Today I've got an easy way to add some cap sleeves to a sleeveless child's dress. (Note: You could do the same thing with an adolescent or adult dress as well if you can find lace trim wide enough).
I bought this lovely purple dress (pictured to the left, sans the sleeves) on Walmart.com for $5.
Alas, there were no sleeves, but I bought it knowing that I am capable of making sleeves if I put aside my laziness. Still, I really wanted to do this the easiest way possible (read: laziest way possible - I mean, the dress has been hanging in the closet unaltered and unworn for a month).
So to minimize effort, I thought that if I could match the lace trim around the neckline with some trim I have in my lace hoard I wouldn't have to 'make' my own sleeves - I could just sew the lace in place and voilà!
And this is what I found in my lace box, right on top:
I thought it was pretty much perfect and I only had to spend a total of two minutes in what I have endearingly christened 'the Pit of Hell' - our storage unit - finding it.
I took a few minutes to position it the way I wanted it (you can gather it if you want - I didn't on this one. You can see in the picture that this particular lace already has gathering stitches in it - a lazy sewers dream). I just laid it in there straight and tapered the ends in at the underarms so there wouldn't be chafing.
Tapering under the arms:
I actually sewed it to the little lip on the innermost edge of the hem fold, if that makes sense. It only gave me about 1/8 of an inch worth of fabric to work with so it was pretty tight. But you can't see the stitching from the outside, which is exactly what I wanted!
Serger-like stitch on hem fold:
Sweet and perfect. My girl just looks radiant in purple.