Sew A Little Seam - Constance (with color block sleeve hack)
I still can’t believe it has taken me this long to finally sew up the Women’s Constance from Sew A Little Seam (kids version here). I seriously love it! Now that it’s starting to get a little cooler, I’m going to be needing some more long sleeves and this is perfect! Which also means I need to sew some for Max! (who is always needing new clothes…darn growing babies!) This top has endless options! It can be made as just a short/elbow/ 3/4 /long sleeve shirt (with banded sleeve options or hemmed), straight/curved/banded hems, shirt/tunic/dress length, you can use thicker fabric for a cozy sweater, or add a hood and a kangaroo pocket for a cute hoodie! I now just have to decide which option I want to make next…
Color Block Sleeve Hack!
This hack is super super easy. And it looks even better when you add the elbow patches! The main thing to remember is which sleeve piece belongs to which sleeve, especially since the sleeve is not cut on the fold. you will want to make sure you do cut 2 mirror images for the top sleeve piece and the bottom. You can always just do one sleeve at a time, and then you won’t have to worry about a thing!
For this particular color blocking, I used the cut line for the banded short sleeve for the top portion of the sleeve. You can make the color blocked piece bigger or smaller, but this at least gives you a starting point. I also used the long sleeve cuff cutline. You can use the hem cutline, but it won’t really look as “color blocked”.
Don’t forget to add a seam allowance! (If you plan on making lots of color block sleeves, you might as well just make new pattern pieces that have the seam allowance included. Then you don’t have to remember to add it while you are cutting out your fabric.) You will need to add 3/8” to both the top and bottom pieces where you are going to be stitching the 2 pieces together. (If you are going to use a smaller seam allowance, just add the amount you need.)
Alternately, you can skip adding a seam allowance but you will need to add the length you lost somewhere. The best option is to add length to the cuff! (I personally love the longer cuff length look anyway.) If you used a 3/8 seam allowance, you will need to add 1.5in to the cuff (remember, the cuff is going to be folded in half, so it needs to be doubled). You can also add the seam allowance and still and length to your cuffs! ;) Don’t be afraid to play around with it!
*If you are taller or shorter than what the pattern is drafted for, you may need to add or remove length in the sleeve, as well as the bodice.
**Don’t forget to always grade your pattern to your specific measurements! It really doesn’t take very much extra time and you will be happier with the final product.
The fabric I used for this Constance with Club Jersey (white/blue stripes) from Raspberry Creek Fabrics and the main floral is french terry. I’m pretty sure the floral is from So Sew English Fabrics, but I may be wrong (I got it from a raffle prize). Even if I’m wrong, SSE has TONS of cute floral French Terry, among tons of beautiful fabrics. #takeallmymoney
Wide Neckband issues?
The only issues I had with this top was the neckband. It very well could be my fabric choice, but my neckband folds up in the middle, almost like it’s too loose in the middle. (This can sometimes happen with wider neckbands) I’ll have to play around with these before I made a consensus, but if this happens to you (with any top with a wide neckband, not just the Constance), you have a few options to try:
Deal with it! The easiest and least hassle.
Fold the neckband down and top stitch it. It will look a little more like a binding and will be a much skinner band.
Try taking out some length in the band. Maybe try this on your next one if you don’t want to rip out the seams. Not sure if this will fix the issue, so be sure to baste it on.
Similar to number 3 (this is what I’m going to try next), take out a little triangle at the two short ends (it will be shorter in the middle when folded and the regular lengths on the long raw edges). Once the neckband is sewn on, the folded edge will be smaller/tighter, which should fix the band from folding up. You are probably going to have to play around with how big of a triangle you would need to take out. This will really depend on fabric choice.
Keep the neckband length, but make it a little narrower (take out some width). However, it still might not get rid of the issue completely, depending on your fabric choice (though, I love the look of the wider neckband, so I don’t love this option haha).
Often with sewing, there will be trial and error, so don’t get discouraged if you make a mistake! If you run into any issues, please let me know and I can try and help. <3
If you sew a Constance (especially a color blocked version!) please share it with me! Send me a link in the comments, I’d love to see!