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Tips & Techniques > Sewing set-in sleeves twice

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Posted by: Ann C

About Ann C
Member since: 3/26/03
Reviews: 14 (tips: 1)
Skill level:Intermediate
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Posted on: 3/22/04 8:17 AM
Review Rating: Helpful by 1 people   Very Helpful by 1 people   
My tip expands a little on the recent tip by Mary Stiefer on how she sews the sleeve seam double at the underarm.

There was a question on this tip and I realized I wasn't quite clear about how and when to use my method.

This is for set-in sleeve seams with a rounded cap that require easing in fullness- like on a fitted jacket as opposed to a shirt sleeve with little or no roundness to the top (cap) of the sleeve and require little or no easing in of fullness.

In my original tip I did not address how to ease in fullness. There are two methods that I use--
1. fast and dirty (learned from Sandra Betzina's old sewing TV show-- Lengthen stitch length a bit from what you were using to sew garment seams. Position the sleeve under the presser foot starting where you want the ease to begin, usually one of the notches. Begin to stitch -- use one hand to guide the fabric as usual while the other hand pushes the fabric towards the direction of the feed of the fabric or toward the presser foot. This will cause the feed dogs to take up more fabric than normal and the stitching will hold it in place. When you are done easing, check your work first to see if visually it's even. Then go to your garment to see if the sleeve will now fit the armhole (pin or baste).Takes a litttle practice and may not work on every fabric or every sleeve.
2. Second method (traditional from pattern instruction sheets) -- Lenghten your straight stitch and run parallel lines of stitching 1/2" and 3/8" from the edge(if you are using 5/8" seams). Pull up bobbin threads to ease excess fabric as necessary to fit into armhole.
Pin or baste.

Now to my editted original tip
First I sew the seam at the seamline with a straight stitch and make sure that there aren't any puckers or anything else I don't like.
For the reinforcement of the seam I sew close (maybe 1/8 to 1/4 inch from the seam) between the notches for the underarm.
Then at the sleeve cap eased area I bring my seamline out to 3/8 inch or so to form a little more support for the cap of the sleeve.
Then serge, zigzag or trim the seam inside the seam allowance.

I guess my point is that I like to leave a little extra seamline at the top of an eased set-in sleeve to help the seam allowance support that eased area and turn towards the sleeve like it should. For tailored garments I acknowledge that a sleeve ham is needed for pressing but for less tailored affairs I find this method helps shape the sleeve cap nicely. Plus, I don't own a ham!

I have been doing it this way for a long time and it has worked well for me. Can't remember where I picked up the tip.

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NEWBIE said... (8/24/04 2:45 PM) Reply
I'm a little you single stitch the seam first, then serge it? when do you bring your sleeve cap seamline out, after your stitch the seam? help!
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