Hello everyone! My name is Kelle and I usually blog at justsewsomething.com. Today I wanted to share with you a modification to the brand new Not-So-Cold-Shoulder Sweater from Amelia Lane Designs. My youngest daughter loves ruffles and I thought a ruffle along the neckline would be a fun addition to the pattern. Plus, I did a super simple change to the shelf bra so you can have a tie strap! I love both modifications together, but these could definitely be used separately as well.
To start, we need to make a few pattern piece modifications. I prefer to just temporarily change my original pieces by folding and taping, but you could also trace new pattern pieces and then make adjustments to those.
For the tie shoulder shelf bra, measure the width of your strap (this varies by size). Then, create a strip of paper that width by whatever length you want your strap. I planned on just tying a knot in our straps so I cut a piece of paper 6 inches long by the width of the strap. To tie a bow, more length would be required so plan accordingly. I just taped the extension onto the end of the bra strap. Repeat for back side as well.
On the front bra strap, you will notice a little extra triangle on the pattern piece. Rather than cut it off, I just simply folded mine back before I cut my fabric.
The back strap is also slightly wider than the front. It doesn’t cause an issue when tying the straps together so I didn’t equalize the widths.
The other change we are going to make is to the neckband. I used the neckband to finish off the top of the ruffle, but wanted a narrower band. I folded the pattern piece in half lengthwise (so it's long and skinny) before laying on my fabric and cutting.
Cut out shelf bra pieces as indicated in pattern, following notes on fabric placement. Cut sleeves and bodice pieces as well.
For the neckline ruffle, the ruffle can be as wide or narrow as you like. The length will also determine how full the ruffle is. I chose to make my ruffle 5.5 inches wide. The general rule of thumb is to cut the length 1.5 to 2 times the measurement of your neckline. I simply cut mine the width of my fabric. This shirt is an XXS. The neckline measured 32 inches and so my ruffle is just under 2 times the length of the neckline. Depending on size, you may need to cut multiple lengths and attach them at the short ends.
Many knits, like this mesh, do not require hemming. If you choose a fabric which does require hemming or would prefer a more finished look, you will need to add hem allowance as well.
Once you have determined the size of your ruffle, cut the piece/pieces required.
To start, you should have a front bodice piece, back bodice piece, one right sleeve, one left sleeve, a neckband, a ruffle piece/pieces, one front shelf bra piece, and one back shelf bra piece.
If you are making the simple sweater without shelf bra, assemble your shirt through step 2 (the point of attaching the neckband).
If you are doing the tie shoulder shelf bra, start by sewing the side seams with the bra straps RST at 1/4 inch. Do not sew the straps together at the shoulder. Instead, press a 1/2 inch hem all around the neckline, up both straps, and at the sewn together armscye. At the ends of the straps, tuck 1/2 inch under so the edges of the straps are completely finished. Sew at 3/8 inch. This picture is taken of the back of the shelf bra, with it laid flat.
At this point, assemble the shirt up to the point of attaching your neckband (for the shelf bra through step 11). Sew the two short ends of your ruffle pieces right sides together so you have one big loop. (If you have multiple ruffle pieces, attach them at the short ends right sides together until you have a big loop).
If you are hemming your ruffle piece, do this now.
Then sew a line of long basting stitches 1/4 inch from the raw edge all the way around the ruffle piece, making sure to leave long tails of thread at beginning and end. For more stable and neat ruffles, sew a second line of basting stitches 1/2 inch from the raw edge.
Quarter the ruffle with pins. Quarter the neckline with pins. Pull on one thread tail (or two thread tails if you did two lines) to gather the ruffle until it is approximately the same width as the neckline. Pin the ruffle to the neckline with both right sides facing up. Even out your gathers using the pins as a guide. I usually pin in a few more places at this point to help keep everything even. Still using a long basting stitch, sew the ruffle to the neckline at a scant 1/4 inch.
Quarter the neckline with attached ruffle with pins again. Take the prepared neckband and quarter with pins. Matching raw edges, place the neckband over the neckline, matching pins. Add more pins as needed. Stretching the neckband slightly, sew at 1/4 inch to neckline. Remove any visible basting stitches from the ruffle. Press neckline and topstitch if desired.
Then continue sewing the shirt as per the pattern instructions.
To wear, simply tie the bra straps in a bow or knot at your desired length.
If you used this tutorial, please share your project in the Amelia Lane Designs Facebook group! We'd love to see it. Feel free to ask any questions below or in the group and I’ll do my best to answer them.