Simplicity 5510: Tulip Sleeves And Puffed Sleeves. Together At Last.


the pattern:
Simplicity 5510 MISSES’ PULLOVER TOPS, copyright 1982 Simplicity Pattern Co. Inc.
I like the part where it says, “One-Yard Tops.” I like to imagine that at first it said three-quarters of a yard, but then they were like, “3/4…or like maybe 7/8… 15/16ths… ok whatever let’s say One-Yard, Tops. But like not more than that. For sure. Definitely. Pretty sure. Yes. Sticking with One.”

the fabric:
Same sheer white knit as that good old totally boring t-shirt I made earlier.
I figured while I had all the machines in white I might as well keep going.
View 4 is the obvious winner here.
I mean just look at View 4, how the illustrator has caught her immediately post finger-snap/head-slide/hip-pop.
But this sleeve, both gathered and tuliped, is a match made in not heaven.
Why why do I always fall for puffed sleeves. I know they are way too adorable for me to pull off. But I keep trying them. Will I learn? No.
Just look at that illustration. You can see right there, in black and pink, how the seam allowance rolls out and kicks up that puff in the dorkiest, most juvenile way possible. But I made it anyway.




pattern observations:

  • There is a notch on the sleeve pattern that shows where the overlap stops, and another that shows the shoulder seam on both the sleeve underlap and overlap, but no notch for where the underlap ends. This, I can say from experience, would not fly with any Union seamstress. If I had made this pattern, I would immediately have a stitcher at my table wanting to know exactly where the underlap is supposed to end. 
  • There is a lot of gathering in front of the shoulder seam. More than I am a fan of, but to the pattern’s credit it’s very clear about this fact in the illustration. I shoulda just seen all that puff and recognized. 
  • The pattern instructions want us to stabilize the shoulder seam with seam tape, as opposed to the more common Nothing, or failing that, Clear Elastic. Maybe clear elastic wasn’t readily available in 1982. 
  • The shoulders are really broad.
  • This shirt felt like it took forever to make.
  • It’s about twelve inches shorter than I like my shirts to be.
  • It’s also really loose and boxy, but that’s my fault: knowing how soft this fabric is, I should’ve stretched it on the table before I cut it.
  • I tried doing the binding at the neckline backwards. My thought was that it would look awesome, but instead it looks backwards. So that’s good, now I DEEPLY UNDERSTAND why we don’t do bindings backwards.

Sew It or Throw It:
Throw it.
I don’t really believe in fabric regrets, because making something is always better than not makng something, but in this case I really do kinda regret that I made this shirt, instead of just taking that sheer knit and cutting it into a totally simple unhemmed rectangle and wearing it as a scarf all winter. Maaaaaaaybe stamp printed with stars. But maybe just plain. I really like this knit and I don’t really like this shirt.
But like I said, making something is always better than not making something.
But it’s still a throw for the pattern. Someone out there is adorable enough for those puffs, it’s just not me. 


5 thoughts on “Simplicity 5510: Tulip Sleeves And Puffed Sleeves. Together At Last.

  1. I would expect any good machinist to chuck it back saying you’ve missed a notch, on that we certainly agree! The one I remember most is sides don’t match!! oops must have kept using the wrong block! I like an experiment and the sleeve does look good, but its just not you! Why don’t you remove the sleeves, use them to cut a binding strip and turn it into a vest top?


  2. Clear elastic was not available in 1982. I remember it being a new notion when I worked for House of Fabrics, in the late 80’s. I love your blog. So interesting, I collect old patterns but rarely sew them.


    1. Thank you! I used to collect them but rarely sew them. Now I’m trying to do it the other way around.
      Interesting about the clear elastic. It’s neat to see when certain techniques become possible for home use. And when techniques and technologies become common or even expected for home use, like how it’s not super surprising nowadays for home-sewing types to own a dressform and an overlock and maybe even a cover stitch in addition to a regular old sewing machine. I’m guessing the world of sewing blogs has been a major force in escalating what is considered normal for home use. It’s neat to think about.


  3. Oh the allure of the puff….. i do find it very interesting how different patterns recommend sewing knits. Obvs vintage home sewistz (ooh typo but I like it so I’m leaving it!) didn’t have overlockers but it’s amazing how even modern big 4 patterns have shit shit instructions on sewing knits (massive seam allowances, double rows of stitching, stretching out seams as you sew. Awful!).


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