Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Tulip Sleeves on a Formal Dress

I've made and altered countless bridesmaid dresses. I've altered several wedding dresses. As a member of the church I belong to, modesty is very important for girls and women. It might sound silly to some, but it's something personal and even sacred to me. With that in mind, I am so grateful for Stephanie's decision on her bridesmaid dresses. She took us to David's Bridal and let us choose whichever style of long dress we wanted, as long as it was available in the right color. It was great for us bridesmaids because 1: We could actually pick a formal dress style we like and will wear again, and 2: We could make it as modest (or immodest) as we wanted.

None of them were modest up to my standards, but that's okay. I'm a seamstress. I chose a dress that would hopefully be slimming (since I'm still carrying some of this leftover pregnancy flab) and easy enough to alter. I went with this one.

Now, I love tulip sleeves. They're wonderful for formals and wedding gowns because the usual cap-style sleeves or short sleeves can restrict arm movement a lot when they're made from a woven fabric.
A quick lesson on woven fabric, if you're unfamiliar with how it's made.

The threads used to make a woven fabric cross each other at right angles.

Unless it's made with Spandex, it won't stretch. 
However, if you pull it at a 45 degree angle, it has a little bit of a stretch to it. 

That 45 degree angle is called the bias.

Tulip sleeves make use of a woven fabric's bias, which adds a little more give than regular sleeves have, and is why I love them so much.

So I took some measurements, made some pattern pieces, opened up some seams on the dress, and put the custom made tulip sleeves on.

And here's my favorite shot of the sleeves on my dress.

Well, it's actually my favorite shot of my husband and I enjoying a romantic moment on the dance floor at Stephanie and Justin's reception. But you can see the sleeves I made too!

(Thanks again, Weston Bennet, for letting me use your photos!)


  1. Thank you for your comment on my blog! In reply, I am definitely thinking about serving a mission if I find myself still single when I'm twenty-one. So many of my good friends have, and I would just love that experience, and the opportunity to serve the Lord in that way!

    You dress looks absolutely stunning! :) Following you via everything you linked up at the Tuesday Tango. It's so great to see a fellow Latter-day Saint! :)

  2. I was thinking of buying this dress for a military ball and because of the same modesty issue was thinking of wearing a jacket or sweater, but I like this idea better. Would you be able to help me, give me some advice? I sew alot but have never made sleeves from scratch. Would you be able to share your pattern pieces with me? Also, how did you get matching fabric?

  3. Do you have a picture straight on from the front? I'm having a hard time picturing what the dress looks like.