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sewing sleeves

ninav | Posted in General Sewing Info on

does anyone know how to make a sleeve on a jacket that doesn’t make the jacket ride upwards when holding arm up in air…sounds silly…but some jackets are like that..some Patagonia jackets are like that…..


  1. Ralphetta | | #1

    Using a diamond shaped gussed at the arm-hole definitely reduces the problem. The sleeve is independent from the side seam.

    1. Ralphetta | | #2

      Whoops..typo...I meant gusset.

    2. ninav | | #3

      that is a good thought.....thanks..I will try that.....

  2. HeartFire2 | | #4

    You need to raise the bottom of the armhole, most American pattern companies (The Big 4) have the armhole way too deep. If you think about it, its sort of like hinging your arm way down by the bicep.

    You will need to adjust the sleeve as wel, it will be higher and tighter

    1. ninav | | #5

      makes sense!  thanks!

      1. Teaf5 | | #6

        Don't forget to raise the seamline on the sleeve the same amount as you raise the armhole so that they match.  On the sleeve pattern, this will make the curves at the upper edge less dramatically lower than the center of the sleeve cap.  Raising the armhole makes a phenomenal difference in the wearability of jackets, shirts, and tops of any kind.

        1. Josefly | | #7

          To change the sleeve, do you take a horizontal tuck in the pattern, perpendicular to the grain line, above the notches in the sleeve pattern? I guess the tuck would be equal to the amount that the armscye is raised?

          1. Teaf5 | | #11

            No, I either use the pivot/slide method (checked out that chapter in a library or bookstore copy of Fitness Finesse) or I re-draw the sleeve cap line, using a ready made jacket that fits well as my model. Then I redraw the lower part of the armhole on both the front and back bodice with the same adjustment.

          2. Josefly | | #12

            I like Nancy Zieman's pivot method, too, and have used it to increase sleeve width in the cap, but not changes in the armscye. Actually, the pattern I used it on was a Burda, one which was very short in the bodice, and to fit my daughter I had to
            1. lengthen the bodice above the bust by half an inch, and the length adjustment line on this pattern intersected the armscye, so that lowered the armscye, too.
            2. (a) lengthen the sleeve cap at a pattern-marked alteration line by half an inch to match the sleeve to the altered armscye, (b) then shorten the sleeve below the cap by half an inch to maintain the original length of the sleeve ( - I thought).
            3. widen the top of the sleeve by pivoting the pattern from the shoulder point of the sleeve out on both sides of the sleeve by 3/8 inch, then pivoting back in from the pivot points at the top of the sleeve underarm seam, to bring the bottom of the sleeve back to its original width.
            Somehow in all this the sleeve length mysteriously decreased by a bit more than 1/2 inch. (No prob, though, as this was only the 2nd muslin.)I hope this isn't too confusing. But if you can follow it, do you think that the sleeve length is shortened when using the pivot method to widen? Seems that pivoting out from the shoulder point of the sleeve in both directions not only widens the sleeve, but flattens the cap and raises the bottom of the sleeve at the underarm seam as well. (I too checked Fitness Finesse out from the library and no longer have it to verify this theory.) I must've missed something!

            Edited 1/13/2007 12:25 am ET by Josefly

          3. Teaf5 | | #13

            Since you lost 1/2 inch in length of the sleeve, and you shortened the sleeve below the cap by 1/2 inch, that's probaly part of your problem. (My arms are two inches longer than most people's, so I always cut my sleeves much longer!) But I think the major problem is altering the upper bodice in the first place.Did you lengthen the bodice above the bust because your daughter has a lower bust than the pattern? Doing so messes with the sleeves but doesn't really solve the lower bust problem either, because you end up with a lower armscye and a narrower area across the bust, just where she needs more width. To adust for a lower bust, I lengthen the bodice just under the armscye and above the side dart, leaving the sleeve area intact. Then I can add width to the front in the side seams without changing the fit in the upper chest area. Maybe this will work for your daughter as well....

          4. Josefly | | #14

            Yes, I did shorten the sleeve below the cap, but I had lengthened the sleeve _in_ the cap, so I thought I would end up with the original pattern length. But no, I guess changing the length in the cap doesn't affect total sleeve length?And yes, the reason for lengthening the bodice was that the bust dart point was much higher on the pattern than my daughter's bust-length (and much higher than the bust length specified for that size in the fitting chart printed on the pattern). Thanks for pointing out the effect on the bust-fit of lengthening where I did, within the armscye. I can see it clearly now that you've told me. I had also made bust width adjustment at the side-seams, a la Nancy Zieman, as well as waist adjustment; without those changes, the effect may've been more noticeable. We ended up with the bodice fitting well, though the armscye didn't need to be lowered that 1/2 inch, and that has probably affected arm movement. I will definitely apply the method you describe the next time I make that adjustment. I appreciate your know-how. So, when you "add width to the front in the side seams without changing the fit in the upper chest area" does that mean that you don't use the pivot method, pivoting out from the shoulder point? I ask that because I did pivot, and though it seems to be a good way to maintain the shape/length of the armscye, so as to match the sleeve, it does seem that pivoting would also add some width to the chest area. I have the _hardest_ time seeing all the ways one adjustment affects another area, and could use some help with this. If you just widen the bodice below the armscye, that affects the sleeve/armscye fit too, doesn't it?

          5. Teaf5 | | #15

            Increasing the width of the front at the side seam affects the sleeve only in width, not in height or curve.  If I'm adding 1/2 inch to the front side seam, I'll add 1/2" to the front side of the sleeve (extending the curve of the cap outward 1/2") and then taper the side seam back to the original so that it doesn't make the sleeve too full.

            Now that I'm trying to explain it, I think that this particular adjustment is equivalent to adding a gusset in the armpit without adding a separate piece.  It adds fabric under the arm without changing the fit of the bodice in the upper chest/sleeve/shoulder area.

            As for your other question about adding length to the sleeve, raising the sleeve cap makes the sleeve sit higher, but it doesn't add length to the overall sleeve.  The underarm of the sleeve is attached to the bodice at the side seam, and the part hanging from there is what covers your lower arm.  To determine the sleeve length, you need to measure from the underarm seam to the wrist.  I always cut mine an extra two inches longer, just in case, as I have very long arms, and it's very easy to shorten them if necessary.

          6. Josefly | | #16

            Teaf5, that's all very clear. I think I'll make that kind of adjustment in the future, just widening the bodice at the side seams. Especially since I had to widen the sleeve too, anyway. So thank you for helping me to see the effects of the different ways of adjusting the pattern. And the sleeve length alteration is clear too. That answers all my questions. For now, at least. :>)

      2. fabricholic | | #8

        I have narrow shoulders and when I don't adjust for that, my jacket will ride up the way you described. I always use the pivot and slide method from Nancy Zeiman.Marcy

        1. ninav | | #9

          thanks for the info!  I am not familiar with the pivot and  slide method....does she have a book out that covers this?  or can I find it on line?  thanks so much for your help!  nina 

          1. fabricholic | | #10

            Hi Ninav,
            Yes, she has a book called Fitting Finesse by Nancy Zieman. She has a t.v. show on public television, Sewing With Nancy, but I don't know if it says anything about the fitting.Marcyp.s. I usually only have to take off 1/2", but it makes a big difference.

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