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Tips & Techniques > Easing a sleeve

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Posted by: CSM--Carla
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About CSM--Carla star
FL United States
Member since: 1/21/06
Reviews: 10 (tips: 4)
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Skill level:Intermediate
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Posted on: 8/2/06 5:43 PM
Review Rating: Helpful by 1 people   Very Helpful by 18 people   
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This is a tip that I received from Shannon Gifford in the "Stitch and Flip Jacket" Class. It worked so well for me that I wanted to share it.

I was having difficulty putting my sleeve into my jacket. I couldn't ease it in evenly--though I was following pattern directions. Little tucks were forming along seam line and I was getting frustrated.

I searched this site and checked some sewing books that I own and didn't find much help.

Here's what Shannon suggested:

"I like to use three rows of basting to ease sleeve caps. Stitch one row on the stitching line, the second row 1/8" to one side of the first line, and the third row 1/8" to the other side of the first line.
Draw up the basting lines until the cap will fit into the armsceye. Then take the sleeve to the ironing board, and press the area that has been eased. Use lots of steam, and let the sleeve cap cool before stitching it into the armsceye.
After you stitch it into the armsceye, remove the basting. There may still be some small dimples, but the sleeve head will fill those out and make them disappear:)"

This procedure caused the seam line to curve appropriately and the sewing went much smoother--not perfect--but MUCH better!

Hope this helps someone else as much as it helped me.


BTW Shannon is a knowledgable and patient teacher...if you have a chance to take a class with her--go for it--you won't regret it.

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Taxigram said... (9/27/06 4:07 PM) Reply
Nice tip thanks
OP Gal said... (8/8/06 1:31 PM) Reply
Great tip. I've seen Kenneth King, I think, demonstrate the steaming technique on Susan Khalje's TV show, but the three basting rows sound like a great idea to go with it.
Filcia said... (8/5/06 11:37 AM) Reply
MO, it's a matter of what works for a sewer in trying different techniques. Vonnevo uses the shrink steaming which she finds the better. Doreen posted using her finger behind the presser foot but found this unsatisfactory. My mother's direction, when my easing in sleeves made for tucks, was for me to use a flat metal piece butted behind the presser foot. The stitching is done just a bit toward the top of the sleeve, a smidge above the seam line. This MUST be done when you are able to set in the sleeve directly. Some closed scissors will work. Or one can open the scissors and use the non cutting surface. The "trick" is to keep firm pressure as you stitch slowly between the notches. Avoid having the tool your using from slipping under the presser foot. The end result is a row of "gathers". Once the ease stitching is complete, pin baste the sleeve to the bodice at shoulder, back & front notches, and at the underarm. When starting to stitch at the underarm, take the time to be certain the under arm seam line of the sleeve and the bodice side seam are equal. You can pin baste along this edge, if you choose, to keep them together. In my experience, missing this point makes a difference in how the sleeve will drape when all is done. Granted this might take doing some practice pieces before applying it to a bodice proper. Once mastered, as with much in sewing, the process becomes unnoticeable. As you approach the ease stitching, sew carefully and move the pieces as one.
Doreene said... (8/3/06 10:00 PM) Reply
Carla, my MIL showed me this method about 40 yrs ago. I have tried easing in by holding my finger behind the presser foot, but I always go back to this method, and it always works for me.
Vonnevo said... (8/3/06 9:41 PM) Reply
Carla, I have also used the steaming before sewing technique for many years now and it works a treat.
Sewnla said... (8/3/06 8:19 PM) Reply
Carla, thanks for the tip I will definitely use it, next time I have to do a sleeve! I too agree with you aabout Shannon. She is wonderful wish I could have taken that class too.
KarmenG said... (8/3/06 0:27 AM) Reply
I've used this technique many times. You are right - it produces a nice sleeve cap. I first saw it demonstrated by Roberta Carr - the master of couture techniques!
dollieo said... (8/2/06 8:19 PM) Reply
it seams like a lot of work .
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