Thursday, August 30, 2012

The sleeve saga goes on ... and on and on

Having just returned from a visit with my husband's relatives, during which the sum total of my creative output was that I started the same sock three times, I'm all charged up to get something done in the sewing room.  So it's back to the Vogue 8804 muslin, and the puzzle of those sleeves.

The real problem is the sleeve front, starting with the sleeve cap which has too much fabric in it, and continuing down towards the elbow, which also has too much fabric.  See how baggy they look in the photo at left?

Here is the sleeve cap shape, when the two pieces are aligned.

And here it is compared with the cap of another Claire Shaeffer sleeve (V7908).

So I thought ... what if I rotated the sleeve front clockwise, until the cap shape is about the same as the other sleeve?  And pinched out width from the cap down in the front sleeve only?  So I tried it.

To my considerable surprise, pinching out the fullness from the front sleeve at the over-arm seam takes care of the weirdness at the hem.  Don't ask me why, but it worked.

I transferred the change to the tissue, using purple pen (original seam lines in orange).

If you click on this, it enlarges somewhat and you may be able to see the purple dots that represent the location of the pins in my muslin.  I connected them roughly with my french curve and found that to get a line that made any sense, I had to take a sliver of width out of the back too.  The corrected curve flows nicely into the existing curve at the vent.  I made an executive decision to the effect that even though my alteration takes slightly less width out of the upper sleeve than I pinned out, it will probably be OK.

So I cut it out.

And then I started thinking about the trim.  This trim business is not The Sewing Lawyer's forté.  It requires hours in fabric stores but not looking at fabric.  So far I have chosen thread which I hope will blend into the base fabric and become invisible, and buttons which I really like but which may not be exactly right (depending on the trim).  I also found some narrow ribbon trim embellished with sequins and beads (!!!!) which is surprisingly tasteful, but also rather expensive.  I bought 10cm so I could think about it in more detail.  It needs a base.  So far the local stores have not produced a likely candidate.


  1. You did an excellent job of figuring out what adjustment needed to be made. The muslin is looking really good.
    I hope your sock is well under way, too!

  2. Nice work on figuring that one out! And good luck with the trim.

  3. I just want to pass on my thanks for sharing this experience. I have purchased this pattern as well, and am looking forward to making it this fall. I can't tell you how grateful I am for all your groundwork and explanations re: altering the pattern. I feel much more prepared now, and will redraw the sleeve in advance. My preference too is a narrower sleeve --- much more tailored looking. Thanks again and good luck!

  4. Your experience is priceless. Thanks ever so much for your work that all of us who want to make this are benefiting from.

    I have hesitated to buy this much wanted pattern because I don't know if it will have the new or old undersleeve. Your input really helps. Having to have had the buttons and trim worked out at the beginning is contra my usual MO but so necessary with this design. Looking forward to seeing your decisions.

    1. I gather from reading about this issue on different forums that the original undersleeve piece was not graded for different sizes. I have the un-graded pattern and I am totally not worried about it - the piece may be slightly off for the sizes up and down from the base for the grade (14, I seem to recall) but it's definitely in fudgeable territory.

  5. Ooh! I've recently bought this pattern and have 'discovered' your blog by doing a search on it. Sleeves are my achilles heel when it comes to fitting - it seems odd that two Claire Shaeffer patterns would have such markedly different shaped sleeve caps! The result of pinching out the fullness looks really good to me. I'm looking forward to seeing how this comes along (and reading your previous posts on it too :)

  6. Kay - I love your tenacity....that's one of the major ways of getting through problems. Another idea I had that might work, is to take a sleeve that you like, the fit, hang, etc., and transfer that over to your pattern....what you'd need to do is draw the armhole from the sleeve pattern you like onto the jacket pattern than you're currently working with. Then just cut the sleeve from the pattern you like and it should go in swell. I often do that when I meet probs like this or even when I've tried every solution I can think of.

    I know you'll find a solution here! Love seeing all your projects

    1. I thought of doing that, but the fix I came up with is SO much easier, and I want to see how the bias at the vent level works out.