Friday, August 31, 2012

Knight's Pleat Sleeves

Littleheart's second Birthday is coming up next month, and I want to make her a special outfit for the occasion. I am planning on making her a rainbow birthday party, and am designing her outfit accordingly. I will post about the finished outfit when it is done, but today I would like to show you how to make a Knight's Pleat Sleeve (which I am using for her birthday shirt). I saw this sleeve on a woman a while back, and have recreated it from my memory (so I am not sure if it is like that shirt, but I like the outcome, so who cares, right?). I call it the Knight's Pleat Sleeve because it reminds me of the armor the medieval knights used to wear:

This sleeve works for any shirt, adults or children.
Want to make it? Here is how!

What you will need
A T-shirt pattern
1/2 yard of knit fabric (for child shirt)
a strip of matching lightweight cotton fabric. The strip needs to be 4 times the legth of your sleeve piece and 2.5 times the width (at the widest part of the sleeve). This might be a bit too much, but I like to be on the safe side...

The type of pleats you are going to make is called "Knife Pleat". If you want a detailed exlanation on how to make a knife pleat I found a good one at Burda.

Take your strip of cotton fabric. Start making your pleats at one of the short ends and continue all the way to the other end. 
Pin each pleat in three places: the two ends and the middle. Continue making your pleats all the way to the other side.  It should look like this:

Now stich across all the pleats on the two ends of the material and in the middle. Make sure you stich as close to the edge as possible (for the side seams). These are actually supporting seams that you do not want to see later.

Your piece should look like this:

Iron down your pleats.

Now fold your strip at the middle seam and iron again.

Take your sleeve pattern piece and place it on your folded pleated material.The straight part of the sleeve should be lined up with the fold. Pin in place.

Now sew along the line of the sleeve, half an inch away from the edge (this is your seam allowance).

Trim close to where you stiched.

Sew together your front and back bodice at the shoulder seams.

Set your sleeve in your shirt (before you sew the side seams). Sew along the rounded part.

Sew your side seams, starting at the sleeve.

Hem your shirt and make the neckline however you want.

Have fun!

I will be linking up to some of the link parties on this page . 


  1. I love the sleeves and the shirt! You did a fabulous job on it. I'd love for you to link it up to our What I Wore Sunday link party:

    See you soon!

    P.S. Hope your little one has a happy birthday! :)

  2. I love the effect the pleats give to the sleeves!!!

  3. This is such a great idea, thanks for sharing!