Saturday, December 12, 2009

The easy way to ease in sleeves - picture heavy

Hi there! I got several requests last time for tutorials on my seam finishing techniques. These have already been done! Here is the tutorial for french seams, and here is the tutorial for bias tape covered seams. You can look through any of the tutorials I've already posted by clicking on "tutorials" under the label section on the right side.

Do you dread easing in sleeves.? I use to get so tired of ripping out the seam when puckers were discovered after it'd been stitched. How frustrating! Let me show you a trick to make this process a whole lot easier:

1. Start with a sleeve that has it's vertical seam sewn and seam allowances pressed open. This is the two piece sleeve from my current project.

2. Put at least two rows of gathering stitches around the sleeve head. If you have markings that tell you to gather between here and there, that is where you should stitch. (This is a Burda pattern, and they always have minimal markings. I eyeballed it.) I usually put one row at 1/2" from the edge and the other at 1/4". Make sure to leave the threads long so you have something to grasp onto when gathering.

3. Do some preliminary gathering, starting at each outside edge and gathering in to the top of the sleeve cap. I know this jacket does not have a tall sleeve cap, so I'll just do a little bit.

4. Begin pinning the sleeve to the armhole with the body of the garment on top and the sleeve underneath. Start at the bottom and pin up the sides until you come to where the sleeve's gathering stitches start. STOP pinning here.

5. Here's the trick: Turn the sleeve cap out and pin the rest of it with the sleeve on top and the garment underneath. I like to use a lot of pins. The more pins you use, the more evenly spaced your gathers will be, and the lesser the chance of sewing in the dreaded puckers.

6. Start stitching the sleeve cap starting at the beginning of your gathering stitches. Since you pinned it on the inside and are sewing it on the inside, you can see where any possible puckers might be caught. Adjust your fabric to avoid stitching one. (I am very naughty and often sew over my pins. But I use to many of them I just can't take each out as I come to it. I only break a needle about 2 times a year, so it works for me.)

7. Now, before moving on, check the sleeve cap for any puckers that might have been stitched. Push the seam allowance out toward the sleeve. If you have any puckers, go back and fix them now. These tiny ones on my sleeve will iron out.

8. Now stitch the bottom of the sleeve starting at where you left off on the side.

9. A lot of times the bottom of the sleeve can get some wonky/wavy seams while you are sewing it. It is always best to measure around the bottom to make sure you have an accurate seam allowance.

10.Since this jacket is going to be lined, I will show you a few more steps. Before doing any trimming, try the jacket on. If it needs any adjustments, now is the time. Mine fits well, so the next step is to grade the seams. I trim only the SA of the body. The ruffled-looking gathered fabric remaining will help to support the sleeve cap. Or at least it will on this jacket since my fabric has a lot of body.

11. Now clip the bottom of the sleeve's seam allowances. When the lining goes in, it will be able to lie flat against the armpit.

12. After all that work, don't you dare forget to iron! Use some elbow grease for a crisp seam.

13. All done!

This might not be the quickest nor the fastest method for putting in a sleeve, but you are guaranteed to spend less time with your seam ripper in hand.

All this jacket needs is some shoulder pads and the entire lining to be cut out and sewn in. And some hand-stitching. And buttons/buttonholes. Oh, and topstitching. Yikes! I have a long way to go! But, I tell you, there's nothing I enjoy working on more then a lined garment in woven fabric. Call me crazy.

24 comments:

  1. Thanks for the tutorial...your sleeve looks great!

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  2. Great tutorial! You make it look so easy.

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  3. Super tutorial. Very well worded, easy to understand and I LOVE the trick. What a great idea. Thanks for taking the time to make this tutorial for us newbies. :)

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  4. Very informative:) It's always nice to see how others do things!!!

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  5. Beautiful jacket! Thanks for the tutorial - it is perfect.

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  6. Your tutorials are unusually clear and easy to follow - thanks for posting them!

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  7. Thanks for the tutorial. I'm definitely going to try your method one of these days. Your jacket looks very promising so far and I'm really looking forward to the endresult.

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  8. Thanks so much for this tutorial, sleeves can be a real beast! I'm definitely going to try your way. Can I ask - in the pictures you have used long pins with big heads - are these the sort of pins that you actually use or did you just use these so that we can see better? I usually use regular, small pins but it looks like I should try these big ones. Many thanks

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  9. Thank you! That's very helpful. I want to see the finished jacket!

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  10. Thank you for the great idea. I can't wait to try this out on my next project.

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  11. Thanks! I'm going to have to try this out. I get so annoyed with the puckering and always have to rip out seams.

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  12. Euginia,
    These are the pins I use on a regular basis. I find the bigger heads easier to pick up. They are also longer and stay in better, IMO.
    Amanda

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  13. Thanks for your tutorials. I would love to see some of your beautiful linings for jackets.

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  14. thanks so much for the tutorial
    very beautifully done!

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  15. Well hot dang! That's a pretty sleeve (and lovely fabric to boot)! Thanks for the pictures. I love how everyone does things a little differently and you've given me a lot to think about here. I like putting the ease stitching in by hand but that's just me. Your clothes are beautiful,and you give me hope being a Mom and finding time to sew. My 7 month old is pretty patient with me and my sewing though he is fond of my foot pedal a bit too much. :)

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  16. Thank you Amanda! I think I recognize that fabric! Lovely tutorial.

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  17. Great tutorials, may I publish a link to them on the sewing tutorials blog? I think they will be very helpful to many people.

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  18. Consider throwing in a sleeve head to keep the cap of that sleeve nicely fulled.

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  19. Gorgeous. You couldn't have picked a prettier fabric. I appreciate the tutorials.

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  20. thanks for this tutorial! I used your technique on a blouse I just finally finished. It turned out wonderfully.

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