Sorbetto Sleeves

In my previous post I showed my version of the Sorbetto Tank Top from Colette Patterns.  Here are the instructions on how to make these alterations.  If you’ve never inserted a sleeve into a garment, I recommend doing this first before attempting these alterations.

Leslie’s Sorbetto Alterations

 Download the Sorbetto pattern here 
and tape it together
Download the sleeve pattern here
Make sure the Test Square is accurate.  Set sleeve aside.  Note:  The pattern sleeve will go onto the top without any gathers, but I have included directions below to make the sleeve have a slight gather.  Below are directions on how to change the style of this sleeve.

Follow the pattern directions for sizing the top to fit you.  The top was low cut on me,  so I built it up a bit and also added to the hips (boo!) and lengthened the hem about two inches.  I used a colored pencil to make my changes.  Then I traced over my measurements.  Next, I traced the pattern onto tissue paper and transferred the markings. 
Now, cut out the sleeve pattern.  Next, you are going to make 5 style lines.  Make your first line at the Center Shoulder mark and make this line stop 1″ from bottom edge.  Next, make two style lines 1″ to the left of Center Shoulder and 1″ to the right of Center Shoulder.  Finally, make your last two style lines 2″ left of Center Shoulder and 2″ right of Center Shoulder.  All style lines stop 1″ from the bottom edge.
Notice that these style lines are not the same as the grain line.  When laying out your pattern, be sure you use the grainline appropriately.
Slash your style lines from top to the stopping point 1″ from bottom edge.  Place a piece of tissue paper (or construction paper) underneath.  Spread each style line apart 3/8″ and tape to tissue paper (or construction paper).  Notice that the bottom edge will need to be smoothed out a bit…not exactly a couture-approved method…but will work fine for this.

Your alterations now have caused your sleeve head to be a bit wonky across the top, so you will need to redraw this line and smooth it out.  I used a sleeve curve, but a dinner plate will work fine.  You just want it to be smooth and clean.  Again, not couture-approved….
Trim your pattern…
…and cut it out according to the pattern directions.  Be sure to follow the actual grainline when laying out your sleeve.  I HIGHLY RECOMMEND MAKING A MUSLIN SINCE THE PATTERN IS ALTERED.  
For the rest of the pattern follow the Sorbetto pattern instructions and… Staystitch – Step 1
Stitch Darts – Steps 1-3
Stitch Center Pleat – Steps 1-6
Stitch Front to Back – -Steps 1-4

STOP….It’s time to work on the new and improved Sleeve…

Prepare your Sleeve by stitching two gathering seams across sleeve head.  Be sure to mark front and back of Sleeve.

Stitch Sleeve side seams and press open.
 Pull up gathers and adjust.  

Turn under the sleeve hem twice and top stitch.  Pin Sleeve to top…Sleeve front to top front, etc.
Stitch sleeve to top according to standard practices using a 5/8″ seam.  

Finish your Sorbetto Top according to the pattern directions with one exception…you do not need to finish the sleeve openings with bias tape since you’ve inserted this adorable gathered sleeve….

That’s all there is to it!


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  1. says

    Thank you for your great tutorial! I made a Sorbetto with sleeves and tried out the gathered ones. I do not have much experience with pattern alterations, but could follow your tutorial well.

  2. kara says

    Thank you so much for posting this ! I was having trouble with the sleeves until I found your blog and now after making your adjustments with the sleeves I am very pleased with the muslin ine that I have made, and am looking forward to starting the next one

  3. Janette says

    Thanks so much for this tutorial.
    I’m going to try the sleeve again, I cut out the size 12 sorbetto and the sleeve, but when inserting the sleeve there was more arm hole fabric (not the correct term I’m sure!) than sleeve fabric – I didn’t know what to do, so it had to be a sleeveless Sorbetto again!!

  4. Rosie says

    Hello, I just wanted to say thank you for these instructions. I have never inserted sleeves into, well, anything before. This worked perfectly first time. You have conquered my fear! Many thanks.

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