| Sewing Patterns for the Modern Woman - Blog Post: Ballard Sewalong: Part 3

Ballard Sewalong: Part 3

By Allie

Allie is the co-founder of Indiesew and creator of all things pretty on the site. Follow Allie and receive other Indiesew updates by subscribing to the blog.

Ballard Sewalong Part 3 |

Need to catch up?
Ballard Sewalong Part I: Preparing to Sew
Ballard Sewalong Part II: Front and Back Bodice

We’re moving on to Part 3 of our Ballard Sewalong today, and to be honest with each passing day I love the Ballard sewing pattern by Straight Stitch Designs even more. With a casual fit and peek-a-boo back, you won't find another pattern quite like this. I'm so excited to show you our style post later this week! Put this split back top on a cute little pilates lady and you can't go wrong, really.

In Part 2 of the Ballard Sewalong we prepped our front and back bodice pieces to be sewn together. That required some gathering, hemming and good old fashioned basting. Today, we’re attaching those bodice pieces and putting on the sleeves. By the end of the today, you will almost have a wearable top! So let’s get into Part 3 of this sewalong.

Sew Shoulder Seams

Lay your fully prepped front and back bodice pieces on a flat surface with right sides together and the raw edges of the shoulders are aligned. Pin every 1” or so.

Now serge (or sew with a stretch stitch, such as a zig-zag stitch) across both pinned shoulder with a 3/8” seam allowance. Make sure to remove your pins as you sew or serge.

Serge Shoulders | Ballard Sewalong, pattern by Straight Stitch Designs

Press the shoulder seam towards the back bodice. Blog | Press Shoulder Seams Back

Insert Sleeves

Now that your shoulder seams are sewn, let’s move onto the sleeves. Before you unfold each sleeve pattern piece, make sure to mark the center fold line with a pin.

Mark Center Sleeve | Ballard Sewalong Part 3

We’ll be inserting the sleeves of the Ballard top in a method called “in-the-flat”. Basically, you’ll sew the sleeves into the top, before the side seams are sewn up. This method is generally easier for beginner sewists.

Lay your top's bodices on a flat surface so that the right side is facing you as shown below. Align the center of your sleeve that you previously marked with a pin with the shoulder seam, with right sides together and pin.

Pin Center Sleeve | Ballard Sewing Pattern

Now continue pinning your sleeve to your armscye on either side of the shoulder seam. You may have to stretch the front or back bodice slightly so that the both fabric pieces align. This is called “easing” and is a normal technique when inserting sleeves.

Pin Sleeve to Bodice | Sewing Tutorials

Now sew or serge your sleeve to the armscye. Stretch your fabric slightly as you sew to avoid puckering where you eased the fabric.

Ballard Sewalong | Part 3: Serge Armscye

Repeat for second sleeve.

Sew Side Seams

There’s only one more step in today’s sewalong folks, and it is by far the most simple. Now that our sleeves are attached, we can sew up our side seams!

First, align the raw edges of the bottom of the sleeves, the armpit seam, and the bottom of the shirt and pin. Then pin every 2” or so between these points to make sure the fabric is distributed evenly and lays flat. Your pinned side seams should look like this:

Pin Sides and Sleeves | Ballard Sewalong at

Repeat for the opposite side.

Now sew or serge down this seam, starting at the cuff and traveling down to the shirt bottom on both sides.

Ballard Sewalong Part 3 | Serge Side Seams

That’s it for today! Feel free to try on your top to get a sense of how it will fit. Keep in mind that the neckline will be knit-bound so it won’t be quite so wide and loose. The sleeves and bottom of the top will also have a nice large cuff. We’ll cover those steps in Part 4 of the Ballard Sewalong!

If you haven’t had a chance, go take a look at the Ballard creations that our users have submitted. There’s plenty of inspiration there to get started on your own version! Stay tuned for lots more Ballard goodness coming your way the rest of the week. Make sure you follow us on Instagram to see sneak peeks of how we styled this top!

Need to catch up?
Ballard Sewalong Part I: Preparing to Sew
Ballard Sewalong Part II: Front and Back Bodice

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