One of my all-time favourite dresses (that’s not historical or some kind of costume) is the olive green “Cinderella dress” I made a couple of years ago. I love to wear it with delicate blouses in the summer, but adding sweaters in the autumn takes away from the look I think.
I decided to add detachable sleeves, and thus extend the season for it a bit. I asked for advice as to how best to go about it, and the lovely Alessandra told me of her experience with something I was leaning towards, and ended up doing.
I did have a bit more of the dress fabric left, but not enough to make full length sleeves without piecing. I decided to make short puffs at the top, and the lower sleeves are cut on the bias. The puffed part of the sleeves have a slightly shorter, fitted lining, attached to the lower sleeve, which makes sure the puffs are keeping their shape nicely.
I put piping at the sleeve head, the seam between upper and lower sleeve, and at the wrist, matching those on the dress bodice.
The sleeves are attached by lacing strips around the armscye and sleeve head. I stitched down the strips on both sides, but left openings every three centimetres, with those of the sleeves staggered from those in the armscye. I braided a cord from cotton yarn, and that was it – works a charm.
For now I use laces in a shade close to that of the dress, but for variety I could use different colours and materials. How tightly I lace can also be varied, from being so tight the sleeves look stitched on, to a wide gap between bodice and sleeve.
I think this dress will need more upgrades to be perfect: it’s a bit tight across the bust – breastfeeding can have that effect – so I’m thinking of opening up the front seem and adding lacing there too, with a modesty panel from the dress fabric behind it…. EDIT: Read about that here.