Creating shoulder peek-a-boo cut outs

How amazing are these tops and dresses with peek-a-boo shoulders!?  I just love them all.  So, naturally, I had to make a few myself.  I love the fit of Patterns for Pirates, Sweetheart dress, so that what I will be using today.  I also added a hood, using their raglan add-on pack.  Yes, hoods can be added to just about anything.

To make the shoulder peek-a-boo cut-outs, you will need to decide how low you want your shoulder cut out to be.  Or how much skin you want to show.  It is your preference and choice.  I don’t always make mine the same; it depends on my mood and the look I am going for. For this dress, I went with 3.5″ which will give me a good size scoop.  You will want to mark that point on your pattern piece, down the fold side.  I like to draw right on my pattern piece, but if you don’t want to just transfer your pattern to another paper.  The next mark you will make is for the arm hole, or rather where you will be cutting off the armhole.  I have small arms, so I  measure 4.5″ from the point, along the curve, and mark that.  You can go up higher if you ‘d like.  The best way to get this measurement is to put on a garment with the same pattern that you have already made and measure it while it is on you.  Or something (even store bought) with a similar fit.

Once you have those two markings, connect them with a “scoop” or “oval” type shape.


Not all sleeve pattern pieces are the same.  Some are cut on a fold (like the Patterns for Pirates), and that makes thing a little easier.  Others are not symmetrical, so they may take a little more work, finding the center and  getting your measurements right.  This is the hardest part.  After this it’s cake.


So, you marked and drew your scoop/ oval shape on your pattern piece.  Now cut it out.  It should look a lot like this.


Sew your side seams on your garment, and the arm seams on your newly modified sleeve pieces.


Using pins or clips to line up side seams and gently match up the sleeve and arm hole.  This is only sewn about 1/2 way around the arm hole.


After it is attached, you will have this. Or something similar, depending on your measurements and style you are trying to achieve.


Now, we need to make a band for this to enclose the hole and keep it up and not sag while you wear it. Measure the opening.  Then take your number and multiply it by 0.85 or 85%.  That will be your band length.  Te process is the same as making a neckband.  If you want to check out my tips for that, you can do that here.
Here is my math for my band.
17″ X 0.85= 14.5″ (( This is my band length)

I am going to cut my band 14.5″ long and 1.75″ wide.


Here they are.  Remember to cut two since you have two shoulders.  Sew the short ends together to make a loop.  Then fold in half matching up raw edges, and mark in quarters with pins.

sleeve-peek-a-boo-9 sleeve-peek-a-boo-10

Mark your shoulder hole in quarters with pins.  Then match up your band with your shoulder hole, right sides together.  The best way to do this is to work on the inside of your sleeve.  Again, just like a neckband.


Here is what you will get after it is all sewn on. I like to top stitch mine with either a twin needle or my coverstitch machine. But that is your choice.  You can leave them like this if you’d like, but the bands will stay in better form and function if you do top stitch.


I just love this look! It is just that extra touch to make it yours, unique, and trendy.



To get this full look, you will need to follow these other tutorials:
Adding long sleeve cuffs with snap or button details
Adding inset pockets to a circle skirt

Here are some examples of the asymmetrical sleeve.  You know the one that was not cut on a fold.


This one I used my coverstitch machine to add a decorative contrasting stitch.


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