Free Pattern Alert! Be sure to grab a copy of this free Bell Sleeve Swing Tee Sewing Pattern for girls. The T-shirt pattern comes in girl’s sizes 3 to 12. The sweet bell-sleeve and swingy style is sure to please any girly girl!
I can’t believe we are already a week into February, and I have yet to post one pink sewing project!
My Missy’s favorite colors are leaning towards blues, purples and turquoise, so any excuse to make her something pink is a winner in my book.
I’ve been planning a version of this top in my head for a couple of months now.
I was going to share it as a pattern hack of my long sleeve t-shirt pattern. Once I started working on the top, I figured now was as good of a time as any, to add an additional size to the t-shirt pattern. And after spending time adding the size 12 and fiddling with the pattern, it seemed easier to create and publish a new pattern than it would be to write up a new tutorial and explain how to get measurements. (And now I have lots of ideas to hack THIS pattern, lol!)
Ever since I made this Princess Peasant Top with the bell-shaped sleeve, my Missy has been requesting more tops with this style of sleeve. (You can see a second, similar version, done with shirring instead, here.) She loves how the bell sleeve looks and drapes; I guess they make her feel extra princess-y.
I did size up for her when sewing this pattern. Since we are so close to warmer weather, I wanted to be sure the top would be roomy enough for her to wear next year as well.
The fabric I used is a very nice quality baby rib-knit.
It cut so nicely with no fraying whatsoever; I decided to leave the hems unhemmed. I searched around for where this fabric might have come from, but could not find the source in my order histories anywhere. I know I’ve had it for a long time. (In fact, this fabric cut came out of my stash that I’ve earmarked to giveaway. Sorry about that! I really need to get that fabric giveaway I’m planning up before I use another cut from it, lol.)
Turned out so cute and swingy, don’t you think!
Ready to sew up one of these tops for your little princess?
Free Bell Sleeve Swing Tee
- Up to 1 1/4 yard of 58 inch stretch knit fabric (for largest size)
- Ribbed binding (usually has 50 to 70% stretch) or other stretchy knit for the neckline (you don’t want to use anything with less than 30% stretch-see notes under pattern tips and tricks)
- Ballpoint/jersey needle
- spray starch/iron
- basic sewing supplies
- Enter your name and email to download the pattern. Save it to your PC, open the pdf document in adobe reader. DO NOT print from google’s online version of adobe. (It will sometimes cause the pattern to print too small.)
- Make sure to choose ACTUAL SIZE when printing. Cut out around the grey boxes, lining up the colored dots and tape together.
- The seam allowance is 3/8 inch with a 1/2 inch bottom and sleeve hem.
- The pattern for the neck binding is designed for a ribbed knit with 50 to 75% stretch with good recovery (These are a good option.)
- If using a binding fabric with less stretch, you have two choices: 1st choice: Measure the neckline and cut a fabric strip 15% less than the measurement (multiply the neck measurement by .85) and follow the instructions in step 4. (This is the “in the round” method– and it never hurts to do the finger stretch test before sewing…) 2nd choice: The “flat” method– Sew only one shoulder closed, fold binding in half and attach the binding from one end of the neckline to the other. Trim excess binding and sew the other shoulder closed. (The only downside to this method is the seam will be on the side and slightly bulkier.) (Similar to what is done in this tutorial.)
Tips for sewing with knits:
- Use a ballpoint/stretch needle
- Sew seams with either a serger, stretch stitch, narrow zig zag or a straight stitch with a longer stitch length and a slightly loosened tension. (Make a couple of practice stitches on your fabric to see what works best.) I also like to use this “lightning bolt” stretch stitch on seams that need strength but a little give. (For my project I used a combination of straight stitch and serger for seams and zig zag on the hems.)
- Use spray starch when pressing hems. Sew hems with a zig zag, twin ball point needle, narrow zig zag with a long stitch length or a straight stitch with a long stitch length and a slightly loosened tension or leave raw. (also helps to use a walking foot.)
- If you find your fabric keeps getting pulled inside the needle plate, place a small piece of tissue underneath the fabric so the feed dogs have something to grip.
(Finished length – shoulder to side)
- Size 3: Height- 38.5 inches, Weight- 32 lbs, Finished length: 16. Finished chest: 23 inches
- Size 4: Height- 41.5 inches, Weight- 36 lbs, Finished length: 16.875. Finished chest: 23.5
- Size 5: Height- 44.5 inches, Weight- 42 lbs, Finished length: 17.625. Finished chest: 24.125
- Size 6: Height- 46.5 inches, Weight- 48 lbs, Finished length: 18.25. Finished chest: 25.75
- Size 7: Height- 51 inches, Weight- 60 lbs, Finished length: 18.875. Finished chest:27.5
- Size 8: Height- 53 inches, Weight- 66 lbs, Finished length: 19.5. Finished chest: 29
- Size 10: Height- 55 inches, Weight- 74 lbs, Finished length: 20.5. Finished chest: 30.25
- Size 12: Height- 57.5 inches, Weight- 84 lbs, Finished length: 21.75. Finished chest: 32.375
Products used and recommended in this post:
- My favorite fabric shop for knits: Funkalicious Fabrics, Fabric.com and Girl Charlee.
