This week, I have just about lost my mind about bad/skimpy sleeve caps. There was a challenge on the FabricMart blog for a simple t-shirt pattern to be manipulated into something quite unique by well-known sewers. Normally, I enjoy these challenges for the sewers discover faults and adapt their new designs and inspirations and make something super.
When you click on the link above you will see some darling fashions but every single one of them did not address the sleeve cap that is too short and causing drag lines in every garment…some way worse than others. Check them out…drag lines up the wazoo no matter what fabric they used.
It is not just this pattern, I would say a good 50% or more of patterns on the market cheat us out of good sleeve caps…and for heaven’s sake…it is simple…the shoulder bone is round and needs extra fabric to drape over it before becoming a tube.
If the stripes are 1 inch wide, you can see that with 1 inch added to the cap the stripes would line up well with the bodice. Here is another pattern, a new-upcoming jacket for Nancy with a bad sleeve cap:
Want more? Here are a couple from another blogger who I tried to help with her sleeves: She needed more than one inch so she could add it to achieve the result…the first photo shows the perfect sleeve with a few pins pinching out the excess and the second shows how she did it on her muslin. OK, you say…it doesn’t really matter in a print…OK…no one will notice…except the wearer when she has drag lines and cannot raise her arm.
Want to see a perfect sleeve cap with stripes? This is my new linen/cotton tunic, with a horizontal back slash of 3/4 inch to bring the shoulder seams forward and darts in the back neckline. The sleeve stripes are parallel with the floor as they should be.
I use the Mrs Mole method for everything- CL-TL…Cut large, trim later. If I am cutting a size 20 bodice, I cut the 22 or 24 sleeve because the cap is higher and I can just pin out and cut out what I don’t want later. Another method I have seen in tailoring books is to cut one inch or more beyond the seam line from notch to notch. You mark the original seam/stitching line and then use whatever extra fabric you need to make the horizontal lines parallel with the floor. Adding to the cap will definitely drop the sleeve lower into the armscye but the alteration of raising those areas up a little make it fit better. Of course we all measure our sleeve and armscye, don’t we? Don’t we all want to know what ease the designer left for us? YES WE DO! T shirts have little ease and flat sleeve caps while jackets SHOULD have more ease and higher sleeve caps…they can have up to 2 inches of ease. But you have to measure to know this:
Remember Nancy’s Vogue 8821 sleeve cap? It was a knit and needed more cap ease at the top and side seams…so out came the curved ruler to make that happen. If you don’t measure the front and back opening and the sleeve then you have no idea what you have. If you rely on the pattern company to get it right…guess again!!! OK if you don’t want to bother with measuring and recording it…then just “walk” the sleeve in the armscye to see how it will sew in…it might fit but the cap will pull up and then what?
Now try looking at blog photos for the sleeve drag lines…while the bodice will hang straight…maybe…without wrinkles…it is the sleeve that shows the true expertise/patience of the seamstress. Who do you want to be…the one with perfect or sloppy sleeves?