afternoon tea blouse with elastic at sleeves

Visiting us today from our Advisors Circle is Meredith who has stopped by with her Pleated Fairy Tale Bodice and Terrace Dress in Rayon. Now she’s here to share a micro modification on the Afternoon Tea Blouse. Thanks for stopping by to share your tutorial Meredith!

Liesl + Co. Afternoon Tea Blouse

Hi everyone! I’m Meredith and I blog over at Olivia Jane Handcrafted. I post more often over on Instagram. I got the wonderful opportunity to make the Liesl + Co. Afternoon Tea Blouse, and today I’m going to be sharing with you a sleeve modification for it. I love the bell sleeves on the pattern, but I thought having the option to elasticize the sleeves at the hem would be lovely too. I made my blouse with a really lovely rayon poplin, and used a lace in the inset. I sewed it to the outside of the blouse along the bottom edge because it was too lovely to hide in a seam. I also used a lace trim around the bottom of the blouse because I thought it would be pretty.

Liesl + Co. Afternoon Tea Blouse

Liesl + Co. Afternoon Tea Blouse

At first, I was tremendously puzzled, because the sleeve for this pattern goes together much differently than a traditional sleeve and has six total pattern pieces. It’s very simple to put together, but the challenge for me was to figure out how to use the original silhouette and modify it to fit my preferences. I over complicated it at first, but thanks to the very logical eye of my dad who was here working on our bathroom renovation, I realized simple was not only easiest, but absolutely the best approach. So how can you sew this very simple modification?

All I ended up doing was taking the bell portion of the pattern pieces that go under the inset, and folded in about 2.5” all the way down each of them where they would meet at the outside center of the sleeve. This removes the extra fabric that would have originally been used for gathering and creating volume, but preserves the “v” shape that is needed for that beautiful inset. I would recommend adding an inch or so to the length of the sleeve. I didn’t do that here, but I will do that in the future.

Liesl + Co. Afternoon Tea Blouse

Assemble the pattern the very same way, but to finish the sleeve, first measure around your arm where your sleeve will fall, and cut a piece of 1/4” or 3/8″ elastic to that length or just a half inch longer.

Liesl + Co. Afternoon Tea Blouse

I like to serge anything I have to hem, because it gives me a great folding guide, so I did that here.

Liesl + Co. Afternoon Tea Blouse

I folded my sleeve under by 1/4” then, again so that it was only 1/8” wider than my elastic. Give it a good press so it’ll stay in place, and then beginning at the inner seam, sew around your folded hem no more than 1/8” from the folded inner edge. Stop about 1.5” before you reach back around to your first stitch. Use a safety pin to pull your elastic through the opening and around your sleeve.

Liesl + Co. Afternoon Tea Blouse

When you get back around, overlap the ends of your elastic by 1/2” and sew a square around it to secure the elastic. Pull the elastic back into your sleeve channel so its fully in, and then finish stitching that opening closed.

Liesl + Co. Afternoon Tea Blouse

Voilà! You have a classic elastic sleeve.


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  1. Elisabeth

    It’s so cute! What a great modification!

  2. Emily

    Very cute! Love this version of this top.

  3. Erica

    Although I love the original bell sleeves, I love this modification too, because it makes the blouse so much easier to wear under a jacket for the cooler months! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Kay

    Great hack! I love the look.

  5. Burnett

    I’m crazy about this too but if you don’t mind what type of bra did you wear

  6. Kim

    That is so pretty! Well done. I’m not a fan of bell sleeves so this mod would be perfect for me. Dad’s come in handy.

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