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A Shortcut for Easing a Sleeve Cap

Kenneth D. King reveals a time-saving trick for easing the seam allowance of a sleeve cap before inserting it into the armhole.

Contributing Editor Kenneth D. King reveals a clever method of easing the seam allowance of a sleeve cap before inserting it into the armhole. This no-sew technique, which Kenneth calls “cheater’s ease,” works best with crisp fabrics like cotton shirting. It involves manipulating the fabric to crimp the seam allowance, which builds shaping in the cap. Cheater’s ease is a time-saving trick that’s worth mastering.

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A related video, How to Sew a Sleeve, may help you complete sleeve installation.

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About This Video Series

Fitting Tips with Professor King is a 13-part video series that will teach you valuable techniques and skills to help you sew better fitting garments. Threads contributing editor and sewing expert Kenneth D. King covers test garments, creating symmetry on asymmetrical body types, tips on fitting arms and skirts, how to pivot darts, reducing cap ease, and much more. Follow along as Kenneth walks you through these lessons excerpted from his 3-DVD workshop Smart Fitting with Kenneth D. King. In this DVD box set,…

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  1. Theresa_in_Tucson | | #1

    You can also do this on an unthreaded sewing machine by running the needle close to the stitching line and "ease-stitching" with your finger behind the presser foot bunching up the fabric. If you need more crimping you do it again.

  2. maguertae | | #2

    Brilliant, I am going to give that a try.

  3. User avater
    wingthorn | | #3

    Brilliant! I've been wrestling with setting the sleeves into a linen dress with uneven results. This technique should make it much more serene!

  4. User avater
    sunnylutz | | #4

    Sounds interesting and worth a try.. I would love to see the video taken so we can more easily see what Kenneth is doing with his thumb.

  5. User avater
    MauraRicketts | | #5

    Brilliant! Many thanks for this tip and the others. I love sewing but HATE pinning — takes up so much time without much value (except matching seam intersections). A little washable fabric glue plus experimenting/learning about careful management of the fabric with one’s hands goes a long way I think. Do you have any “do/don’t do” about pinning?

  6. User avater
    Barakasews | | #6

    I'd seen this video a while back, and my schedule for today is to cut out a crisp cotton shirting for a shirt I patterned off one of my son's favorites. Such perfect timing for this to come up in the Threads insider email today, so it's fresh in my mind for this project!

  7. user-7225691 | | #7

    Very practical. Thank you for sharing.

  8. user-6905624 | | #8

    Great top cotton duck on surface for grip is that tape I wonder?

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