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Forum > Fitting Woes > Easing in a sleeve in a cotton blouse ( Moderated by CarolynGM, Deepika)

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Easing in a sleeve in a cotton blouse
I've exhausted every trick up my sleeve
OP Gal
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OP Gal  Friend of PR
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Kansas USA
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Date: 4/10/10 8:37 AM

Here I am again pleading for an answer to my sleeve insertion problems. I thought I had it resolved, but this pattern has me stumped.

I'm making a cotton/Lycra blouse. The sleeve is more than 2" larger than the armscye. I should have measured the sleeve and armscye before I started cutting it out and thrown the pattern away because of it's poor drafting. However, I didn't and now I'm stuck.

When I set the sleeve, of course it puckers. Steaming doesn't help. After making my adjustments it puckers only in the front. I've tried lowering the armscye (3/4") and shaving off 1/4" from the top. The problem is that the back of the sleeve looks fine. I could follow Claire Schaeffer's advice and move the top of the sleeve forward to a 3/4" SA while leaving the bodice SA the same as my last attempt. However, I'm afraid to do this, because this adjustment affects both sides of the sleeve and the back of the sleeve has very little easing left. I'm afraid if I do any more altering that affects the back of the sleeve, I won't have any easing left and possibly the armscye will be larger than the sleeve. I'd love to tinker with the armscye, but I'm afraid to mess with the shape. I'd really like to scoop out the front of the armscye, but I'm chicken.

Keep in mind that I've already cut out the sleeve and armscye, so there's no solution via adjusting the pattern here.

------
If I sewed any slower, I wouldn't be sewing at all. -- Kellie R.

JTink
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JTink
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In reply to OP Gal


Date: 4/10/10 8:59 AM

This may not be the best suggestion, but you could possibly make a pleat in the sleeve to take out the fullness. It would look like a design feature. Once this is done, if it works, then you could take the "pleat" out of the pattern piece. I'm not real keen for those puckers and gathers on a sleeve cap, I'm just too old to look like Shirley Temple! But sometimes a pleat can look a bit more tailored. Would this help?

Patti B
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Patti B  Friend of PR
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Oregon USA
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Date: 4/10/10 9:53 AM

Sondra, gathering cotton w/lycra is just a PITA in my humble opinion. So no help -- just tea and sympathy!

------
Patti

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

Annette Wright
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Annette Wright
Kansas USA
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Date: 4/10/10 10:00 AM

Shoot girl, yes we started talking about it yesterday and it got put on the back burner. I should have given it a try.

I'm guessing it's that printed blouse you are doing. If it's absolutely not going to work, try that small pleat idea, or how about a small dart at the very top. It will get lost in the pattern.

------
Annette
http://needlesnails.blogspot.com/

OP Gal
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In reply to Annette Wright


Date: 4/10/10 12:08 PM

Quote:
how about a small dart at the very top. It will get lost in the pattern.


I thought about that. You're right, it would get lost in the pattern. In fact the puckers get lost in the pattern, but I'm serious about this and I'm going to give it one more try today. I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and by golly, people like me. Oh no, that's my daily affirmation. I'm determined enough to get that sucker in there that I'm willing to spend hours that I could be doing something useful. Most of the puckering was in one place on the front side. Maybe I can do a better job of distributing it along the front seam. I just hoped someone had a magic answer to this. Where's the pixie dust when it's needed!

I'm wondering if next time I just cut the armscye for the next largest size and left the sleeve the same the sleeve would go in better. I guess I could make a muslin of the armscye and sleeve and try it. Or maybe I could graft another armscye and sleeve onto it... I've spent so much time on this pattern getting the rest of it to fit, it would kill me to abandon it.

------
If I sewed any slower, I wouldn't be sewing at all. -- Kellie R.

lilyofthevalley
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lilyofthevalley
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In reply to OP Gal


Date: 4/10/10 12:33 PM

Sondra,
I don't know if this will work, but is worth a shot if you're desperate. Try cutting a sleeve head strip of the same fashion fabric - about 12" x 2-1/2- 3" wide. Double the sleeve head strip and hand-tack in the sleeve head strip along the top of the sleeve installation seam. Sometimes - sometimes - this sleeve head will "fill out" the puckers in a cotton/lycra sleeve installation.

This method worked for me in a cotton/lycra suit jacket I made last year when, like you, I couldn't get a smooth sleeve installation even though the sleeve cap had less than 2" ease.

If the sleeve head strip works, you can un-do the tacked strip, finish the edges to avoid ravelling, and make the sleeve head permanent. HTH, Lily

------
Lily

OP Gal
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In reply to lilyofthevalley


Date: 4/10/10 6:02 PM

After I last posted, I went upstairs to my sewing room, locked myself in, and worked and worked and worked until I got it in free of puckers after it was steamed and pressed thoroughly. It looks a little "pouf-y" on the front side, and I'm sure I'll have to thoroughly press and steam it to get the puckers out every time I launder it. However it's in. I'm going to print your suggestion and put it in my "Sewing Resources" book for future reference because it sounds like a good method to try on a sleeve installation that isn't cooperating. Thanks.

------
If I sewed any slower, I wouldn't be sewing at all. -- Kellie R.

kavita

kavita
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Date: 4/11/10 12:38 PM

I am glad it worked out. I am by no means an expert and have struggled a lot with sleeves till I discovered a couple of methods.

One method is with clear elastic. Cut clear elastic to the dimensions of the armscye, mark the shoulder point and front and back notch position on the clear elastic. Leave a couple inches extra at both ends to be able to hold the clear elastic. Match the points on the sleeve and the clear elastic and zigzag the CE on to the sleeve just inside the seam allowance. The easing will be done for you. Then sew the sleeve on to the bodice, I keep the the sleeve on top while sewing. This method worked for me on corduroy and a BWOF pattern with a lot of sleeve cap ease.

Another method I like, seems to work almost always, is explained in one of Margaret Islander videos or in a Ann Ladbury book. It is hard to explain in words, but pictures in the book were very helpful. You basically hand baste the sleeve in while holding it in a curve as if it is on your shoulder. Works very well and easy to fiddle with hand basting if it does not. I avoid hand-sewing with a passion but for inserting a sleeve I keep a couple of needles threaded. In the big picture, it takes me less time to do it that way than ripping it out several times any other way.

HTH.

kavita

Doris W. in TN
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Doris W. in TN  Friend of PR
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In reply to OP Gal


Date: 4/13/10 9:31 AM

Quote: OP Gal

I'm making a cotton/Lycra blouse. The sleeve is more than 2" larger than the armscye.

A blouse sleeve should have 3/4" to no more than 1" ease in it. That is a poorly drafted pattern. (could it be a Big 4 brand???)

You'll need to reduce the ease. You can shave off the top of the sleeve cap until you have the right amount, unless you need that 'shape' for the right look. In that case, you can create a bunch of little darts, cut them out of the pattern. If you have a pattern drafting book, look at how to make a pouffy sleeve and then reverse-engineer that sucker.
Lynnelle
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Lynnelle  Friend of PR
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In reply to Patti B


Date: 4/13/10 12:26 PM

Yikes. I have lots of cotton-lycra shirtings. Now, I'm worried. What makes working with it a PITA?

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