12 May 2015

Butterick 6183: project-delay and setting sleeves for beginners

This top could have been finished by now if I only had a machine foot to sew in a regular zipper. The problem: I hadn't. Somehow I've never realized the quiet absence of this accessory for my sewing machine. Thinking back I've only used blind zippers for years, and have never missed a regular zipper foot. I probably assumed it is a sort of standard accessory which comes with every sewing machine. Apparently mine came without...
Visited all sewing machine shops in town but none of them had one, so I had to turn to internet shopping once more. While waiting for the zipper foot to arrive I show you how I set in the sleeves. It is a sort of beginner tutorial, I guess besides setting in zippers this is the hardest thing to sew.
Back in my first sewing years I used to sew the sleevecaps to the armholes flat, before finishing the underarm and side seams. It was not an elegant method.
After a while I tried to set in sleeves like the pro's do and often ended up with a sleeve with the wrong side out.
Nowadays I do stitch the sleeve but set it into the armhole in two parts.

1. Ease sleevecap: sew between the dot markings
I usually sew 2 rows, sometimes 3 with a long stitch length.
Adjust the upper pressure of your machine (I normally use 4, now turn the button to 2) By doing this the machine won't pull the bobbin thread up. This allows you to gather the fabric by pulling the bobbin threads.

2. Stitch underarm seam, press and turn the sleeve right side out:

3. Put the sleeve into the armhole, with sleevecap on the outside. This way you put the right sides together. Look at the matching notches to see which sleeve goes which side (usually one notch marks the front and two the back)

4. match and pin notches and small dots
important: don't forget to adjust the upper pressure back to normal!

5. sew the lower half of the armhole seam between the small dots, from the eased part down

6. align the big circle on the sleeve (which marks the center line) with the shoulder seam and pin (I find it easier to put pins at the small dots as well, but you don't need it if you use a contrasting color for the ease stitches)

7. pull the double (or triple) bobbin thread you used to build in ease

8. distribute wrinkles between center circle and small dots and pin. Use as many pins as you want. I use a lot!
Sew upper part of armhole seam between the small dots from the sleeve side.
Overlap a bit with the previous seam you made on the lower part of the armhole.

9. cut and finish seam allowance (I used a second row of straight stitches and finished with a zigzag.

10. press!

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