Learn the Perfect way to sew set-in Sleeves
ABOUT SEWING SLEEVES
The set-in sleeve is the most basic of sleeves. It is constructed after the body of the garment is already assembled at the shoulders and the side seams. The sleeve is sewn into a tube. Then, they are assembled together at the armhole.
The Set-in sleeve method works best for woven fabrics. Knits can easily be sewn using the flat method where you finish the shoulders seams of the bodice first, lay sleeve flat on the armhole and join them together. The side seams of the bodice and the sleeve are sewn up together with one stitching line.
Sewing a set-in sleeve may look challenging for beginners and many intermediate sewists as well. And the main reason is that it has some ease at the cap. That means that the measurement of the sleeve cap is slightly bigger than the armhole to which it will be attached.
It needs to have that ease in order to fit lovely and give comfort to the movement.
In this tutorial we will be showing you how to sew fitted set-in sleeves like a pro!
NOTE: Yellow color indicates the right side of fabric and beige the wrong one.
So, let's get on with it!
- Start by marking the notches on the sleeve and on the armhole. The one at the top that matches up with the shoulder seam, the one to signify the front of the sleeve and the one to signify the back. These notches are aligned with corresponding notches around the armhole of the garment and the shoulder seam. You can mark them with a fabric marker or clip them.
- Stitch two rows of basting stitches between the front and the back notches. For the basting stitches set your machine to a long stitch length, around 4.5-5 mm. Do not backstitch at either end and leave nice long thread tails on each side.
- Sew the sleeve's side seam and press it to open.
- You must have already sewn up the bodice shoulder & side seams and have them pressed. Turn the sleeve to have it's right side out. Having the bodice at it's wrong side out, drop the sleeve into the armhole.
- Match up and pin the underarm into position and pin around the lower part of your armhole. Note that there is no ease involved.
- Next, pin the top notch of the sleeve to the shoulder seam.
- Now adjust the sleeve cap by pulling on the thread tails until it fits nicely into the armhole. The goal here is to pull the threads enough to curve the cap, but not so much that it creates gathers. Try to distribute the gathers as even possible, making sure to curve the top while avoiding puckers. Pin the sleeve cap into place using as many pins as it takes, to secure it in place.
Now, take your project to the sewing machine. Place it so as to stitch at the sleeve side. Stitch around the armhole (between the two rows of basting stitches) keeping your seam allowance constant and avoiding any possible puckers and tucks.
If you accidentally sew in a tuck, it's very easy to fix. You can undo that little position with a seam ripper and redo it.
Once your sleeve is stitched into place you can pull to remove your basting stitches. Press.
NOTE: It's best to prewash your fabric before cutting it, in case it shrings. Also press it, so it is easier to work with.
Hope this article was helpful for you!
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