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Forum > Sewing Techniques and Tips > Easing a set-in sleeve ( Moderated by MissCelie)

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Easing a set-in sleeve
LynnRowe
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Date: 10/22/09 9:12 PM

A London tailor taught me this method many moons ago, and although I've never seen it mentioned anywhere, it works like a charm every time for me, so thought I'd share it.

It's rather like doing a bias binding to a neckline; quartering the binding and stretching to fit between each quarter mark.

-Measure the pattern jacket armhole from the back notch, over the sleeve cap to the front notch (lapping shoulder seam lines). Say it's 8".

-Measure the pattern sleeve cap, notch to notch. Say it's 10".

-Cut a true bias strip of light wool flannel or lambswool 10" long, 1.5" wide.

-Fold the bias in half short end to short end to find the centre length of the strip, and mark the centre with a snip (or chalk, thread, etc) Let's call this mark A. This will correspond to the large dot on your sleeve cap pattern (top of the cap at the shoulder).

-Mark 1/2" to the left (mark B), and 1/2" to the right (mark C) of the centre mark A of the bias strip; this top 1" of the sleeve cap will NOT be eased. This top area is on straight grain, which does not ease well, and can cause wrinkles or perpendicular "dips" and/or drag lines in the sleeve if it is eased.

-Mark 1/2" to the left, and 1/2" to the right, of the centre dot on your sleeve cap fabric. These will also be mark B and mark C.

-As the armhole is 8", and the sleeve is 10", 2" need to be eased out of the sleeve cap area. Mark 1" in from the left end of the bias strip (D), and 1" in from the right end E).

These 1" in marks (D & E) will be aligned with your sleeve cap notches. Your 10" bias strip is now 8" long between the first mark on the left of the strip (D) to the last mark (E) on the right, with a 1" area marked off at the top of the sleeve cap to not be eased.

-Align mark D (first mark on left, which is 1" in from the end of the bias strip) with the back sleeve cap notch. Stitch at 1.5mm for 2 or 3 stitches to anchor the bias strip to the sleeve fabric. Increase stitch length to 2 or 2.5mm.

-Stretch the bias strip so the midway mark (A) lines up to the dot on the top of your sleeve cap. This will give you a "feel" for how much the bias needs to be pulled to match its centre mark A to your sleeve cap centre dot.

Keep the bias strip close to and parallel to the fabric; pull straight and low towards yourself, not upwards.

-Stitch the bias strip to the fabric, keeping strip low and close to the fabric, aligning raw edges, and pulling bias strip to mark B (1/2" to the left of your centre dot).

-At mark B, (matching mark B on the bias strip to mark B on the sleeve cap), stop sewing, leave needle down in the strip/fabric, and raise presser foot to release tension from the strip and fabric. You have now eased out 1" of fabric from your sleeve cap. The next 1" of strip and sleeve cap will not be eased, just sew the strip to the sleeve cap 1 to 1.

-At mark C (1/2" after the centre dot) again stretch the bias strip so the last mark (E) meets the front sleeve notch, for a "feel" of how much stretch is needed to make the match.

-Sew the bias strip to the fabric, keeping strip low and close to the fabric, aligning raw edges, and pulling bias strip so that mark E (last mark on your strip) aligns with the sleeve cap notch, and tack thread by 1 or 2 backstitches or reduce stitch length to 1.5mm for 2-3 stitches.

You've now eased out another 1" of the sleeve cap, stitching 8" of bias strip to 10" of sleeve cap.

Your sleeve cap should now be totally pucker-free and fit exactly into your jacket armhole. Baste or pin sleeve in and check for fit; if all is great, trim off excess ends (1" each end) of the bias strip and sew sleeve in permanently.

It sounds like a ton of work, but it takes seconds to do. Much faster to do it than to type it, lol!



-- Edited on 10/22/09 9:52 PM --

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I heart Panzy, Pfaff Creative Performance, the sewing machine love of my life!
And Baby (Enlighten serger), Victor (BLCS), Rupert (Pfaff 2023-knits expert) Ash (B350SE-Artwork), Kee (B750QEE-Panzy's BFF), Georgie (B560-Kee's baby sister) and the Feather-Flock!

Most of all, I heart Woo (HimmyCat). Until we meet again, my beautiful little boy. I love you.

Patti B
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Date: 10/22/09 9:26 PM

Great! I'll try this on the jacket I'm ready to cut out.

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Patti

R-r-r-ripping my way to fitting success

Speech girl
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Date: 10/22/09 9:36 PM

Thanks for posting this tip. It would be a good one for the "sewing tips & techniques" section too.

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Kim
formerly mikkim
http://girlwithatimemachine.wordpress.com/

LynnRowe
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In reply to Patti B


Date: 10/22/09 9:42 PM

It's the measuring beforehand that I've never seen mentioned before with the bias strip method; the London tailor was rather anal about such things.

In books they usually say to just stretch the bias strip "as much as possible" and then cut stitches if the sleeve's too small, or pin more ease in if sleeve is too big.

This drove him wild, lol! "Measure! Measure! It's why you have measure tape around your neck!"

------
I heart Panzy, Pfaff Creative Performance, the sewing machine love of my life!
And Baby (Enlighten serger), Victor (BLCS), Rupert (Pfaff 2023-knits expert) Ash (B350SE-Artwork), Kee (B750QEE-Panzy's BFF), Georgie (B560-Kee's baby sister) and the Feather-Flock!

Most of all, I heart Woo (HimmyCat). Until we meet again, my beautiful little boy. I love you.

EveS
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EveS
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Date: 10/23/09 0:18 AM

Thanks, Lynn! Considering that I think the way your tailor friend does anytime someone says they just "eyeball" a neck binding, I MUST try this!

Off to save this thread! Oh, btw, I agree...I'd love to see this in the tips section. Then I could put it in my fav's!

Eve

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People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it - Chinese proverb

M.S.
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Date: 10/23/09 9:08 AM

This one is so good, I printed it. Thanks! I'll be trying it, next time I make a jacket.

poplin
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poplin
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In reply to LynnRowe


Date: 10/23/09 1:07 PM

Thank you!

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Dec 2012: 2 yards

Her needlework both plain and ornamental was excellent, and she might have put a sewing machine to shame. ~James Edward Austen-Leigh, about Jane Austen

DrFill
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Date: 10/23/09 3:21 PM

Thank you so much for sharing this. I've always known that the top 1" of the sleeve cap should not be eased, but I was never explained why.

I've read about this method so many times, and like you said, they never mention about the measuring beforehand or the lack of ease in the top of the sleeve. I can't wait to try this now. Thanks so much!

quathy
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Date: 10/23/09 3:40 PM

I can't wait to try this! thanks for those wonderful details!

marec
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Date: 10/23/09 6:17 PM

Thank you so much! Just in time for the wool contest.

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my blog: http://kf-biblioblog.blogspot.com/
Sewing through my pattern stash-145
completed.

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