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Apr 3, 2014

Attaching My Shirt Sleeve PICS + New Shirt Muslin!



So here's my latest muslin (no buttons yet, unhemmed), using the pattern Professor B. altered for me on Tuesday.  I cut the torso out of my purple gingham, and the sleeves, collar, and cuffs out of the tiny floral.



One problem: Professor B. made the alterations based on the blue cotton-poly shirt I wore to class.  I'd attached the sleeves using a 1/2" seam allowance.  Based on what I learned yesterday, however, you don't use a full 1/2" seam allowance on the sleeve (detailed below).  So the shoulder is still a tad too wide on my shirt -- perhaps more pronounced since the sleeves are a different fabric -- and the sleeve is a bit too long.





Yesterday, I described the method of attaching the sleeve we were taught in class.  Below are pics of me actually doing it.

First, with the sleeve right-side up, you fold down 1/4" on the sleeve  and edgestitch AT THE FOLD.



Then trim as close to the stitch line as possible (you're cutting off a bit less than 1/4").





Next, take the sleeve and place it on the torso RIGHT-SIDES TOGETHER.



Flip the whole thing over so you have the torso on top and the sleeve underneath (still right-sides together).



Match the raw edge of the torso to the stitched-down raw edge of the sleeve.  Pin every 1 1/2".  There should be NO EASE between the pins.  The two layers should lie FLAT.  (Remember, my floral fabric is the sleeve, the purple gingham is the torso.)



Now stitch, lining up the edge of your presser foot with the raw edge of the torso, or approximately 1/4".  The sleeve side protrudes a bit, just like you see above and below.



After you've stitched, press the seam allowance TOWARD THE TORSO.  No torso fabric (purple) should be visible from under the seam allowance because you stitched them together with the sleeve side a little farther out.





Can you see that the seam allowance is already nice and neat?  It's ready to be topstitched.



Before you stitch, measure the width of the seam allowance to make sure that the topstitching will catch the seam allowance.  Mine is a hair more than 1/4".



Now, from the RIGHT SIDE, topstitch along the seam ON THE TORSO SIDE, catching the pressed seam allowance (which is, again, approx. 1/4").  

Topstitched, from the right side, the shoulder seam looks like this:



From the wrong side, the seam looks like this:



And that's it!  I hope that's clear.  If not, ask.

As you can see, on the torso, the seam allowance is only about 1/4".  So if you've cut the pattern for a 1/2" seam allowance, your shoulder will be slightly too wide.  Which is what happened to me.  But it's not the end of the world -- it's still a wearable shirt.



And really, is it any worse than these Comme des Garcons shirts (S/S 2014), costing several hundred dollars apiece?





I'll be interested to see what alterations Professor B. recommends this time around.

Have a great day, everybody!

53 comments:

  1. Nice technique. Looks very neat. I'd rather have your shirt colour way than those ugly RTW shirts. (IMO)

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  2. I am relieved you posted pictures! I was about to attempt this method based solely on the description from the last post and so the photos give me far more courage. By my math that makes the seam allowance of the sleeve just a hair shy of 5/8", is this right? This reminds me of the method used in the Shimazaki shirt book, except with the extra top-stitching of the sleeve seam allowance, which actually makes the process more precise. Thanks for your wisdom!

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    1. Yes, so if you're using this method with a commercial pattern, you'd have to trim the torso-side (front, back, yoke) accordingly. Does that make sense?

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    2. Yup, thanks a bunch. Will you use this same method to close up the sides?

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    3. Not sure what he'll teach us (that's a future class) but I used French seams with a total seam allowance of 1/2".

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  3. Yes! Thanks for taking the time to do the thorough explanation with photos - it's so much clearer now. I look forward to trying this technique. And your shirt looks great. :)

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  4. Your shirt looks really great! Thanks so much for including pictures of how you attached the sleeves, that's really helpful!

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  5. Oh my Oh my ..the fit of this shirt is fierce! You must be excited. Thank you for posting pics of this sleeve attachment method, I couldn't quite picture it.

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  6. That looks like a very neat and very interesting technique, and the pictures are really helpful. Definitely going to try this, as I find serged edges more and more 'meh' (and serging a curve, like a sleevehead, isn't the easiest thing in the world either).
    Would this be a RTW technique? Because the trimming seems kind of too time-consuming for that - just curious.

    Thank you for this thorough explanation!

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  7. That makes MUCH more sense! Thanks for going to the effort! I have one question (that might be silly, but I'm going to ask it anyway, cause thats the only way I'll get an answer). Did you sew the sleeve in using this method BEFORE sewing the side seam and the underside seam on the sleeve???

    I think the answer is going to be yes... but just to make sure...

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    1. Knowing this method, I can tell you the answer is yes. After sewing the cap, the sleeve and body are placed in a line and the shirt is sewn from the end of the sleeve down the underseam, down the side seam to the bottom.

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  8. Great photos of the construction details. After your first description, I tried it with much success. I already preferred attaching sleeves flat, but the folding and stitching around the sleeve cap is one of those - duh, why couldn't I have thought of that - moments. More stable than just a stay stitch, and so much easier (for me) than attaching the sleeve and then trimming and folding to complete your shoulder seam. And as a bonus, a cleaner seam allowance when the shirt is turned inside out. Before I always found the folding and trimming so awkward that I often resorted to a French seam, but that is bulky with two extra layers at the top-stiched edge of the seam. I am one happy camper. Thanks a bunch for taking the time to detail the process.

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  9. I'm am (mostly silently) enjoying your posts Peter. I had the same feeling as Dough, try it based on your description in the previous post. Thank you for illustrating this step, it makes it clear. Definitely going to try this.

