Sleevetober? A twist in the tale.

I didn’t have time to enter #sleevefest as I was travelling, nevertheless, I am bringing it with a sleeve AND and twist front on my latest make.

This dress is my favourite RTW dress and I’ve worn it nearly to death. I have been trying to figure out the twist front for years without success! I don’t want to take her apart because I still love her, but I couldn’t quite figure out how the front worked, however, I was determined not to buy a pattern as I’m trying to economise and use my stash, plus I really wanted to draft it myself.

Anyway, after staring at this dress inside and out for ages, I couldn’t figure it out until I finally turned to the internet to helped me visualise the structure. It turns out I was not the only one who likes this style. As it happens Burda have a pattern for a top and dress like this and quite a few people have given their take on the pattern.

Once I had seen a sketch of the pattern pieces and with my rudimentary drafting skills, I figured out that it is a kind of a slash and spread on a basic bodice with a bit of origami thrown in.

I had to be able to visualise it in order to make it. This is how I think it works. From a basic bodice, you have to slash and spread in the bust area to make the fullness to twist the top. It’s quite an extreme rotation and the resulting pattern piece looks really weird. However I’ve labelled the main parts and hopefully, you can see where everything came from.

I made a 1/4 scale sloper when I first attempted pattern making, I used it to make this mini muslin

I tried out a mini mock-up of the pattern to get my head around the construction and once I understood the pattern it all fell into place. I’m using a lightweight stretch jersey knit fabric from Minerva Crafts to make this top.

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First sew the two fronts together, basting the facing into position. The trick comes in sewing the bust seam. On the left side, mark a point halfway along the ‘bust seam’ and stitch the seam leaving an opening at the centre. Then pass the other side through the hole before stitching that side. This gives the twist. You can then sew up the rest of the garment as normal.

The finished top on Venus, a little adjustment is required to turn in the edge.

Once I had finished sewing and was ready to try on I realised it was a little snug.  I need to allow a bit more room in my next version but a wearable toile this is.

Now back to Sleevetober. As if this bodice experimentation wasn’t enough I also decided I wanted to get in on the sleeve game and added some fluted sleeves to this design.  I kept seeing these sleeves and decided it shouldn’t be difficult to add create these. They are effectively mini circle skirts. I traced a circle with a radius equal to the length from my elbow to my wrist. I then cut out a smaller circle in the centre approximately the circumference of my arm at the elbow. Finally, I removed a quarter of the ring as I thought it would be too full. I then attached this to my half-length sleeves et voila!

Mini ‘circle skirts’ = bell sleeves

Attach these to the end of your sleeves and it is all done. A twist front blouse with bell sleeves.

Twist top with bell sleeves, I think this experiment worked and I’m definitely wearing this toile.

Note to self: seems a bit close all over, I wonder if Elaine remembered to add any seam allowances? It’s turned out a bit,  mmm shall we say ‘booby’, so I need to allow a bit more room in there next time and figure out how to make sure my finished edge lay better in the twist. What do you reckon on the twist and the sleeves – too much together?

My 3/4 circle sleeves are making me all kinds of happy here. I have to keep swishing them.

Now I don’t really know if this counts as a ‘How To’ as there is a lot more detail missing but I thought it would help to show how to visualise a pattern to make a garment from sight. Maybe I’ll make a full tutorial the next time I make this top. (Another thing to learn) For now, I’m chuffed at managing to figure out the construction of this pattern knockoff. As for my sleeves well they are just Sleevetastic! Any ideas on how to fix my twist problem or examples of your own pattern puzzle triumphs would be very welcome. Thanks for reading.

Elaine x


About Elaine Batiste

I'm a teacher, a lifelong learner, a traveller, a maker, an adventurer and a 'want to do more' kind of gal.

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