I have never been a sweater person. No, not me. People used to describe me as more of a pencil skirt + button-down shirt lady. And heels, definitely heels. But lately, comfortable casual has become more and more a thing for me. Enter dressed up sweaters. And by dressed up I mean fancy sleeves, ruffles, cute necklines and more. Yes, ruffle sleeve sweaters, it’s a thing!
Meet Exhibit A, a ruffled sleeve sweater that appeared in my life and my wardrobe by complete accident.
Yes, this top was totally meant to be a dress. And by that, I mean that I actually made a dress, then took most of it apart and redesigned it as a top. And believe me, this is what this awesome peacock scuba was meant to be for sure.
So let me tell you more…
HACKING FIBRE MOOD ROSALIE
You might remember my love affair with Fibre Mood that started last summer (the August 2019 issue review here), where I proceeded to sew pretty much all the patterns, the first one of which was the Rosalie dress in white poplin. I have taken the pictures, but never got around to blogging it, so here is a snapshot from a few outfits on Instagram, so you get an idea of what it originally looks like.
This version got a fair amount of wear in the summer and so when the colder weather came, I kept thinking that I really fancy an autumn/winter version.
As I made concerted efforts to sew as much as I can from my bulging stash, I set my sights on a fabulous teal/peacock scuba that I think I might have gotten at Abakhan in one of my binge fabric shopping trips.
So, the original plan was to add long sleeves to the original ruffled version and keep everything else pretty much the same.
But of course, plans often crumble in the face of god awful reality. The gathering was THE most unflattering thing in scuba. It was just too heavy, too bulky and just went against the nature of the pattern.
However, the sleeves looked awesome with the ruffle, very much reminiscing of the Papercut Kyoto sweater. And I totally loved the v-neck as well. It was just the lower bit that needed rethinking.
So I decided to just take out all the extra width and just match the upper bodice like for like with the lower one. And it totally worked. Then, after wearing it with a regular hem, I decided that it was sticking out a bit, so it needs something to hold it down. So I added the elastic in the turned-up hem and then it reached true perfection!
Changes and alterations
So, in case you missed the bit above, here is the full list of changes and alterations, in case you want to try your own hack.
Before I cut out the fabric, I made a forward shoulder alteration, as I realised in the summer that the lifting and pulling of the original dress (as well as Mira) was due to my forward shoulders.
Queue internal cringe that my posture has deteriorated so much that I need it (or could it it just my getting older…?). I never had to make this adjustment before, so I never even recognised the signs before I had to Google it! Well, now I know and will probably be making this alteration forevermore…
- 1/2” forward shoulder adjustment
- Reduced CB by 1/2”
- Added long sleeves – I measured the opening of the armhole and my wrist and drew a trapeze joining the two dimensions (leaving a bit of wearing ease and a 1/4” SA)
- Shortened the skirt part – I didn’t go too scientific on it, just divided my fabric piece in two (I had added a few cms from the original length as the first version was a bit too short)
- Reduced the width of the skirt piece to the width of the circumference of the top bodice
- Turned the hem up by 3cm and added 1” elastic in the resulting casing
- Unplanned change: reduced the CF by 1/2”. This is because I got confused when making the forward shoulder adjustment and cut the CF by 1/2” instead of the shoulder seam! So it turned up a bit more revealing than I would have liked, but I added it back into the pattern, so I don’t make the same mistake again.
SAVE THIS FOR LATER ON PINTEREST
Putting the ruffle sleeve sweater together
The main construction is super easy to sew with the overlocker. It’s the finishing part that kills you. I used my coverstitch machine to do most of the details. And as nice as the Babylock is, it’s still a bit of a pain to get things perfect.
For the neckband, I cut a strip of fabric and overlocked it to the edge on the right side, the turned it over and used the two-needle coverlock stitch to sew it in place from the right side. Then I removed all the extra band with the duck-bill scissors. I had initially tried to turn the edges back under, like a bias tape, but I could not catch it evenly from the right side.
The sleeve hems were also coverstitched, as was the bottom hem band. The edges of the ruffle were left raw, as the fabric does not fray.
Styling the ruffle sleeve sweater
According to my spreadsheet (if you have no clue what I’m on about, read this post), I’ve already wore this sweater 11 times since I finished it at the end of October, and 3 times in January alone. That is a definite winner in my books! Well on its way to 30 wears, maybe even in its first year.
As to styling, I wore it with culottes, skinny jeans and skirts. You already saw one of my favourite ways in the previous post, paired with super comfy culottes and trainers.
But it also works a bit more dressed up and funky, like in these pictures. I love this primary colours combo, and the amplitude of the skirt vs the ruffles.
Because of the accidental plunging neckline, it really needs a cami or t-shirt to be decent, like when I wear it at work. I also really like the look of it layered over a turtleneck.
It’s super versatile, that’s for sure, and I can’t wait to think up even more combinations!
I also wanted to show you these earrings I made that perfectly match the colour of the fabric by the most amazing coincidence…
Drop me a line if you fancy a pair as well in this or in a different colour.
Before I go, a few more ideas of other patterns that you might have that deliver the same look.
Other ruffled sleeve sweater patterns you might want to try
- Kyoto sweater, Papercut Pattern – the ruffles are the same, but I prefer my v-neck version
- Adding a ruffle to a long-sleeve t-shirt tutorial from It’s Always Autumn
- You can also add ruffles to the Tabor sweatshirt from Sew House Seven or the Aberdeen top from Seamwork mag
- And of course, the Rosalie pattern from Fibre Mood, which I hacked.
SO, HOW DO YOU STAND ON RUFFLES, SWEATERS AND SCUBA? TELL ME IN COMMENTS.
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Welcome to the forward shoulder club! I’m a fully paid up member 😊. I adore your blue sweater and your whole outfit is fab!
Thank you! That actually solves the mystery of the Mira dress that was pulling oddly (we were debating when I first made that).
Great outfit! Love the colors and the sweater is perfect!
Thank you, Camelia! Have you tried Fiber Mood yet?
Not yet , but I do have two magazines waiting for me :)! I hope to try soon! xx
That looks amazing on you. I keep looking out for Fibre Mood as I’d love to see it in the flesh. I suspect I’ll give up on it really quickly as I’m petite, which means a lot of alterations to get anything to fit.
Thank you! I think it’s a matter of the type of pattern. I found the dresses to be quite short on me (I’m 1.72/ 5.6’’). So they might work with few mods.
Oh my god I love your outfit!!! The colors, the fit and your photos are amazing. I am currently sewing a puff sleeve sweater but learning to make ruffles is on my to-learn list (which is veryyyy long). I also love your skirt and I am not sure if I was inattentive and you wrote in your post, is it also handmade? And if yes, which pattern did you use?
Thank you for your kind words! The ruffle is very simple to make. It’s effectively a section of a circle (like a donut with a wedge cut off) that gets wavy when you pull it into a straight line. Just add it to a seam and you’ve got a ruffle.
The skirt is not handmade, but it could be pretty easy to reproduce. It’s a circle skirt pattern (you can find tutorials online) again with a wedge cut off and a waistband added. I can send you a pic to try to reproduce it if you send me an email.