- My Sewing Machine: SINGER 9960 Quantum Stylist, my coverstitch: Janome Cover Pro 1000cpx
- My Serger: Brother 1034D 3 or 4 Thread Serger or you can just use Pinking Shears
- Rotary Cutter
- I love my large ruler and large cutting mat, but you may prefer to start of with a smaller Cutting set
- Dritz Dual Purpose Marking Pen and Fray Check
- Ball Point needles
- Singer walking foot or universal walking foot
- Wonder clips (I didn’t use these in the post, but they are just awesome!
Fabric layout suggestion:
(size 12, 58-inch wide stretch knit fabric)
Sewing Instructions for Free Bell Sleeve Swing Tee Sewing Pattern
Step 1: Print and Assemble pattern, cut out pattern pieces.
Save pattern to your desktop, open in adobe. Set to print actual size and print pattern. Cut out each block around the outer gray edge and align the gray boxes, edge to edge (don’t overlap) matching up colored circles. Tape pattern together and cut out size needed. (You can print the bodice twice- one for the front and one for the back or print once and use a tracing wheel and paper.)
Step 2: Cut pattern pieces from fabric.
Fold fabric so the stretch is running side to side. Follow cutting instructions on pattern pieces, lining up pattern pieces on fold when directed.
Cut out: 1 front bodice, 1 back bodice, 2 sleeves, 2 bell sleeve ruffles and neck binding.
If you are using ribbed binding or fabric with 50% stretch cut out neck binding from pattern. (Otherwise, you’ll want to measure the neckline and cut a strip that is about 15 % shorter than the neckline- or just use these measurements: 12= ,10= , 8= , 7= , 6=, 5=, 4=, 3= (remeasuring, will update soon.)
Step 3: Assemble sleeve.
If you plan to hem the sleeve of your top. Do that first. (Fold the edge of the sleeve over 1/2 inch and sew with a zig zag or other stretch stitch. TIP: Use spray starch on the hem to help stabilize the it for easier sewing. Repeat for other sleeve.)
Sew a gathering stitch at the top of the bell sleeve ruffle. (do both pieces.)
Gather ruffle until it is the same width as the bottom edge of the sleeve.
Right sides together, line up the raw edges, pin and sew right above the gathering stitch.
Flip sleeve over, press the seam allowance up and topstitch if desired.
Right sides together, line up front and back bodice. Sew together at shoulders, using a 3/8 inch seam allowance. (Don’t forget- if you decide to use the “flat method” (see binding tips above) only sew one shoulder closed.)
Step 4: Attaching neck binding.
Fold binding in half (as shown) press.
(“In the round” method”) Unfold binding, sew with a 3/8 inch seam allowance and trim excess seam.
Refold binding and divide into 4 equal sections. Mark t-shirt neckline into 4 equal sections.
(Please note: I adjusted the depth of the back neckline, so your side pins my be closer to the shoulder seams.)
Line up the quarter marks as shown:
Attach the binding to the neckline with a 3/8 inch seam allowance. Stretch the binding fabric as you sew. Take care to not let the neckline fabric stretch. (Go slow and know this my take practice.)
For a more finished look, you can topstitch along the edge of the neckline.
Step 5: Attaching sleeves.
Right sides together, line up top of sleeve with shoulder seam. Sew using a 3/8 inch seam allowance.
Repeat with other sleeve.
Step 6: Side seams and hem.
Sew along sleeve and down side of shirt. Repeat on other side.
Hem bottom of tee if desired. (Folding up 1/2 inch and sew with a zig zag or other stretch stitch.)
That’s it you’re done- now go take some pictures!
Don’t forget! If you make anything with one of my patterns, be sure to come back and share a photo of your finished project on my Facebook page or tag me on Instagram @scatteredmom, with #scatteredmompatterns!
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About the Author
Jamie Sanders is a wife and mom of 2, located in the heart of Texas. She founded Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom in 2011 as a place to share creative ideas and family friendly recipes. Her work has been featured on Martha Stewart, Woman’s World, HuffPost, TODAY, Pioneer Woman, HGTV, CNET, Good Housekeeping, Yahoo, Oprah Daily, and Redbook, plus many other publications. To date, she had given away just under a million free pdf sewing patterns.