and the whole sleeve is gathered to make it much shorter. This is a great way to correct shirts and dresses that have sleeves which are much too long. The great thing is, you can change the beads at any time, and you can use the same pins on several different outfits.

(OK! - if you want giant gold safety pins with beads on them stuck to your sleeves.)

Create a cute, unique look for sleeves by first laying the shirt flat on a table. Find the center of the sleeve, opposite the sleeve seam in the underarm area. Crease the fold of the sleeve. Cut a slit from just above the hem to almost at the shoulder area. Now hem the slit. Start near the top or bottom of the slit and stitch around it. Try to turn the sleeve, when you get to the top and to the bottom, so that you'll create a point rather than a rounded look at the points of the slits.

(Uhhh. . . what the hell is going on with this? I'm going over and over it. "Find the centre of the sleeve", OK. Crease the fold of the. . . cut a slit? - waitwaitwait, cut into the fabric just like that? "From just above the hem to almost at the shoulder area" is so vague and confusing it frightens me. I think it means you just take some big old scissors and grab the sleeve and hack the hell out of it. I never knew you could "hem a slit" without turning the whole thing into a bloody mess.  The rest of the instructions are completely unintelligible. "Turn the sleeve" (turn it where, how?), "points of the slits"? This is against the laws of physics, sorry. And once you've got that big ol' slit running down your sleeve, then what?

But it ain't over yet. . .

Do something similar by first cutting the hem off sleeves that are too long. Cut the slit and hem it. Sew a piece of fabric around the hem area of the sleeve. This piece should be long and hemmed on one long side. Sew the new piece around the hem area of the sleeve. Make sure the ends of the new piece extend beyond the slits on each end. That way, you can tie the new piece of fabric into a knot. The new look, of a slit with a tied sleeve, is cute for t-shirts and similar sleeves. It can also give a dressier look to simple outfits.

(This woman is obsessed with slits! Doesn't she know this is a family blog? Tying a slit into a knot is even more bizarre. I don't think I've ever seen anyone with their sleeves tied in knots, nor do I wish to. As for that "dressier look". . . I think the doggie below wins the prize for that.)

Completely change the look of some sleeves by using elastic to gather them upward instead of around the arm. Start right below the shoulder seam and begin stitching elastic down the sleeve, opposite of the underarm seam. Crease or iron the fold so that you'll have a guide for the elastic. Use eighth-inch or quarter-inch elastic to gather the sleeves. Use a straight stitch, stretch the elastic slightly, and stitch all the way down to the hem area. Stop above the hem, or take the hem out, put in the elastic, then stitch the hem back in again.

(This one sounds downright hazardous. I think all that gathered elastic could snap back in your face like a slingshot and possibly knock out an eye. I would imagine that this method would indeed "completely change the look" of your sleeves, not to mention rearrange your face.)

Changing the sleeves in an outfit can completely change the look of the shirt or dress. It's easy to change them in many different ways to create all new looks for your garments. Whether you sew or not you can still change the look of many outfits. If you have a dress or shirt with sleeves that are too long, or you simply want a new look for an old outfit, use one of the above techniques to change the sleeves. It's easy, cost little, but will give you a whole new look!

(I must say, I do love her optimism and unassailable confidence. I'd like to introduce her to Julian, the man who taught me how to cure an ear infection by rooting around in my ear with a Q-tip. What he lacks in competence and knowledge, he more than makes up for in sheer lunacy. These two sound like they were made for each other.)