Adding Sleeves to the Gathered Tankini Swimsuit

Hi everyone!  My name is Teri Geurts and I’m a pattern tester at Ellie and Mac.  I'm sure you have seen Ellie and Mac’s awesome new Gathered Tankini Swimsuit pattern.  Did you know that you can add sleeves to it?!?  My shoulders are always the first place I burn or get pink, so covering them has become almost a necessity these days. 

When I got the opportunity to pattern test this pattern, I got a clear picture in my head of it with sleeves, and I KNEW I needed to make it happen. I made some modifications and figured out how to add them to my final! Let me walk you through what I did:

First of all, I had to find a sleeve pattern that would be the closest fit to the armscye.  I found that the sleeve of the Discoverer Tee Pattern would fit pretty closely. For this pattern, I didn't want to have as long of a sleeve as the Discoverer Tee has, so I shorted the short sleeve length until I got what I thought I would like, and then I took a chance! 

I know that there are ways to somehow burrito roll method the sleeves in so that they have a hidden seam too, but I decided to go simple.  I changed the flow of putting the pattern together so that I finished my shelf bra fully first.  I liked this because this allowed me to get the fit of my shelf bra just right before I attached it to the outer top.  An option that I think would be a good idea would be to add some elastic to the armscye of the shelf bra to help retain shape.

You'll start by pinning and sewing the shoulder and side seams for the shelf bra.  Add the elastic per the pattern tutorial, but it's easy enough to try it on and get the fit of the elastic just right at this point. I chose to add power mesh to my shelf bra, so I basted the front pieces and then the back pieces together with a zigzag stitch to start, then I attached the shoulders and side seams together.  


Once the shelf bra is done, take the main/outer pieces and sew them together at shoulders and sides. 


Take your sleeve pieces and sew them together to form a circle. Set the sleeves aside. You'll pick up the pattern tutorial here with gathering the front of the main/outer, and then attaching the shelf bra to the main/outer at the neck.  


With the 2 pieces together, you'll now flip the top inside out with the shelf bra pulled up and out of the way.  Insert your sleeves into the arm hole of your main/outer.  I find it works best if I quarter the sleeve edge and the arm hold edge, match those up, and gently ease the space between them, pinning as I go.  Sew the sleeves in.  You can either hem your sleeves or add a band.  I like my sleeves loose, so I had added a bit of extra width in my sleeve pattern piece and then I did a band at 90% of the total width of the sleeve raw edge.  Then it's just back to the pattern to finish it off with adding the waistband in!  :)  


(Written by: Teri Geurts)
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