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  10. that method is wild. Will definitely be trying

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  11. Thanks for the pics. I read the description before bit couldn't quite get it, but the pics make it really clear!

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  12. Thanks for the pics- like most of the other commentors I'll definitely give this method a go when next I set a sleeve in flat . (I don't think the technique would work well on a gathered sleeve cap would it?)

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  13. I think your shirt turned out much better than the Comme des Garcons. It looks great, and such a clear explanation of that shoulder seam!

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  14. Thanks for the explanation and photos of that method; very helpful. It says a lot about you as a student that your prof wants you to walk out the door with a custom-fitted pattern, which is quite a gift.

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  15. I was always taught to put sleeves in "in the round" not flat....always thought it was a pain in the tuckus. Will try it, definitely

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    1. Ah, just looked it up. Set in sleeves for jackets and dresses vs. Shirt sleeves for mens wear and more casual women's wear....ok keep calm and sew

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  16. I am so impressed with this technique and your shirt. Because I am lazy I always serge this area in a shirt or blouse and this would eliminate this step. Really great if one is stitching the shirt on a vintage straight stitch machine and doesn't want to thread the serger or flat fell this area the normal way. Thanks for sharing the class with all of us who will never get to attend there.

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    1. When I made those quilting cotton shirts, I serged the shoulder and the sides. (The fabric was too spongy to warrant fussing with a true flat-felled seam.) Nothing wrong with that!

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  17. "And really, is it any worse than these Comme des Garcons shirts (S/S 2014), costing several hundred dollars apiece?"
    Not worse at all, much much better!

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  18. Thank you so much for showing us this method, It's so neat ! I'm going to try it right now and will print your post to keep in my "best sewing tricks " file.

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  19. The first question is, "Are the Comme des Garcons shirts WORTH several hundred?"
    Second question is "What do they COST, versus what do they sell for?"
    Answer to either is "What does it matter, when I can produce a higher quality, better fitting garment for myself," which is part of the reason to sew for one's self.

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  20. Thanks for posting the photos, they really clarified the process for me!

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  21. Thank you for the detailed tutorial regarding the sleeve attachment. I am definitely going to try this!

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  22. Wow, now I understand! Thanks so much for sharing and taking all the photos.

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  23. Wow! Thank you so much for sharing!!!

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  24. I am not sure what the seam allowances are supposed to be on the torso. I saw 5/8" on the sleeve, 1/4" on the torso?

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    1. Yes, that's right. Professor B. uses the edge of the industrial presser foot as a guide; it is roughly 1/4".

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    2. Thanks Peter. I am vicariously enjoying your class. What's next?

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    3. We still haven't been taught how to close up the sides (and sleeves), hem the shirt, or attach the cuff. Plus whether to gather the sleeve into cuff, as I usually do, or make a small pleat.

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  25. Thank you for posting photos, I thought I had it pictured right in my head from your description yesterday, but it's nice to have confirmation. Now I'll need to think about the math for using this method on commercial patterns. And according to the 11th photo (the one showing sewing the sleeve in) the sleeve is inserted before sewing underarm and side seams....

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    1. A men's shirt sleeve is always attached FLAT.

      If your seam allowances are 5/8", the math is simply to trim the armhole seam allowances (on fronts, back, and yoke) in half. The sleeve seam allowance can stay as-is.

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  26. Brilliant! Thanks for the picture tutorial. I'm going to be saving this to try on my next shirt. Thanks again, Peter. Lane

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  27. Another lurker thanking you from the shadows for sharing this!

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  28. Wow! What an interesting technique!

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  29. I love how smoothly the shoulder seams lie with this technique. I'll have to try this next time I sew a shirt.

    I think your shirt looks better than the Comme des Garcons shirts. And the next one, with the perfect shoulders, will look even better. Fit matters, and this shirt is really close to being a perfect fit.

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  30. I definitely like yours better than the runway shirts!!

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  31. Thank you very much for posting photos. They confirm that I an most definitely a visual learner - I was struggling with the first description but now I can't wait to give this a whirl. Great option for those of us without overlockers. Thank you again. Rachel ☺

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  32. I like that technique - it certainly makes a neat, clean finish. Were there any tricks to keeping the bottom part from wandering away from the topstitching since you can't see what's going on underneath? Often when I do topstitching, I miss a small portion of the inside seam allowance, so I have to hand-stitch what I missed after I take it off the machine.

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    1. That's why you measure the width -- and topstitch using the width of the narrowest portion of the seam allowance so you catch it all. You could also topstitch from the underside if you like how the bobbin thread stitch looks. Anyway, even if you do miss a little of the allowance, it's not a big deal; it's not going anywhere.

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  33. Thanks Peter, this is great. I'll give it a try.

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  34. Interesting technique. I'll try it.

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  35. I'm a little surprised the teacher has you all using pins with industrial machines, but it isn't an industrial sewing methods class..

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    1. He says the machines are calibrated to be able to sew over pins (if they're perpendicular to the stitch line) but he always pulls them out before stitching over them anyway. (As do I.)

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  36. Thanks for the pics and explanation!

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  37. So that's how they do that on curved seams - thanks for the info!

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  38. That sleeve thing is brilliant!!!!!! Thanks so much for sharing! In shirt sewing, getting nice flatfelled sleeve to torso seams is still a bit of a nightmare. Sometimes I cheat and serge and then topstitch :) have to try the method you learnt!!

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  39. I finally had an opportunity to try this technique and it worked like a charm. The finish is so much neater than my sleeves usually area. Thanks for sharing!

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