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Tutorial: Add a keyhole and ties to the Violet blouse sleeves


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One way to make the Violet Blouse your own is to play with the sleeves, which are the perfect blank canvas for a bit of customization. Adding a keyhole and ties is a fun and feminine detail that doesn’t take very much extra time or pattern alteration.

To do this modification, you’ll need the sleeve pattern piece and about 3 yards of 1/4″ double fold bias tape. You can use prepackaged or make your own.

(And just a reminder – since the Violet Blouse is the Pattern of the Month, it’s 20% off in the shop through the end of January using code VIOLETMONTH at checkout.)

Prep the pattern piece

1) First, trace off or photocopy the sleeve pattern piece (G).

2) Draw a line 5/8″ above the bottom edge and trim it off. This is the hem allowance, which we won’t need since the bottom edge will bias bound.


3) Draw a line parallel to the grainline and directly through the circle marking the shoulder point at the top of the pattern piece.


4) The size and shape of the keyhole are up to you. For reference, I made mine 3″ tall and 1″ wide at the bottom. Mark the height and bottom width of the keyhole, centered over the vertical line, and use a curved ruler to draw half the keyhole. You don’t need to add any seam or hem allowance; the line you draw will be the finished size.


Note: If you’d like to add a keyhole to Version 2, you’ll need to make the keyhole much wider at the bottom to account for the gathers. First figure out the finished circumference you’d like the sleeve opening, then measure the bottom sleeve edge less the seam allowances to determine the difference. This difference plus 1″ should be the keyhole width at the bottom. Then do a quick mockup to make sure the sizing works.

5) Fold the pattern piece along the vertical line and trace the other half of the keyhole. Hold it against the window if you need more light. This ensures that the keyhole is symmetrical.


6) Cut along keyhole line.


sew the keyhole

1) Cut out two sleeves as indicated in the pattern.

2) Cut a piece of bias tape slightly longer than the keyhole.


3) To help make the bias tape easier to attach, curve it into the approximate shape and size of the keyhole and steam it. Make sure the folded edge of the bias tape is on the inside of the curve.


4) Unfold one edge of the bias tape and align the raw edge with the raw edge of the keyhole, right sides together. Stitch in the fold closest to the edge to attach tape to fabric. When you get to the top of the keyhole where it’s very curvy, sew a few stitches at a time, stopping with the needle down and lifting the presser foot to position the next bit of bias tape. Try not to stretch the fabric as you sew.


5) If your bias tape is very wrinkly at the top, trim it close to the stitching.


6) Refold bias tape around edge of fabric and pin.


7) From the right side, edge stitch along free edge of bias tape. This should catch the edge of the bias tape on the wrong side.


8) Sew side seam as indicated in pattern, finish edges and press open.


sew the ties

1) Measure the length of the bottom edge of the sleeve and cut a piece of bias tape 16″ longer. Open one fold and pin to bottom of sleeve, raw edges and right sides together, so that 8″ extends off each end of the keyhole.


2) Starting at the edge of the keyhole, stitch in the first fold of the bias tape to attach it to the fabric. End at the other edge of the keyhole.


3) Fold bias tape around edge of fabric and pin. Refold ties as well. Tuck in raw edge of tie ends.


4) Starting at one end of the ties and from the right side, edge stitch along free edge of bias tape, sewing along the tie, around the sleeve, and along the other tie.


5) Tie ties into a bow and complete sleeve insertion as pattern indicates. Repeat for other sleeve.

Do you have any other ideas for ways to dress up the sleeves of the Violet Blouse?

This post is part of #violetmonth. Get 20% off on the Violet pattern thought January 2015 with code VIOLETMONTH and follow along with tutorials and ideas on the blog.

Devon Iott   —  

Raised on a farm in Ohio, Devon moved to Los Angeles for college and worked in the film industry for several years. She has taught sewing at various shops throughout Southern California and at the Craftcation Conference in Ventura. She now resides and teaches in Nashville. When not obsessively sewing she can be found knitting, baking, and drinking wine with her cat.

Comments 11


the tutorial is so clear, as usual. thank you Sarai :))


Just want to point out that this one was contributed by Devon, not me. :)


Great !! Many thanks !!


Your tutorials are excellent. You make each step so clear and simple–you actually make it seem doable for me. :-)

Alanna Jane

❤️ Absolutely gorgeous!! I’m swooning with the simple-but-knockout femininity of this mod. ❤️


Hi I am just new to your site and making a comeback to sewing after about 20 yrs.

I am very impressed with your pictures and how simple you make everything.

I am about to update my Bernina 830 electronic which I have now owned for about 37 years ( time flys). What do you recommend I was thinking of the Bernina 350 PE. Your guidance wd be appreciated .


Sarai actually has a post on this from last year: How to shop for your first (or next) Bernina.

bobbie Calgaro

tucks wouldbe cute on the sleeve either horizontal or vertical. Verical pintucks on the sleeve with machine embroidery in between, then matching ones on the front of the blouse,


So grateful for the knowledge!! Have a great rest of the week:)


Such a nice and fresh idea for spicing up a hemline – and all so neatly done!!

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