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Tips & Techniques > Cut sleeves after the bodice is made

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Posted by: drsue

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Member since: 11/11/03
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Posted on: 2/21/04 5:55 PM
Review Rating: Helpful by 5 people   Very Helpful by 9 people   
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I always must alter the armseye area of the bodice. This requires that the sleeve cap also be altered to fit. I find that I am more accurate in my alteration of the sleeve cap by waiting to alter and cut it until after I have finished making my bodice and am satisfied with its fit. Many times I must refine the alteration I did to the armseye after I have cut and sewn the bodice. Sometimes I need to deepen the arm hole, sometimes I need to take in the shoulder. alot of this depends on the nature of the pattern and its interaction with the specific fabric and it can't all be predicted ahead of time. Another plus to altering and cutting the sleeve last is that I have become familiar with the fabric and have a better idea how much ease it "wants." I usually have about 5/8 to 1.25 inches of ease in my sleeve caps. The only draw back to this method is that you ned more fabric as your layout pattern will not be as efficient in its use of the fabric

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aussie said... (9/15/06 6:55 PM) Reply
It's nice to know I'm not Mrs Crusoe when it comes to fitting pattern sleeves, especially in relationship to length of shoulder and cap ease. As all the comments here relate to the same sorts of problems, I can't understand why the pattern designers persist in drafting sleeves and shoulders according to rules decades out of date. Years ago we used to shrink out excess ease and fabric, but modern fabrics are often shrink proof, so that method won't work. The whole sleeve/ armscye fit needs a 21st century re-think from Vogue, et al.
France said... (9/25/05 9:16 PM) Reply
This is so true! I do the same, it allows me to adjust the length of the sleeve of to make design changes if case the garnments does not turn out as expected.
GJ said... (3/29/05 11:46 PM) Reply
I always cut sleeves later and usually take out some of the ease. I hate the pucker that I often see just below the cap in many homemade items where the last bit of ease must finally be dealt with. Still find sleeves something of a puzzle and need to work more with them GJ
LizaJ said... (6/15/04 2:57 PM) Reply
The more I read and learn, the more I realize I don't know! lol...I'm amazed I can even wear RTW with all the alterations I do on my own patterns....and I'm just now getting hip to this armseye alterations stuff.....i don't even know how to know if I need to alter an for all those who have posted their tips!
Gigi Louis said... (5/22/04 11:18 AM) Reply
This is very good advice, Sue. I do this a lot. I find that sometimes the cap doesn't have enough height for my figure so I like to try out the sleeve in scrap fabric to make sure it hangs right. This little bit of extra effort is always worth it.
PVA said... (5/21/04 6:38 PM) Reply
Gosh, what a timely review! I'm working on a woven top right now, and just did a forward-shoulder adjustment, cut the bodice front and back, medium on top shoulder, neck and armseye then tapering out to large from below the armseye out to the hip and down to the bottom edge. I basted the front and back together, tried it on and I think it is going to work, depending on how I think I should cut the sleeves. I plan to cut one sleeve medium and I plan to baste one sleeve in and then do another fitting. Thank you for this tip/technique, it is really helpful!
Everyday Sewist said... (3/1/04 10:13 PM) Reply
During the last couple of years I've finally started to understand how the various parts of the sleeve and armscye patterns function together "on paper". I'm still learning about the role of fabric in fitting. Your tip is very helpful--I'm looking forward to trying it out.
drsue said... (2/26/04 9:18 PM) Reply
Alyssa: Here is how I adjust armholes. I am always using the smallest size so I can't just size down. I measure the new arm whole, particularly betweent the single notch and the double notch. I then take a tuck in the sleeve cap and measure the new seam line of the adjusted sleeve. I try to make it about 5/8" (for fabrics that don't ease or shink well) or 1 1/4" (for fabrics like wool that ease and shrink very well. Sometimes I have to try different size tucks in the sleeve to get the length I want for it. Once I'm satisfied I cut out the sleeve. Make sure you measure on seam lines and not cutting lines.
Mini said... (2/26/04 9:45 AM) Reply
Drsue, this is great advice. I try to always remember to do this-it is really a pain to have to cut an extra pair of sleeves after making radical changes to the bodice. Alyssa, ther are lots of ways to adjust a sleeve depending on what you did to the armhole. Here is one tip that often works for me. I use a multi-size pattern and don't trace my sleeve until the other adjustments are made. I usually shorten the armhole. Sometimes I also narrow the shoulder too. When I have done this, I measure around the new armhole. Then I compare it to the armholes of the smaller sizes. I then trace the sleeve cap that is closest in size to my new armhole. I blend the sleeve cap edges into the side seam of the sleeve that will give me the arm circumference that I want. This saves the mess and trouble of slashing and spreading sleeve caps to adjust them. (Cutting the sleeve cap only in a smaller size is sometimes a good easy way to reduce excess ease without distorting the pattern shape.)
alyssa said... (2/25/04 8:19 PM) Reply
It would be a very helpful tip if only it provided the info on HOW to alter the sleeve according to changes made to armhole.
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