Grey little flowers blouse: tackling the sleeve

Looking at http://fashion-incubator.com/sleeve_cap_ease_is_bogus/ I realized I had incorrectly lined up the seam of the sleeve with the side seam of the bodice. That shouldn’t be done when you have a rotated arm hole and/or sleeve.

So I folded the arm hole together and found its actual lowest point, somewhere in front of where the side seam is. (seam ripper points to side seam):

I lined up the seam of the sleeve with the lowest point, which is right opposite the shoulder seam. I pinned the sleeve on and sewed it in. (Sewing was very easy since there’s no ease to fidget in.)

The seam of the sleeve is a whole 4 cm (nearly 2 inch) in front of the side seam. In this picture the armhole seam runs horizontal and my fingers are on the side seam and on the sleeve seam:

Fitting: the newly positioned sleeve gives a nice silhouet. No puckering, no folds:

It’s now a bit more wearable but still not very good.

The shoulder seam is a bit to the back. At the front, where I took out the bust dart, there’s too much fabric flapping about, I could hide an orange in there.
In contrast I do not have enough fabric over my biceps/upper arm to move around comfortably. The fabric still stretches over my upper arm. It’s not pleasant to wear:

Suddenly I realize Fashion-Incubator is talking about jackets and her primary aim is to match up stripes between bodice and sleeve. Not so much wearing comfort. I may have gotten off on a false premise…

With the second sleeve I may be able to squeeze some wearing comfort out of the seam allowances. And I’ll use the arm hole with side bust dart this time, to position the arm hole better.

Trying to find the lowest part of the arm hole wasn’t as easy because of the bustdart. (seam ripper points to side seam):

But matching the edges together got me there. I marked the spot with a red pin, this is where I will place the seam of the sleeve.

Off to bed.

Next morning: CHANGE OF PLANS
After again reading the very informative post of Ikatbag on sleeve caps and wearing comfort I decide to do things differently. More thorough.

I rip the seam on the sleeve and look at it afresh as a pattern piece. I don’t press it because I need to be able to see the sewing line/seam allowance.

I measure the length of the sewing line on the existing sleeve. This line is 1,5 cm from the edge. Seam ripper marks the end to where I should measure the piece of white thread:

The thread is 49,5 cm long. This is the length of the sewing line. However I alter the sleeve cap, its sewing line should keep this length if I want a sleeve that will fit into the existing arm hole.

I measure the width of the sleeve, without seam allowances:

This part sits over my upper arm. It’s too tight, as the fitting showed. The thread is 35,5 cm long. The width of my sleeve is 35,5 cm.

I measure my upper arm, right at the arm pit. It’s 33,5 cm in circumference.
A sleeve of 35,5 cm wide at that point gives not a lot of ease but could be enough.

I raise my arm a bit and measure from where a sleeve would connect to the arm hole. It’s 33,5 cm long and I’m surprised. A sleeve in an armhole should be 33,5 cm wide. I probably did something wrong in this measurement.

Here I’m measuring the length of the sewing line on the existing arm hole (it’s 1,5 cm from the edge):

Add front and back. The seam ripper points to the end, I’m not adding the seam allowance. It’s 49,5 cm long. This is the exact length the sewing line on the sleeve cap has and should have. There will be no easing in, it’s just straight forward sewing. That’s good.

But now I do not yet understand why my sleeve (cap) is so ridiculously tight while the numbers fit, in theory. Time to look at the actual arm hole while it is on the body.

The arm hole should be flat against my body and as small as possible (but not as small as you would do for a knitted fabric, says Ikatbag).

It’s not as close fitting as could be:

There’s still room at the front, it could be brought upwards a bit. Also at the back: the edge of the fabric ought to be the sewing line. That’s an 1,5 cm difference.

Lots of room at the side seam too, it could be brought up higher:

I note how the hole should be altered in a next, new version of the paper pattern:

It’s actually quite a bit! 4,5 cm at the front and the side seam (nearly 2 inches!) and 1,5 cm at the back and also take out some of the curve.

No wonder the numbers of the sleeve don’t work at the moment. My armhole is not very good and I need the sleeve to compensate for it which it doesn’t.

I have the choice to draft a new arm hole and sew a whole new bodice. Or draft a new sleeve into this existing arm hole and have a blouse that’s not perfect but might well work. I opt for the second. I don’t have enough fabric nor cheerfulness to sew a whole new bodice. I will alter the paper pattern though, for the next blouse.

For the existing arm hole I take some new measurements. While wearing the bodice I place the cord at appropriate points and raise my arm. To find out how much width I actually want in my sleeve cap for this arm hole to work:

I need a sleeve that’s 38,5 cm wide instead of the 35,5 cm that it is now.

I also note where the tightness is. It’s not (only) at the width of the sleeve, it’s mainly at the sleeve cap itself. It will need another shape. Less curved. But still with a sewing line that’s 49,5 cm long.

I play around with how a thread of this length can yield different sleeve cap forms. Please look at iKatbag’s post for thoughts on how different shapes influence ease of movement.

Playing.

This sleeve is actually 38,5 cm wide when I measure from side to side and include seam allowances. 38,5 cm is the width my new sleeve will have (without seam allowances). I pin the thread with length 49,5 cm to the outer points and play some more:

This will be just about the shape of my new sleeve cap. Lower at the top than the original, bellowing out at the edges. At the sides, where the red pins keep the cord at the right length, it should be horizontal. For logical connection in the round.

On a new piece of cloth I mark in ball pen the new width of the sleeve: 38,5 cm + seam allowance of 2,5 cm on either side. At the sewing line I inserted the red pins holding the thread with the right length (49,5 cm).
I play with the cord until I found a pleasing curve, resembling the one that I found above:

Now I will add 2,5 cm seam allowance around it and then cut.

Cutting the sleeve down wards, towards the cuff, I will make it more slender. Not a straight line to the cuffs. I’m using a method of “slash and spread” which is usually used to make a sewing pattern piece bigger.

Here are the two sleeve caps next to each other:

Wider, less high, less curved and a seam allowance of 2,5 cm instead of 1,5 cm. Sleeve under the cap is a bit tailored, I don’t need all that extra fabric around my arm. My arm is just a size 38.
Sewing line on the cap is still 49,5 cm, it should fit into the armhole precisely.

Staystitching. Sew sleeve seam. Pin it to the arm hole. Sew it.

Fit:

Put in temporarily and in a slap dash manner but the main idea is evident: no stretching anywhere. Fabric bundles up a bit at the arm pit but that’s to be expected with this style. It’s the price for comfort.

Very comfortable forward motion. Enough room at the back. Bit of a wide sleeve at the (lower) arm though (not enough “slash and scrunch”).

I can lift my arm sideways higher and with less restriction on the upper arm:

compared to how high I can raise my arm with the old sleeve (and no bust dart):

It’s not a very beautiful thing, my new sleeve, when I raise my arm. The shoulder bundles up. The sleeve raises the whole blouse at the side. But it’s wearable now. I can move in this one.

I’ll take it out now and tweak it some more. The drag lines show where a bit more fabric would be nice. It’s at the point where the bust dart meets the arm hole. The arm hole has a dent there, it’s not a nice oblong.

I’d sewn in the sleeve observing all the original seam allowances: 1,5 cm for the arm hole and 2,5 cm for the sleeve.
I’m going to resew it and try to give it a bit more fabric at that dent, using the seam allowance. I’m also going to try and raise the arm hole at the side seam as much as possible.

If it sits better I’ll trim the seam allowances. This will help with the bundling up at the shoulder.

First I’ll take out the sleeve and trace it on paper. Also make notes on the paper pattern of the bodice.

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