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gathered sleeves

indygirl | Posted in Fitting on

Hi Everyone,

I am sewing  baptismal gowns for my coming grandaughters (twins) and I am having a very hard time with the sleeves! There is a hugh amount of gathers and of course a small armhole. Does anyone have any suggestions to make this easier? I have basted and basted and it still doesn’t look good when I baste sleeve to garmet.




  1. Jean | | #1

    Run 2 rows of long stitches on your machine between the notches.  I close the sleeve seam and the underarm seam and then pin the   sleeve in place, gathering up the sleeve fullness and using as many pins as needed to hold it in place, then baste, then sew with regular length machine stitches. If  you've used enough pins, you might not even have to baste. Remove the pins as you sew. Go slowly and make sure the garment doesn't have any little tucks in it as you sew.

    I did a dress for my Granddaughter years ago. French sewing by machine. It turned out beautifully.

    1. mygaley | | #2

      I find tight gathers easier to control with three rows of stitches.  Also on the type sleeves you are sewing, I have left the last inch of the sleeve seam open and 6-8 inches on the side seam and sewed armscye seam shirt-style except for about 1 inch on each sleeve side.  Sew up verticle seams and then sew short underarm sleeve seam.

  2. User avater
    paddyscar | | #3

    Sometimes the restrictions of the small space make a project extremely difficult, especially when setting sleeves, or other work in a circle.  You could try sewing it as a flat piece by inserting the sleeves first and then doing the side and sleeve seams.  Try it with muslin or odd fabric to get the feel of it, and if you like it, you can go ahead with your project fabric.

    Do not sew the side seams of the dress, or the sleeve seam. 

    Gather the cap of the sleeve and set into the shoulder matching your pattern markings.  Once you are satisfied with the look of the sleeve finish off your seam allowances.  You can then stitch the sleeve seam sewing from the arm scye to the wrist.  Go back to the arm scye and sew the side seam from there to the hem.

    If you are as lazy as I am, you could also just match the wrist and hem edges, arm scye seams and pattern markings on sides and sleeves and do it all in one line of stitching from hem to wrist.

    I find this to be much easier, have been doing it for years without any problems. 


  3. HeartFire | | #4

    one other issue to look at - what type of fabric are you using? a very lightweigh batiste will gather up to a smaller dimension than a heavier fabric (think about taking 6 inches of denim and gathering it up vs. 6 inches of batiste - the denim will gather to maybe 3 inches and the batiste to 1 inch )

  4. mem | | #5

    I would use three rows of machine gathering and I would sew the sleeves in by hand and sew up the underarm seam afterwards.The hand sewing will mean that you have alot more control and will be able to avoid the catching of the pleats into the seam.whic is easy to do on the machine . Also you can adjust the pleats so that they are even . The gathering rows should be above and below the armskye seam .

  5. indygirl | | #6

    Thanks to everyone that gave advice on the gathered sleeves!  I did the baste 2 rows to pull gathers and it really worked very well. After 1 week and rip out after rip out, it finally went in! And then of course the second sleeve took about 5 minutes.

    I think I'm gonna love this site!


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