Saturday, March 12, 2011


When I get to the part of a garment where I have to fit the sleeves in, I always start to sweat. It is nerve wracking for me. Setting in sleeves always gives me major problems. There is always way to much ease, and I always tend to get that gathered look as opposed to a sleek sleeve. Well, I assumed this time for the swing dress was going to be no different, except Casey did a tutorial on how to get rid of sleeve ease on this dress pattern. It was super helpful, but then I made it more difficult for myself. Let me explain.

redrafted sleeve

When I tried on my last muslin everything was great. I decided I should put on one of the sleeves, which I had previously redrafted, to make sure all was fine and dandy. When I attached the sleeve and raised my arm, the entire dress went with it. It felt constricting and was not comfortable. I noticed in the flickr group other people had the same problem. I used some of the resources sited by those with similar problems and also got out my trusty Fit for Real People. I realized that the armhole was cut too low. Which when you think about it, make sense. Low armhole + lifting  = Dress lifting. Right. 

Everything said I needed to raise the armhole. Okay, yes, raise the armhole. But how much? It said anywhere from a half inch to an inch and a half. That is a big difference between the two! But I settled on the arbitrary number of an inch. I did put on the muslin again and on the side I had not put the sleeve in I measured an inch and it looked...well, I didn't know what I really looking for, so it looked fine. Whatever. An inch it was going to be.

I raised the armhole and both back and front bodices. This is when the armhole started to look tiny. The original armhole was 17" my new armhole was 15". I hesitated and decided just to keep going. I should have made a muslin, as this, in my opinion, started to drastically change the bodice. But did I? No. Just kept going. 

Then I constructed the dress to the point I was at yesterday. I had not yet cut out sleeves from any fabric because I had not redrafted them (and was scared as all get-out!). I pulled out the tutorial again and redrafted my already-redrafted sleeve. This is where it started to turn really scary. Look at the difference in my sleeves. The white is the original, the second is the redrafted, and on top is my final:

Again. I probably should have made a muslin. But at this point I was in. I cut the new sleeve pattern, and basted the underlining to one and decided that I would sew one on, see if it will work, and if not I still had more fabric to re-do more sleeves. Truthfully, deep down, I knew that if this didn't work most of my steam would be gone from this dress. Which would be sad. But...

It worked! It is shocking and I think I actually fixed the problem. The sleeve set into the dress, and when I lift my arms, there is only a slight raise, so I maybe could have done the whole 1.5" when raising the armhole. Who knew?! It is so exciting. I am going to baste the interlining into the other sleeve, put it in —hopefully all go well on this one two ::fingers crossed:: and put in the zipper. Then HEM! Yay! (Although, I hate hemming.)  

Am I the only one that hates sleeves? Or hemming? Or zippers...I guess I could keep going ;)


  1. Well done!! I don't like doing sleeves - always confuses me, and I don't like puffy sleeves. I think the way you went about this is right - well it turned out and that's all that matters. I like zippers, but not on pure silk (tread carefully) and hemming - that's fine, as it heralds the finale of my garment. Your swing dress is looking lovely, and the fabric is perfect.

  2. Can't wait to see it finished!

  3. Yup, hate sleeves. There is always something that goes horribly wrong!

  4. Funny! Great that you persisted, looking forward to seeing the finished garment.