Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Close, but not quite...

First, thank you to Twisted Poppy and SilverMom for their advice on the set-in sleeves that have been keeping me up at night. I can't express how much I appreciate the sewing community that is willing to share their experiences and help out with problem solving ideas. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, thank you so much!  

I took the coat and sleeves to work and during my lunch break, I unstitched my stitches. When I came home, I replaced the one row of ease stitching with two rows between the stitching line and cut edge. 

The row of ease-stitching closest to the cut edge was stitched with a 3.5 stitch length and then the next row was stitched at a 3.0 stitch length.  

When it came to sewing the sleeve to the armhole I replaced my regular presser foot with a walking foot, turned down the stitching speed and had my tweezers near by in case I needed to shift some fabric along the way.  

This is how it turned out.  

It is still not pretty. 

I think I will have to agree with SilverMom about that "dang cotton" which appears to be a real beast to tame. Cotton stretch sateen is proving to be a poor fabric choice for this design as it is showing every little pucker and wrinkle like nobody's business. I should have broke the bank and picked up some non-stretch red satin instead. But then I'm sure there might be cursing about sewing slippery fabrics.   

I'm going to to try to do some more work on this, unstitch a few spots. I might even have to resort to  unstitching the whole thing and recutting the shape of the sleeve cap as Twisted Poppy suggested. Oh and maybe running to the fabric store and investing in a pressing mitt. I'm close, but not quite there yet. 

This project is taking more time than I ever thought that it would. For now, I think I should put it aside and put my energy towards those chemo caps since my Lenten sewing project has taken a back seat while the sewing mojo took a hit and I was distracted by these damn sleeves. And there is that wrap dress sew-along too. So many plans, so little time!  

Stay tuned and happy sewing!  



  1. I'm glad my comments were helpful, if not with the sleeve easing, then at least with venting (as in "that dang cotton!"). When I looked at your photos today, I'm afraid that I don't feel very encouraging. It seems pretty clear that, using cotton sateen, there is just too much un-malleable sleeve fabric to fit into the armhole.

    However, before I totally jumped in, I did a little research on your Sybil Connolly coat pattern and by golly, shantung and denim are suggested, which I'd say are as hard to ease as sateen. (Wool is also a suggested fabric, which is more what I expected. Ah, wool - wonderful stuff, that steams, pulls up into a beautiful curve...it practically begs to fit into the armhole.)

    The pattern description also specifies that the sleeve is cut on the bias. Is your sleeve cut on the bias? If it is, then take the following three suggestions with a grain of salt, because I've never in my life attempted to set in a bias sleeve. You are brave!

    Anyway, back to your sleeve. I absolutely HATE to unpick (lazy sewist, here), so the three things I would try first: 1. An old-timer's cheater method of controlling sleeve cap fullness is to just keep setting it further and further into the armhole until it eases in. Of course, you have to constantly be checking to make sure the sleeve will still fit you. This also wreaks havoc with your horizontal balance line at the bicep and may spoil the hang of the sleeve. With a bias sleeve, though, who knows? 2. There was a great Threads article some time ago about a no-gather method of controlling sleeve cap fullness that was based on doing three or more short darts at the top of the shoulder. I've never tried it, but the photos looked good. Again, I have no idea how darts and bias would work. 3. Lastly, and the option that I would try first, IF you have sufficient room in the bicep/upper arm area of the sleeve, is to create two tucks (to look like seams) running up the front and back of the arms and curving into the armscye to meet the princess seams on the coat (as if the pattern had a three piece sleeve). The tuck should take up the smallest possible amount of fabric from the wrist to the upper arm, then as it swings into the armscye, increase the tuck so it takes up enough of the excess fabric to allow the sleeve to fit into the armhole. Again, I have no idea if that would be compatible with a bias-cut sleeve.

    I can't wait for the next chapter. Good luck!

  2. It looks like the sleeve wasn't drafted well. Looks like it doesn't fit the armhole.

  3. Ouch I'm so sorry that turned out the way it did. I've actually used the technique mentioned by silver mom before too and it has worked for me, now I always automatically reduce the sleeve cap of all my sleeves before I set them in and I also do a range of motion adjustment to any shirt patterns I have that aren't knits. I've been really lucky with my jacket patterns so far when it came to sleeves, it may just be that it is a drafting error or the fabric, not your fault!


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