Thursday 12 March 2015

How to ease sleeve cap by crimping - easy quick and no frustration way

Sleeves are always tricky. Aren't they?

How to ease sleeve cap for set in sleeves

Ever wondered how on earth does the arm hole match up to the circumference of the sleeves?
Why don't sleeve and arm hole match for a garment with no gathered sleeves?
A poorly made set in sleeve can scream homemade, not that I'm ashamed of it though. :)

The sleeve circumference is so much larger that it becomes so difficult to do it without puckers.
Some upto 3 cm. Well it also depends on the type of fabric (knit, woven). You should comfortably be able to rise your arms up.

I have the tried the following options:

1. The gathering way (2 rows or 3 rows) but it always ends up with puckers which almost look like gathers. Yeah! gathering way produces gathers, atleast for me.
2. The finger pressing way (the heat in the fingers does help to manipulate the fabric) but it takes ages to get it right. It's frustrating to say the least. Divide and conquer way it is.
3. Crimping way - The easiest and simplest and quickest and bestest. No more frustration or patience required.

I have read this in a couple of fashion books without pictures so had to do a number of trail and error to get this right. So let's see how to do it. Below is the video.
Set the stitch length to 3. Max is 4 on my machine Guess I forgot to mention in video.

Do you need to finish the sleeve (sleeve seam, finish raw edges and hem) first or after crimping/easing?

I have done both ways and both have pros and cons.
If you finish the sleeve it becomes slightly difficult to crimp because it is difficult to lay flat - you could always remove the tray to make it easier.
But if you don't finish the sleeve then the threads may come in the way when you finish. You could always tie a knot but then when you start to pin it up against the arm hole you may need to adjust.
I'd prefer to finish the sleeve first.

Don't forget to let me know if it worked for you.
After you have eased you'd need to match up the notches or the dots and pin up at few points before you stitch. Sorry should have taken a few pics there, may be next time!
Happy stitching!

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  1. That's a wonderful tutorial, Preethi :) The concept is not new to me as while learning sewing I did this as a mistake :D But, as a technique, this is absolutely new to me...

    I want to share something that I remembered looking at the video. There is similar technique to adjust one of the fabric with the other, like sleeve with armhole. The shorter length of fabric(usually bodice armhole) has to be kept beneath the longer one (usually sleeve). While sewing, the sleeve is fed more loosely than the bodice. This method is not that easy compared to that of yours and requires experience.

    Thanks a lot for this smart sewing tutorial :) TC! Keep smiling :)

    1. Thanks a ton Sindhu..Was it a mistake you made this way?

      Have a question about the other technique - How to feed the sleeve more loosely? How is this done on the machine? Should armhole be stretched while stitching?

    2. Yes dear.... I never knew that it could be a technique when I did the same while I was learning to feed the fabric to the machine. I remember another mistake that happens usually... If the old treadle machine is not oiled regularly or if it has some problem in feed-dog, feed-dog doesn't work normally. When we sew, this results crimping and that is a fault there!

      Yes :) We match the shape of the sleeve to the armhole while stitching, you know. The bodice armhole is stretched slightly and the sleeve is shaped without stretching or with negative stretching. The amount of no stretch or negative stretch depends up on the adjustment to be made with the bodice armhole.

      I am not sure if the term negative stretching exists in apparel dictionary. I just wanted to share about the following with you: When we stretch a fabric in its bias grain, the fabric stretches in the direction of pull and there is an opposite action happening in the other direction (perpendicular to the stretch direction). I called it as negative stretch. This negative stretch helps to feed the fabric loosely.

      Now, if we talk about sleeve again, we can notice that the grain of the fabric is in bias in most of the curvy shape of it. So, if we give a negative stretch to it, the length adjustment can be done as per requirement.

      With this technique, we can adjust the lengths uniformly throughout the seam.
      I hope I was clear in explaining...

    3. Hi Sindhu, Although I gave it about 2 months to settle in my head, I'm still having questions how it is to be done. :) If I armhole is at bottom and sleeve on the top while stitching - the armhole needs to be stretched and sleeve - negative stretch ? Now, I can stretch /pull the armhole vertically so that it elongates (the below layer) on bias. To negative stretch the above layer (the sleeve) layer do you mean to stretch is horizontally? This way the length shortens and breadth increases so it can fit the shoulder?
      Or am I over analysing?

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