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Video: How to Sew a Sleeve

Aug 16, 2010

Victoria North and Judith Neukam

In the latest episode from our beginner sewing series, Threads Senior Technical Editor Judith Neukam demonstrates how to sew in a sleeve. We showed you the anatomy of a sleeve in our earlier, Sleeves 101, episode and now this element of garment construction comes together showing you how to sew a sleeve. Teach Yourself to Sew is for beginning sewers or anyone who wants to brush up on their skills. Throughout the year we will demonstrate basic sewing techniques, share tips, and give step-by-step instruction for beginner sewing projects. Click here to purchase the Teach Yourself to Sew Video Series on DVD. TEACH YOURSELF TO SEW Equipment 101 Notions 101 Patterns 101 How a Stitch is Made A Trip to the Fabric Store Fabric 101 Project: Make a Felt Jewelry Bag Knit Fabrics Woven Fabrics Project: How to Sew a Bias-strip Scarf How to Sew a Basic Seam How to Sew French and Lapped Seams Clipping and Trimming Seams How to Mark a Dart How to Sew a Dart Finishing Edges Faced Edges How to Hem Bias Binding Zippers 101 How to Install a Zipper Buttons 101 How to Sew a Buttonhole How to Sew Buttons, Snaps & Hooks Project:…

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  1. MagnoliaRose55 October 17th

    Lovely!!cant wait to try this method.It is the same method my teacher told us yesterday!!!

    Thank you..

  2. MagnoliaRose55 October 17th

    Lovely!!cant wait to try this method.It is the same method my teacher told us yesterday!!!

    Thank you..

  3. dgr8napi August 21st

    Please is there any way I can download the videos in the "Teach yourself to sew" series? I do not have an internet connection and have to watch it at a friend's place. If I could download it, I could watch it on my computer. Or is there a DVD of the series that I can purchase?

  4. Bother August 17th

    I had to teach myself how not to end up with a puckered sleeve, and I finally settled on two rows of gathers well in the seam allowance. I then gather the cap as much as human possible and then I smooth it out so there aren't any obvious places where there will be puckers. Then I take my nicely shaped sleeve and pin it in to the armhole. Depending on how smooth the shaping is, I may also go so far as to hand-baste inside and outside the stitching line. I would never put the gathering basting along the seam line - it will be impossible to remove and will be likely to show somewhere on the outside.

  5. Puterdame August 17th

    Certia, I agree, this does seem to be a very tedious way to inset a sleeve, however, I think the slight puckers we see at the end of the video are due to the fact that the garment was not pressed at all. As sewers all know, probably one of the most important rules of thumb is to press after each step.
    The one thing I noticed that I thought wasn't efficient was the fact that the rows of stitching for gathering were very far apart, and used large stitches. Before I got my fabulous Imagine serger, I used smaller stitches, and placed them a scant 1/8" apart, which I found offered me more control with the gatherings. Also, if you want a smooth insertion of a sleeve, use LOTS of pins. I pin a sleeve in at least once every inch.
    As for which side up, I've done both, and found that I really have no preference.

  6. amm August 17th

    Mancika, congratulations for losing all that weight! I have trouble losing a mere 5 pounds.

    Threads has written many fabulous articles about altering sleeves and arms. I'll list the articles below that seem most appropriate to your problem. If you don't have a copy of each of the issues, you can contact our customer service department. Many of our old issues are still available. You can reach customer service by calling 800-477-8727 9am-5pm ET Monday through Friday. Here are the articles--I'll include the title followed by the issue number, then the page number.

    "Sleeve Finesse" #28, pg. 52
    "Narrowing an Extended Shoulder" #41, pg. 46
    "Basics: Sewing--Reposition the shoulder seam" #49, pg. 18
    "Bought for the Hips, Too Large in the Shoulder?" #59, pg. 62
    "Fitting: Fitting broad shoulder" #64, pg 24 (You can use this process in reverse to narrow the shoulder.)
    "Fitting: Changing patterns at sleeve and shoulder" #68, pg. 16
    "Fitting: Converting dropped shoulders to natural shoulders" #95, pg. 18
    "Q&A: Shoulder room" #134, pg. 60 (Again, this is about adding to the shoulder, but the reverse process will yield a narrower shoulder.)

    These articles will give you an arsenal of information to help you alter your T-shirts as well as other shirt styles.

    Good luck!

    April Mohr
    Threads Editorial Department

  7. mancika August 17th

    I have lost a considerable amount of weight and would like to reduce the size of my quality T shirts. They are about an inch too wide at each shoulder. I would like to narrow the shoulders, especially in the front, but I do not know how to adjust the sleeves to fit. I would take in about one half inch on each side seam (1.5 to 2 inch reduction in the bust).
    Are there instructions for such alterations in past issues of Threads? I have my collection of Threads magazine since 1994.

    Thank you very much.

  8. russellgibson August 16th

    This Lady is the best instructor for me.. I just love her

  9. Certia August 16th

    This is not how I like to set in sleeves and in my opinion as bad method!! It's too tedious. Also, there is way too much ease in that sleeve cap. I prefer using hand basting just inside the seamline, smoothing the gathers evenly as I go. If look closely towards the end of the video, there is puckering along the seam, it's not nice and smooth. Just my two cents.

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