I finally took a much needed day off yesterday so I’m sorry if you’ve been waiting for this post. I’ve been working like a dog (if a dog could sew and email, that is) and realized belatedly that I am much more productive and creative when I actually walk away from things for a while and go for bike rides, drink pints by the river and wander around the market smelling lilacs and eating South Asian street food. Maybe even doing some headstands in the park, made modest by ol’ faithful Nettie.
Speaking of Nettie…. let’s attach some sleeves shall we? Today we’ll be:
- Matching notches on our sleeves and armscyes and sewing them together
- Hemming the sleeves
- Closing the side seams
Unlike traditional woven patterns, Nettie’s sleeves are attached flat. It is MUCH easier to assemble them this way rather than setting them in the round, and is made possible because the length of the sleeve cap is almost the exact same length as the arm opening.
When you cut out your fabric, you should have cut a tiny snip into your bodice pieces and sleeves to indicate where these pieces will be joined together. Lay your bodice piece right side up on your workspace. Lay your sleeve piece on the bodice wrong side up – match the notch at the top of your sleeve cap to the shoulder seam.
Match your side notches and pin. Finally, line up the edges of your sleeve with the side seams on each side. Your Nettie will look something like this:
Starting on one side, sew along the edge, removing the pins before you sew over them. Repeat for both sleeves.
Now that your sleeves are assembled, you have a choice to make. This is one of those sewing debates that seems highly polarized; it appears to fall somewhere in between Palestine vs. Israel and chunky vs. smooth in terms of ideological fervour.
Yes, the old “When to hem your sleeves debate”, a tale as old as time. Personally, I find it easier to hem Nettie sleeves flat, especially for the long sleeve variation. It can be very finicky to sew that tiny opening. If you’re in my camp (NO SHAME AT ALL LADIES) you will want to press your sleeve in 3/4″, and sew it down with a double needle or zig zag stitch.
If you want to sew your side seams first and then hem your sleeve, go right ahead my darlings. Let us not be divided; we can all coexist together, pre-hemmers and post-hemmers alike. Peace, man.
CLOSE SIDE SEAMS
Regardless of your camp in this matter, sewing the side seams is a breeze. Line up your armpit seam first and pin on either side of the seam, folding the seam away from the bodice. Proceed to pin down the side, matching the bottom edges of your dress or bodysuit.
Now sew the seam together. Make sure your armpit seam is aligned on either side, and folded towards the sleeve.
If you hemmed your sleeve before serging your side seam, you will have a serger tail hanging out. It’s best not to just trim it as it may unravel. I like to take a large eyed needle and thread the tail through a portion of the seam, comme ca:
Once it’s secured in the side seam, you can trim it. If the edge of your sleeves line up, you won’t see that seam at all.
If you’re making a Nettie Dress, you can finish today. Simply fold your bottom hem up 3/4″ (or shorter if you want to go full mini baberoni) and finish with a zigzag or double needle hem. Bodycon realness.
As for the rest of you Nettie betties, I’ll be back later this week with a post explaining how to fasten your leg bindings and assemble the snap crotch, along with some ideas for alternate seam finishes. I also cranked out a Nettie swimsuit hack this weekend in about 3 hours flat, and will share a post about how to do the same. Until then!