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Flat spot in sleeve cap

cynthia2 | Posted in General Sewing Info on

Every once in a while (like tonight) I get a flat spot in the sleeve cap right at the shoulder seam.  No puckers or pulls, and the rest of the sleeve eases in beautifully, but for some reason right at the shoulder seam, the sleeve cap goes flat.  Anyone know what I’m doing wrong?  Thanks.  Cynthia


  1. starzoe | | #1

    Could it be the flat part is because of the shoulder seam? It would tend to happen I suppose with heavier fabrics.

  2. user-51823 | | #2

    i've never encountered this, but all my vintage tops and dresses have a sort of small padded roll inside top of shoulder seam to help keep the shape. it's not a shoulder pad, just a seam shaper

    1. User avater
      CostumerVal | | #5

      You always bring back memories.  I remember the old patterns had a football shaped piece of fabric that was folded in half, slightly gathered on the curve and sewn into the top of the arm seam.  What did they call that?   The tighter the sleeve the skinnier the football.  Puffed sleeve dresses had huge ones, sometimes 2 sewn together.  I haven't made something like that in years.  Sleeve headers? is that what they are?  Oh this is going to drive me crazy.  Coats used felt ones, in addition to shoulder pads.

      1. GailAnn | | #6

        Back in the 80's, I actually stuffed  a sleeve cap with silk to get it puffey enough to suit a certain bride.  It was a beautiful all silk beaded gown.  Turned out to be lovely for it's time.  Gail

        1. User avater
          CostumerVal | | #7

          Ah, the 80's.  Big shoulders and bigger hair.  I couldn't handle the hair!  Some of those shoulder pads felt like they were rubbing my earlobes.

          Checked out a few of my sewing books last night.  Clair Schaeffer covers the sleeve heads in tailored jackets, but recommends them for shirts also.  I've never done one in a shirt.  I suppose it's because I always finish the armscye with a faux fell seam.  Now I'm going to have to make a shirt with a sleeve head.  Ah gee, back to my stash.

  3. Brine | | #3

    If you look at the portion of the sleeve between the notches where you are supposed to ease the sleeve, you will see that most (but not all) of it is on the bias. I think the reason your sleeve has a flat spot right at the shoulder is because that is the non-bias part of the sleeve, and hence won't ease in as well.

    1. cynthia2 | | #4

      Thanks to everyone for your help.  Yes, this most often happens with heavier fabrics and I suspect that you're right, Brine - that the straight-of-grain right at the top of the sleeve cap is causing it.  A narrow shoulder pad and sleeve cap have helped solve the problem with this particular fabric.  Hopefully the jacket will be finished tomorrow.  Best, Cynthia

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