Hi Guys, here is another post that’s been moved over from the old SewSheSho blog. A few years ago I wrote a tutorial on hacking the Tilly & The Buttons Agnes pattern into a batwing top. It was one of the most read posts on the old blog so it would be a shame to lose it, and with One Week, One Pattern coming up it would be a great pattern choice! Excuse the old, indoor photos!
Since my last post on Agnes many moons ago, a few of you have asked for a post on how I made my bat wing version. It was a bit of a trial and error experiment and luckily it seemed to come out fairly well. I’ll try and show you how I did it, but feel free to let me know if you have an easier way! You could use any fitted bodice pattern, or draft your own. I’ve used Agnes as for me it’s a great fit and a really versatile pattern.
First take the Agnes front bodice piece and flip it over so the markings are on the bottom. Next, draw round this piece onto your pattern paper so that the centre fold is on the left of your paper, like so. Mark this piece with an F so you know it’s the front.
Now take the back bodice piece and lay it on it’s side so that the centre fold is on the bottom of your pattern paper and the waist curve crosses the waist curve on your front piece, as below. Draw round this piece and mark with a B.
You should now have both bodice pieces overlapping at 90 degrees. Draw a line between the outer shoulder point on both your F & B pieces, this is shown below in blue. You now need to take two measurements; First measure from your shoulder point to your wrist (or to wherever you want your sleeve to finish.) We’ll use 30″ for this example. You need to draw this measurement from the blue line out towards the edge of the paper. This is the green line below. To make sure you get it exactly central, draw the green line all the way across the bodices, ensuring it crosses at the point where the waists meet, as below. It’s important to remember that your shoulder to wrist measurement (30″ here) needs to be past the blue line, the rest of the green line is to ensure it’s centred correctly.
Secondly, measure around your wrist and add any ease until it feels comfortable. For example, if your wrist is 7″ and you want to add 1″ ease for comfort then your figure is 8″. Note, as you’re using jersey with stretch, you don’t have to add ease if you want your sleeve to be fitted to your wrist. You need to double your figure as you have two wrists, so your wrist figure is 16″ in this example. You need to draw a line perpendicular to your green line which is your wrist figure. It’s shown below in red. Make sure the green line is at the centre of the red line, so in this case there is 8″ of red line either side of the green.
Join the wrist points to the shoulder point on both sides, shown below in blue. This will be your sleeve. Smooth out the shoulder and waist points by drawing slight curves where the sharp joins meet.
You now have two complete bodice pieces, but as they’re overlapping you’ll need to trace them on to new pieces of pattern paper as per below. Mark the grainline and any other markings you want to add.
You’ve now got a front and back bat wing pattern! Use the same construction method as you would with Agnes, join the shoulder/sleeve top seams first, add the neck band and then sew the side seams. Finish the sleeves and hem by folding over and using a double needle. If you find the pattern piece is too wide for your fabric as the sleeve is very long, you could cut your sleeve piece as the below blue line and add a seam allowance. This would allow you to put the sleeve elsewhere on your fabric when cutting. I chose just to run right to the edge of the fabric and bring in the sleeve.
When you try it on, you may find you want a little less volume in the sides, if so just take it in slightly to your personal taste.
Hopefully this has been relatively easy to follow and it will come in useful to some of you! Please do let me know if you make your own batwing Agnes, and feel free to ask any questions in the comments below.