Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Schoolhouse Tunic – Part 3

Hello everybody! I am sorry for the long absence. Birthday celebrations for both my husband and myself got in the way… :-)

Are you ready to attach the sleeves to your tunic? Today we’re going to cover steps 6 and 7 of the pattern instructions. Let’s go!


We need to run two basting stitches between the notches (that were transferred from the pattern) on the sleeves. For this, you need to increase the stitch length on your machine as far as it will go. On my machine the setting for the longest stitch is 4. It may be different on your machine. So grab one of your sleeves and sew once 1/4” from the edge from notch to notch (indicated by the red arrows). Then make another row of stitches 3/8” from the edge. You will gather this section slightly when you attach the sleeve to the bodice. The blue arrow indicates the top notch, that should be placed right against the shoulder seam.


At this point the pattern indicates that the bodice should be placed flat, right side up. I believe it should be wrong side up, as shown below. Now start pinning the sleeve against the bodice, right sides together, matching the notches on the sleeve with the corresponding ones on the bodice. You will have to gather the sleeve slightly to make the sleeve fit to the bodice. The amount of gathering you need to do is minimal but necessary.

Now, you need to know that one of my biggest pet peeves is attaching set-in sleeves. I hate it. But I have also learned that, at least for me, the best way to do is with the sleeve on the bottom. So when you pin both pieces, you need to think about where you will start sewing, so if you're like me and you pin parallel to the edge instead of perpendicularly, you must orient the pins accordingly. In this case I will start sewing on the right. As you sew the sleeve, remember to go SLOW. You will have to make adjustments to the fabric as you move it through the sewing machine. Just take your time and it will be alright. You can do it! If it doesn't turn out right, don't fear the ripper and start over...


Here is the sleeve already sewn with the seam finished. Under normal circumstances I would also get rid of the basting stitches, but that’s optional. Now press the seam towards the sleeve.


Up next, we have to sew the side of the bodice and the sleeve. Fold the piece right sides together, making the sides of the bodice and the sleeves match. Here you need to think of where you will begin sewing. In this case, because the seam allowance is turned towards the sleeve, it is more practical to start sewing at the bottom of the bodice (which in this case is at the top) so that the seam allowance doesn’t get caught under the presser foot.


Here is the sleeve all sewn and the seam finished. Now is a good time to hem the sleeve! Fold the hem twice 1/4” to the inside and press well. Sew it all around and you’re done!


Now repeat this whole process with the other sleeve and your bodice is READY! Now is a good time to try it on and make sure that it feels ok on you and that it fits you well.


Next time I will show you how to finish the tunic by making the skirt and attaching it to the bodice. Stay tuned!

Quick links:
Schoolhouse Tunic Tutorial
Schoolhouse Tunic - Part 2
Schoolhouse Tunic - Final Part


  1. Just found your tutorial! Hope you are planning to finish it. :) I just ordered fabric for this pattern, so I will be following along.

  2. Hi Michelle, welcome! Yes, I am planning to finish this tutorial on my next post. Glad to have you here.

  3. Thank you much for posting this tutorial; it has been a HUGE help to me!! Your additional hints have made this project easier to understand and complete

  4. Ditto, Footie. I'll add that I didn't need to use the basting stitches at all for my sleeves when I made my mock-up. The sleeves were just the right length w/out any gathering for me. I saw similar comments on other reviews of the same pattern.


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