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  • Wardrobe revamping: a dress with ‘bat’ sleeves

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    Wardrobe revamping: a dress with ‘bat’ sleeves

    A serger machine should not remain idle. Let’s use it to freshen up your old clothes and sew a knitted dress with ‘bat’ sleeves. In this tutorial, I’ll be employing simple dress sewing techniques: doing a blind hem on the serger and also attaching neckline facing. You’ll enjoy the work and the new dress will uplift your mood.

    To do this job, you’ll need:

    • Fabric
    • Sewing threads
    • Serger and invisible stitch foot
    • Adhesive sewing interfacing material for knits
    • T-shirt or blouse pattern with 'bat' sleeves

    In order to buy the right amount of fabric, you need to know the length of your dress. Place the measuring tape at your shoulder and go all the way down (make sure that it is straight). Measure the desired length. The length of the piece of fabric will equal two lengths of the dress plus 20 cm.

    Wash or soak the fabric in hot water for approximately an hour. You need to do this in order for the fabric to shrink before you cut it. Skipping this step, you risk getting a smaller dress after the first washing.

    A dress with ‘bat’ sleeves. Cutting

    Fold the fabric in half, with its right side inside. Fold the T-shirt in half and align its fold line with the fold line of the fabric. Trace the outline with a piece of chalk.

    If you don’t have a blouse with ‘bat’ sleeves in your wardrobe, use a close-fitting T-shirt to find the key points, or a sewing pattern, changing the values to suit you.

    Lilac knitwear fabric

    White T-shirt on top of lilac knitwear

    Pinning white T-shirt to lilac knitwear

    Having traced the outline and taking all basic measurements — chest, waist, and hips circumference — cut the back part with a 0.7 cm seam allowance. Place the cutout on top of the second piece of fabric, folded in half, and cut out the front part, making the front neckline approximately 3 cm deeper.

    Chalk outline on lilac dress

    Knitwear cutout

    Lilac cutout folded in two

    Out of the remaining fabric, cut out a strip for the loops that will keep the belt in place. Sew, turn it right side out and press.

    Knitwear belt loops

    Knitwear belt

    Place the front and the back parts together, their right sides together. Position the belt loops at a waistline, over the side seams. Pin the side and shoulder edges, stitch the parts together on your serger with a 4-thread stitch. Attach the belt loops to the side seams.

    Knitear pattern piece with pins

    Sewing knitwear dress

    A dress with ‘bat’ sleeves. Facing

    Transfer the back and front neckline to the tracing paper, move down 3–4 cm down and cut out your future facing pattern. Glue the sewing interfacing material for knits to the piece of fabric. Cut out your front and back facing, together with seam allowance.

    Facing pattern

    Pressing pattern with iron

    Facing cutouts with pins

    Stitch the short sides together. Baste and finish the edge with a 3-thread stitch on your serger. Place the facing and the neckhole to each other, right sides together, and pin.

    Facings shorts ends pinned

    Facing edge serged

    Facing folded to the wrong side

    Stitch with your serger, pin, and press lightly. Sew the facing to the neckline with invisible stitches.

    Facing stitched to neckhole

    Neckhole with facing

    Facing wrong side

    A dress with ‘bat’ sleeves. Hemming

    Mark the hemline on the right side of the fabric. Do the blind hem on your overlocker. You’ll know how to do that from our Blind hem with your serger tutorial (Link will be here in the future).

    Blind hem wrong side

    Blind hem of a dress

    Dress sleeves and hem

    Cut out the belt 11 cm wide (length should be equal to your waist circumference plus 3 cm). Attach the hooks, folding seam allowance inside.

    Lilac belt pattern piece

    Lilac belt stitched

    Lilac belts with hooks

    Your dress is now ready! Get your hair done, add some bijou and show off your new garment!

    Lilac dress with bat sleeves

    Original text by Irina Lisitsa

    P.S. Sewing pattern

    Dress with bat sleeves sewing pattern

    Edited by Irina

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