August 22, 2010


I was such a blog surfer yesterday. That's one great thing about Saturdays for me; especially since I got the bill payment chore out of the way last week, and did laundry/cleaned the house on Friday. That meant that Saturday belonged to me! I could have gone out snoop shopping, and there really was a few things that I wanted to canvas, but I really didn't need to do that - might have made some unintentional purchases again - you know how I am. I just let the urge to go out subside because I really didn't feel like rationalizing or arguing with myself about not spending this weekend. A friend called and wanted to come over to present some information on his new business, and I said to myself "no way buddy, no sales presentations made here today"! I am quite a social person, however, sometimes I REALLY need Saturdays that are reserved ONLY for me. Call it selfish time, it's important to me. So most of the day was spent surfing/learning.

One little bit of sewing information that resurfaced was about easing sleeves in by the flat construction application which really is my favorite way to do sleeves. I use the conventional method of sewing the shoulder seam and side seam of the garment then attaching the sleeve ONLY when I can't get away around it (such as when using a two piece sleeve). But, even in using the flat method, I still have to ease stitch/gather the sleeve and try to distribute evenly. I have also adopted Sandra Betzina's method of decreasing or removing some of the ease in sleeves, which certainly helps too.

But what I've heard of several times before is the method of sewing the sleeve in with the sleeve next to the feeddogs, and allowing them to do the (work) easing for me. Many people probably use this method regularly without even thinking about it, BUT I NEVER REALLY TRUSTED IT TO WORK. While surf/learning yesterday I ran across this blog:

Bonnie had attended several sewing workshops (Cynthia Guffey and Peggie Sagers) and reviewed both of them in her posts. She got the information on easing sleeves from Peggie Sagers, and here are the notes that I made from her notes:

1. Use a pin to match the center or top of the sleeve with the shoulder seam of the garment
2. Decrease sleeve cap seam to 3/8"
3. Sew with the sleeve on the bottom next to the feeddogs to allow them to help ease in fullness

As I said, I've read and heard of this before but didn't trust it to work, but today I decided "what the heck, lets see"...if it doesn't work, that's what they made seam rippers for! But guess what???, it did work!

Just thought I'd mention it here just in case there are some people who have never heard of this application method, or did hear of it but didn't trust it....


  1. The narrower sas is key probably. I have a full high hip and sewing a contour waistband to the pants was a real trial until I cut down the sas to 1/4". Easy peasy then. The question I have though, is how much ease can you ease in this manner? So many patterns have too much ease in the sleeve cap. But, since I am a real hater of gathering sleeve caps I am going to definitely give this a try.

  2. Thanks for sharing. I've read about it but like you was not sure it would work for me. If I am not mistaken I believe the Silhouette pattern DVD I have features peggy sager mentioning that same technique.

  3. Long comment alert! :) I'd not heard of this technique and wouldn't be adverse to trying it, but I tend to steer away from techniques that require me to change the pieces in some permanent way so that I can't just unpick and do it another way -- like trimming the seam allowance. So thanks for taking this one for the team! I might give it a whirl. BTW, one other technique I saw on Mary Nanna's blog (which she attributed to Pati Palmer) is to pin baste the sleeve to bodice with pins right along the seam line. I tried it once on a vintage 50's pattern for my son's shirt, and I think there was too much ease in the sleeve cap. Tried it on a Cynthia Rowley for Simplicity pattern and it worked like a charm.

  4. Thanks for sharing! I read the blog entry and I am quite interested in applying the techniques that Peggy Seger's has suggested!

  5. Sleeve ease is a tricky one. In my sewing experience (42 years) I've found that measuring the sleeve cap and them measuring the armhole opening is key. If it's more than 1", I adjust the sleeve cap accordingly. Having the sleeve on top of the feed dogs never works for me. I always seem to get gathers or tucks.

    Faye as far as the Firm goes I do have some complaints. Have you noticed that everybody in the videos is young and that they also have a Stepford (sp?) wives zeal?? I think they always start off their warmups too fast and the women actually look like quasi bodybuilders. As far as seeing results in 10 workouts or less...sure you will if the workout doesn't kill you first. I use one of their body sculpting videos and have the visible results to prove it but it is not for the faint of heart.

    As far as the Wave goes, you'd better be in shape for it. I used it yesterday and my glutes are still sore. It is a great lower body workout.

    My absolute favorite workouts are ones that Reebok put out about 10 or so years ago call "Versa training" workouts. I love step aerobics. I use those ever workout and alternate my second half with the Firm.

    Keep up the good work 'cuz we are not getting any younger but we are getting healthier.

  6. I usually gather my sleeves because I like a little puff in the cap of the sleeve. Sometimes that' sjust not right for the style, however, and I end up using about 4 million pins to get the ease just right. I'll have to give this method a try; thanks for showcasing it.

    And congrats on the weight loss! 10" is very impressive!

  7. I have been putting in sleeves with the sleeve next to the feed dog forever. My grandmother was my teacher before I took sewing in home ec. She always put in sleeves this way. My grandmother worked for Health-Tex and then a men's shirt factory and that is how they do it in industrial sewing. When I told her my home ec teacher wanted us to do the opposite way, she strongly suggested that this is not the way to do it at home.

    Now I do not reduce the seam allowance to 3/8 if pattern was drafted with 5/8 sas.

  8. ChristineB8/22/2010

    I have finally realized the benefit of cutting off 1/4" from all my 5/8" curved seams (princess, armholes, collars, etc.) on commercial patterns before I start to sew. It has made all the difference in the world in my sewing. Combined with sewing the sleeve into the armhole with the sleeve against the machine bed/feed dogs as you describe, I get great results consistently. I don't even use pins when I sew sleeves in this way - I just keep an eye on the notches/markings as I go along.

  9. I have also been doing the flat method with the sleeve next to the feed dogs forever. And most of the time I use my serger. I get a really nice sleeve finish and usually don't have to trim any. The other day I did have to cut away a bit on a knit jacket I was making. I have made it before and wasn't happy with the way it looked, so this time I thought, "What the hey?" and got rid of the extra. It worked just fine.

  10. Glad you enjoyed your Saturday in. Thanks for the info on sleeves.

  11. Great! This technique is intimidating for me too. I'll give it a try as well. Thanks for posting it.

  12. Thank you so much for your nice comment on my blog.


  13. Great info Faye! I'm going to give this one a try, thanks!

  14. Thanks for sharing!! I'm going to have to refer to the next time.

  15. I've never heard of this method of easing in a sleeve, but I sure will try it! I know what you mean about needing some alone time.



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