Since the dress has to look complete without the sleeves, it follows that the loops that the sleeve ribbons are tied to should be on the inside of the armhole.
You'll need five loops for each sleeve, spaced out along the top edge of the "eye" shaped armscye with the first and last loops at the corners. The sleeve doesn't attach to the dress at the underarm, but stays in place fairly naturally since you won't be able to raise your arm very far anyway!
To make the loops:
|1. Make four big stitches side by side, just the width of the ribbon so that the finished loops won't sag and the sleeves will stay tight to the armholes. Sew through as many layers as you can without letting the stitches show on the outside. (Click on the the photos to enlarge, and if you're left-handed like me, click here for the original version of the photo!)|
|2. Begin at one end and take the thread over the top of the big stitches, underneath them and up through the loop you've made. Repeat all the way along the big stitches, binding them into a strong cord-like loop. Finish the thread at the other end of the loop in the usual way. (Lefties, click here for your photo!)|
|3. Your ribbons should just fit through the loops, fairly tightly.|
These loops provide lots of other options. The sleeves can be tied on from the inside, hiding the bows for those who prefer the dress without trailing ribbons. Additionally, when the dress is worn without sleeves you can also thread very long ribbons through the loop at the top of the shoulder and have long, long trailing ribbons that suggest medieval sleeves.
I do hope that you've enjoyed making your Caribbean Pirate Gown immensely, learnt a lot and gained a lot of confidence!
There were places in these instructions in which I deliberately made the details a little sketchy, leaving you to work things out for yourself just a little, and thus force you to become a more self-sufficient costumer who finds her own solutions.
However, if you get stuck anywhere, the usual rule applies - you have my permission to spam me relentlessly until you have the answers to all your questions!
If you've made it through to finish the gown, you have my hearty congratulations! Don't forget to write to me to let me know how the experience was for you - and to show me your fabulous gown, of course!