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This Cara Dune tutorial shows you how to make the black undershirt with ribbed sleeves. This includes a guide for making the sleeve pattern and sewing in the ribbed channels.
- Black knit fabric similar to undershirt, medium or heavyweight.
- 3/16″ (5mm) or 1/4″ (6mm) cording (I used type IV paracord)
- Black thread
- Fitted black bodysuit or tee
- Piping foot (optional)
- Marking pen or pencil
Seam allowance: 3/8″ (1 cm; unless otherwise noted)
We’ll start with making a new sleeve pattern that fits your current undershirt but also accommodates the piping channels.
Making the sleeve pattern
There are 5 piped channels on each sleeve. However, we are only going to sew 4 channels and skip the piping in the shoulder seam.
I drew a base pattern using the sleeve on the bodysuit. Here is a tutorial on how to create a pattern from the clothes you already have. Use the bodysuit you have to create the pattern!
On the sleeve pattern, I drew in the piping channels. Make sure they are evenly spaced and follow the contour of the shoulder seam (except for the bottom channel which is straight). Leave a seam allowance on each side. I also left 1/2″ at the bottom to fit over the piping.
Now, we will be cutting and spreading the sleeve pattern to accommodate the cording. Cut the pattern apart on the 3 middle piping channels. Space them far enough apart to fit the circumference of your piping.
Tape it together. I taped it onto another sheet of paper. Trace around the edge. True the lines and cut out your new sleeve pattern.
On the new pattern, I poked holes in the channel lines so I could easily mark them on my sleeve fabric. Your finished pattern should look similar to the pattern below.
Sewing the sleeve
Cut 2 from the fabric with your sleeve pattern and don’t forget to mark the piping channel lines and where they begin and end.
Sew the piping along the lines. I sandwiched the piping between the fabric, with the lines in the middle. If you need more instruction on sewing piping, visit the post on how to sew piping.
Then I sewed the piping in with a 3/16″ piping foot. If you don’t have a piping foot, I’d highly recommend purchasing one. Especially if you plan to make your own piping for the rest of the Cara Dune costume. Otherwise, a zipper foot will work as well.
After sewing all four piping channels, this is what the sleeve will looks like. A wonky, uneven mess. Don’t worry, it will work itself out when you sew it on the bodysuit.
I took some time to cut the ends of the piping from the underside to reduce bulk in the underarm. It also helps the sleeve stretch horizontally once the underarm seam is sewn.
Now, its time to sew the sleeve to the bodysuit. Align the middle of the shoulder apex to the shoulder seam on the bodysuit. You’ll want to pin these right sides together with the sleeve inside out. Pin this all the way around the arm hole until your reach the underarm seam.
Starting at the underarm seam, sew all the way around the armhole and leave the underarm seam open.
Turn the bodysuit, including the sleeve, inside out. Pin the underarm seam right sides together.
Sew this together making sure to end your stitches on the side seam. This will totally enclose the underarm area. Trim any bulky seams and press with an iron if needed. Turn right side out and enjoy your work.