New top: Scout tee with a petal sleeve

Hi folks! A short post today with a new Scout tee I made recently during a hacking class at Drygoods Design. I’ve been meaning to whip up some more since I wear my first two all the time – and since this was the suggested pattern for the class, I signed up in two minutes flat. One of my personal goals this year is also to learn a bit more about adapting patterns and trying out a few new ideas here and there. Since I was using this rather lovely Les Fleurs pale blue City Toile lawn, which included a little cityscape of New York, I was totally planning to take some blog pics there on a recent vacation, but, alas, I just couldn’t get it finished in time.


Speaking of the fabric, I also seem to have made a little run of garments that are very hard to photograph. My last was a black jumpsuit, and now this fabric which has an unusual low-contrast blue/gold colourway. It’s one of the few fabrics I’ve used that is more effectively photographed under artificial light, but that has its own problems I suppose. I’m no photographer, but I’ve tried to increase the contrast a little in some pics so you can see the details (they are more obvious in real life).


Anyway, back to the actual process – and for the aforementioned class, the emphasis was on changing up the sleeves. Our teacher gave us some great tips and insights about how to approach such a thing. The first thing we tried was lengthening a sleeve, which is quite a simple adjustment – but I quickly realised that I had been doing even that somewhat incorrectly. My sleeves worked okay, but that is the point of a class like this – I like to know the theory behind it all too. Sometimes.


I had seen a petal sleeve on Instagram somewhere and fancied giving that a shot – and subsequently realised that Grainline have actually done the work already and offer this sleeve adaption (amongst others) as part of an add-on pack, but -hey-ho- it was fun to try myself anyway. The first thing we did was just make a very rough guess as to what the sleeves might look like and drafted something, from which I then knocked up a quick muslin/toile.



It was clear to me quickly that the petal sleeve would need to be longer to get the coverage on the arm I wanted with that shape, and that the overlapping “petals” needed to be deeper and rounder. It’s all personal taste, of course, but that’s mine, heh. So I drafted a couple more versions and settled on a shape I liked. I made a narrow hem to finish the sleeves and topstitched the overlap as it sat a bit strangely when left unstitched.


I had previously adapted the Scout tee by adding darts and making a full bust adjustment to slightly fit it to my shape. I find it a little more flattering than the straight boxy shape of the Scout. However, I made those alterations way at the beginning of my sewing career and noticed this time that I hadn’t done a wonderful job. Fine for my experience at the time, but the bust darts were off and not trued, and I hadn’t added length to the body, so the back was longer than the front at the side seams.


Sadly I only realised after I cut the fabric, but I’m definitely going to have to go back and do it “properly”. The good thing this is that I recognised my errors right away – so yay for sewing progress!



I also flirted with putting the ease of the sleeves at the top and creating small gathers as I think that would look quite nice, but on second thought I reckoned there wasn’t enough ease to do it effectively, plus it might alter the shape of the sleeve elsewhere detrimentally, so I didn’t in the end. Next time perhaps!


Overall, it was a fun class and I learnt some good fundamentals to help me figure out how to attack other alterations I come up with. Important notes were to make sure the seam allowance is removed before playing with drafting, making sure you have 90 degree angles at seam points and keeping track of your notches as they’re very helpful! I hope to do more of this kind of thing this year.


11 thoughts on “New top: Scout tee with a petal sleeve

  1. Yes! Keeping track of notches. I didn’t do a great job of that on my Felix dress and am about to give it another go. Your petal sleeve looks beautiful and so spring-like! I love the idea of a bit of gathering on top too. Sounds like a great class and I’ll have to watch for 90 degree angles…

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    1. Haha – you know there is nothing like trying to draft something to make you watch out for notches. I’m normally a bit free and easy with them as well, but for this it would have been pretty impossible without them because of the overlapping sleeve halves. I find princess seams a bit like that too. Yes, I really fancy the gathering on top – I’m definitely going to try that out. I just need to figure out how and where to add the extra gathering length I guess… 🙂


    1. Thank you so much! Yes, it was fun but took a surprising number of tries to get it “right”-ish. It seemed like a very simple alteration, which it is in a way I suppose, but it’s only when you start doing it, you realise all the little things you need to take into consideration. It was really interesting! I have some great old books with tons of sleeve and other variations, so lots of food for thought!

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  2. Great sleeve variation! I’m wondering why you remove the seam allowance before altering the pattern? (Sometimes I like to know the theory behind it. Sometimes!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Melody! Sure thing – it’s something that I kind of knew but hadn’t really taken into consideration completely before. Basically, the seam allowance is only really there to allow you to sew the pattern pieces together – so that there is a line to sew along and give you a little fitting leeway. But when you’re altering a pattern, you only really want to alter the “actual” pattern, which is your printed/pdf pattern piece without the seam allowance. That’s why you can have a seam allowance of 1/4″, 3/8″, 5/8″, whatever you like really. The “actual” pattern piece remains the same whichever seam allowance you use.There are different ways to do it: some examples tell you to trim the seam allowance off, make your changes and then add it on again at the end. Alternatively, you can cut into your pattern up to the seam allowance line, and slash and spread the main part, without affecting the seam allowance. A typical full bust adjustment is a good example of that. I hope that helps a little! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you – that makes perfect sense. It actually also makes the notion of altering a pattern piece a bit easier to grasp! (The pattern piece without the seam allowance lol.)


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