SEWING

How to make per­fect sleeves

Let's Talk - - Contents - Find more in­for­ma­tion in Sandy Derry’s book ‘Know Be­fore You Sew’. It can be pur­chased from Sandy by email, sjoyd@live.co.uk or through her web­site, www. der­ryart.com for £7.99 in­clud­ing postage and pack­ag­ing.

Over time the trends for dif­fer­ent sleeve de­signs have come and gone. This month I will show you some ba­sic types of sleeve and the best way to stitch them in.

Most sleeve de­signs are mod­elled around a ba­sic arm open­ing. The open­ing sits at the shoul­der edge and con­tin­ues around the arm­hole. This is the shape for the set-in sleeve where de­signs start. If made cor­rectly this tai­lored arm­hole gives a pro­fes­sional fin­ish to any gar­ment and looks es­pe­cially good on for­mal wear.

Whether the sleeve is cut long, short, cap or bell they all fit into this ba­sic style of arm­hole. Pic 1

De­signs such as the gath­ered, puffed and leg of mut­ton sleeve are all cut wide and gath­ered to fit. And yes, the leg of mut­ton sleeve does ex­ist. It was very pop­u­lar in the 1800s but made a short come­back in the 1990s. Take a look at these jack­ets I made for a wed­ding around that time. Pic 2

The sim­ple, cleaner cut de­signs are more pop­u­lar these days. I can’t imag­ine this style com­ing back in a big way ... but who knows?

The drop sleeve is cut slightly wider than the reg­u­lar straight sleeve and sits lower at the shoul­der. This de­sign al­lowed ex­tra room at the top of the arm, mak­ing it a favourite when a loose, com­fort­able fit is re­quired.

The dol­man or batwing sleeve is curved low under the arm. The back or front are cut in one piece with the sleeve al­ready at­tached. These pieces are stitched to­gether along the top seam and then down the under-sleeve seam and the sides.

The raglan sleeve is cut straight across from under the arm to the neck edge. It can be made as one com­plete sleeve or from two pieces which are joined to­gether down the cen­tre.

This sleeve de­sign is of­ten used when mak­ing sports­wear and over­coats. With no shoul­der seam and ex­tra room under the arm it makes for com­fort and ease of move­ment.

Gather, drop, dol­man and raglan sleeve. Pic 3

How to stitch a set in a sleeve:

Cut out your pat­tern pieces, mak­ing full use of all the mark­ings such as notches, dots and stitch lines. They will make life much eas­ier when join­ing the sleeve to the shoul­der.

Be­fore stitch­ing up the sleeve seam and while the fab­ric is flat, make a row of ease stitches at the top of the sleeve curve.

Use a medium length stitch and run it just in­side the 1.5cm seam line. There will be dots on your pat­tern show­ing you how far to stitch. Pic 4

Stitch up the sleeve seam:

Gen­tly pull the back thread of the ease stitches so there is a slight tight­en­ing of the fab­ric but no gather. Gen­tly ‘mould’ the sleeve into the arm­hole with your fin­gers.

Pin, tack and stitch on your sleeve ,mak­ing sure all mark­ings and notches join cor­rectly. Pic 5

Fin­ish the seam edge in your usual way.

If us­ing a checked or striped fab­ric make sure any notches and mark­ings are si­t­u­ated so they cor­re­spond with the same part of the pat­tern when joined. This way the de­sign will flow evenly along the gar­ment and around the sleeve. Pic 6

A gath­ered sleeve:

This sleeve is cut wider at the top but will have sim­i­lar mark­ings to the set-in sleeve.

Be­fore stitch­ing up the sleeve seam and while the fab­ric is flat make the gath­er­ing rows.

Us­ing a long stitch sew two rows of stitches fairly close to­gether, one row ei­ther side of the 1.5cm seam al­lowance at the top of the sleeve. Pic 7

This method helps to keep a reg­u­lar, neat gather with­out bunch­ing.

Pull the back threads si­mul­ta­ne­ously to make even gath­ers that fit be­tween the mark­ings in­di­cated on the pat­tern. Join the sleeve seam. At­tach the sleeve at the 1.5cm seam. The stitches will run be­tween the two gather rows. Pic 8

Tidy the seam by zig-zag or bind­ing and re­move the stitches of the bot­tom gather row.

How to stitch a raglan sleeve:

Cut out your pat­tern pieces. Join the up­per sleeve seams to its cor­re­spond­ing front and back match­ing all notches. Pic 9

Tidy the seam edge. Stitch down the sleeve and the sides start­ing at the sleeve/side join.

Fol­low these in­struc­tions and you will be a master sleeve set­ter. Com­pli­ments will flood in from friends who are in awe of your sewing skills.

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