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FIT AS A FIDDLE 3 (series of 3)
Fitting Sleeves
By Sally Cowan, Keeping You In Stitches

When I give a seminar, the most popular questions have to do with altering the pattern. It is very discouraging when someone spends the time and money on making a garment and it doesn’t fit.

Not only is the body of the garment important, but so are the sleeves. Sleeves can be short, long, cuffed, straight, etc. On the pattern, you must measure the distance from the top of the sleeve to the elbow. This measurement should match yours. If it doesn’t, you need to lengthen or shorten it ABOVE the elbow. Next, measure the sleeve length (shoulder to wrist). If the sleeve has a cuff, take your measurement by holding the tape measure at the shoulder, around the bent elbow to the wrist. If the sleeve is straight, measure from the shoulder to the wrist, with the arm straight. Don’t ignore 1/2 or 1/4 inch changes. They can make a difference.

wpeF.jpg (9932 bytes)The illustrations show the alteration involved when the arm is full. When the figure has a full upper arm, more fullness is needed at the top of the sleeve (without enlarging the wrist or armhole). So many people are tempted to add to the underarm seams, but that does no good at all. My favorite saying is, "Go the where the problem is." In this case, it is the upper arm area. To increase the sleeve without increasing the armhole, slash the length of the sleeve through the center (up to, but not through the cutting line at the top). Take darts from the slash toward the cap of the sleeve to help the pattern lie flat. Be sure the darts taper to nothing at the armhole. This really does work and just think -- the next time you hug your husband around the neck -- you won’t split a seam.

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