linen split flutter sleeve tee

All of my t-shirts have been slowly wearing out, so at the moment, I have t-shirts on the brain.  You know what that means, right?  It’s time to dust off my Pinterest boards and get to hacking.  This linen split flutter sleeve tee started as a search for something to do with linen knit, and it’s become one of my favorite hacks I’ve ever done.  It’s a simple hack, but I think it’s really effective, plus it has a Romantic sort of style that’s airy and perfect for summer.

I’m so excited about this, that I decided to dive headlong into the notion of video tutorials.  I’m working on editing a video featuring a tutorial for this top.  Look for it here on Thursday!

Linen Split Flutter Sleeve Tee

Inspiration

I went searching for linen tees, and this J Crew one was one of the first that popped up.  I love the idea of a flutter sleeve.

The J Crew sleeve is constructed much differently than what I settled on, but I like the overall effect.  I chose to change up my sleeve like this Whistles’ top but with an added split in the sleeve.

My pattern of choice

I chose to start with Straight Stitch Design’s Greenwood Tank.  I like the shoulder width on this tank, and after I altered it to have the same armhole as my favorite Jalie 2921 tee, it’s become a favorite tank pattern.  Because it has the same armhole as the Jalie tee, I can freely pop in Jalie sleeves.  For this tee, I started with the cap sleeve from the Jalie 2921.  A few quick changes, and the cap became a flutter sleeve with a split.

linen split flutter sleeve tee

Linen knit

I have a couple of linen knits in my stash that I’ve been saving.  Linen is my #1 favorite summer fiber to work with, and when I started seeing linen knits pop up in RTW stores like Madewell and J Crew a few years back, I decided to try and find some of my own linen knits.  I’ve picked up mine from Fabric Mart and Cali Fabrics‘ San Francisco store, but I know I’ve seen them at Harts’ Fabric and Mood.

What’s lovely about linen knit is the breathability.  It’s so light, and I daresay that it’d still remain cool in the sweatiest of summer climes.

linen split flutter sleeve tee

There are a couple of drawbacks to linen knit.

  1. They’re sheer.  You’re either lining this, wearing a cami, or showing more than is advisable.
  2. They don’t recover well.  This fabric does not bounce back well.  It’ll require special handling and good pattern choice so that it doesn’t stretch out into a pile of falling off your shoulders.

The lining that I added helped with both of these problems.  I can wear the tee without worry of showing too much, and the lining fabric (a very bouncy poly spandex with superhero recovery) helps support the linen.

linen split flutter sleeve tee

A growing binding

I opted for a simpler neckline finish than the Greenwood.  In the original pattern, the folded bindings are stitched on, then flipped over the stitch line and stitched down.  It makes for a really clean finish, but again, I wanted to avoid overworking the linen.

As it was, I had to baste the binding on 3 times because it was too long and kept stretching out more every time I touched it.

Once I got the correct length, I stitched the folded binding just once, serged the raw edge and then stitched it down below the neck seam.

Watch this space for the video tutorial on this top!

linen split flutter sleeve tee

Have you sewn with linen knits before?  How did it go?

14 Comments

  1. It turned out really well! I was really struggling with a similar sleeve on a Lekala top 2 weeks ago up the the point of abandoning the project with the sleeve unattached because it didn’t fit in and I thought I joined the pieces the wrong way. I think I figured out what I have done wrong and your top just remind me I should go finish that one up!

    • elizabethmadethis Reply

      I’m sure you’ll figure it out! You’re such a great technician in your sewing!
      It’s such a pretty sleeve, but the extra volume does make the sleeve look super weird. I have to remind myself which is the cap and which is the hem. That’s part of the reason I hemmed the edges before I set the sleeve.

  2. Great linen tee! I’ve made several tops from linen knit and enjoyed the process. You can feel how great the fabric will be to wear as you sew with it…kind of a zen experience for me. Yours is lovely!

    • elizabethmadethis Reply

      Thank you! It’s great stuff…if only it weren’t so pricey! It has such a unique hand: a bit papery and yet smooth and beautifully flowing.

  3. gilliancrafts Reply

    That top is *so* pretty! Can’t wait to watch you video, too! And the tips on linen were great – I’ll keep them in mind!

    • elizabethmadethis Reply

      Thanks Gillian! I wrote more tips for working with it, but I figured it warranted another post….which means I should buy some more linen knit! 😀 I do have a similar ivory with gold flecks…

  4. Thank you for posting this information. Love your tags and labels. I’m in the market for some new ones. Thanks again. C

    • elizabethmadethis Reply

      Glad to help Cennetta! I’ve been really happy with what they sent me, and I would definitely not hesitate to recommend them!

    • elizabethmadethis Reply

      Thanks Tomasa! That’s my favorite thing about ivory–it has that soft quality to it.

  5. This is so, so pretty- I love your style! I will definitely try your flutter sleeve hack. I have recently sewn with a linen knit and found it to be challenging as well. But I absolutely love the feel of it when wearing it, so I’m up for sewing with it again.

    • Thank you Ann! I’m glad you enjoyed it, and I hope you find the tutorial helpful. Feel free to tag me on IG (@elizabethmadethis) when you make yours–I’d love to see it! I’m finding just that with linen knit; though it’s a little difficult to work with, it is about the nicest thing to wear. The hand and the coolness are unbeatable!

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