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Tips & Techniques > Adjusting the sleeve cap fit

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Posted by: OP Gal
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Member since: 10/14/03
Reviews: 85 (tips: 8)
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Posted on: 9/3/06 6:22 PM
Review Rating: Helpful by 7 people   Very Helpful by 17 people   
I was making a blouse and needed to enlarge the sleeve to accommodate my bicep circumference. The muslin I made of the altered pattern had draglines from the top of the sleeve downward. I checked my trusty 3-ring binder of tips and techniques and ran across this one that I'd photocopied. This is actually a tip from Sarah Veblen that appeared in the April/May 2005 issue of Threads magazine.

When enlarging a sleeve more than a small amount with the slash and spread method, the sleeve cap flattens. This can subsequently cause draglines from the top of the sleeve where there's not enough fabric. Sarah counsels that you should always check, even with patterns fresh out of the envelope, to make sure the sleeve cap is high enough. To determine this, measure with a tape your biceps's circumference by measuring around your arm at the high underarm and add the prescribed ease. Then, measure the distance from the tape to the shoulder point (that dent you feel when you raise your arm). The corresponding line on the sleeve pattern piece from the line along the bottom of the armscye to the top of the sleeve cap SA should be the same number of inches as the measurement of your arm. If it isn't, then the sleeve won't have enough fabric in that area and it is forced to stretch--hence the draglines. For more information on the subject of fitting sleeves, consult the above issue of Threads. This technique saved the appearance of the sleeve in my blouse by getting rid of the draglines.

ETA: Sara instructs you to add 5/8" to the measurement from the bottom of the armscye to the top of the sleeve for ease.

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barbcl said... (9/5/11 5:42 PM) Reply
Thanks for a great tip.
mrs. allen said... (9/29/08 10:24 AM) Reply
just what i needed to know. been a long time since i had to adjust a sleeve, and this was great. now i can finish the jaket
Kirstenw said... (5/16/08 5:13 AM) Reply
Thank you, the kind of help I need.
ryansmumAria said... (8/13/07 10:23 AM) Reply
thank you!!!
SewLimited said... (10/21/06 2:51 PM) Reply
I was just updating my basic and having trouble with a too high sleeve cap - this simple measurement saved the day. Thank you!
Jan B. said... (10/16/06 5:56 PM) Reply
Whew! I found this hint again. I knew I wanted to save it, but can't locate where!! Thank you for providing it.
Sewliz said... (9/5/06 8:13 AM) Reply
Timely for me too. Thanks for reminding me about this article.
j222b said... (9/4/06 8:21 AM) Reply
"I checked my trusty 3-ring binder of tips and techniques...". I love this idea of the tip/technique binder! Please tell more about that binder in another tip.
kathi s said... (9/4/06 1:37 AM) Reply
Thank you! This is so timely for me- I am working on my coat muslin and have been struggling with my petite coat sleeves and my not so petitite upper arms. You have provided me with an answer to my question and the Threads citation! Now I'm off to go paw through my stack of Threads.
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