Oliver + S

Book Report Size 7 — Sleeve doesn't fit into armhole.

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    BeckyinFL @BeckyinFL

    Believe me, I hesitated before starting a separate post about this. I’m sure it’s operator error, but I can’t figure out what I might be doing wrong!

    Earlier I posted in the “Odd placement of notches” topic, which somebody else started. At that time, I wondered if I had matched up the notches incorrectly. The fact is that the sleeve seems too small for the armhole opening. Not only that, but the notches don’t align. It is as if I’m trying to put a sleeve one size too small into the armhole.

    Here’s what I’ve done. I fudged that dress and finished it (Book report in green) and immediately started another one in the same size using a fabric that is very stable. I have been as accurate as I can, and everything’s been great up until the setting of the sleeves.

    I tried the flat set in the last dress, so I tried the inset way of doing it in this dress. But either way, the sleeves just don’t fit.

    I just checked to be sure I had traced the right size. I did. And I marked the seamlines, taped pieces together where needed and then “walked” the sleeve over the armhole on a transparent surface (window), and no, it just doesn’t fit. Overall the sleeve is about 3/8″ too small, but the notches are off, too.

    Can anyone help? I know I’m going to feel like an idiot when somebody points out the obvious, but… oh well. If the shoe fits!

    This is a size 7, and every other part of it matched perfectly.

    Thank you!!!

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    BeckyinFL @BeckyinFL

    I finished the dress, again sort of fudging in the sleeves. I found that if I lined up the underarm seam and ignored all other match points and did not tug on the easing threads at all, it was just large enough to fit. But I don’t really like the way it looks. For one thing, I’d like a little more of a cap to the sleeve — not gathers, just a bit eased in so the fabric caps the shoulder. Here’s the finished dress: https://www.flickr.com/photos/128353028@N04/15807918668/in/pool-oliverands/

    I really love this pattern and find it painless and fun to make other than fitting the sleeve.

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    Nicole @motherof5

    I can feel your frustration but your over riding love for the pattern.
    My special friend Deb gave me the tip of three rows of gathers to help smooth and ease a sleeve cap. I wonder if that may help here?

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    BeckyinFL @BeckyinFL

    Thanks for your reply, Nicole! It had been so quiet here, I thought perhaps I’d made a faux pas. It’s true that I’ve had almost no problems with the dozen or so Oliver + S patterns I’ve tried so far. Much the opposite, for I’ve been in an almost constant state of excitement and delight. I’m glad it shows that I really love this pattern because it’s one of my favorites.

    I am used to struggling with set-in sleeves. They’re never something I really look forward to sewing. But I guess I’ve gotten spoiled with O+S and expected sleeves to just pop themselves into place — and these didn’t. I was more surprised than anything. That’s why I made the dress again immediately. Was sure I had done something wrong, and I still think so.

    I will try your tip. I also just viewed your tutorial on the Sketchbook Shirt (via the latest O+S blog post) which is extremely helpful. I think I should make another garment with set-in sleeves now to gain perspective.

    Many thanks 🙂

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    Nicole @motherof5

    Please, please don’t feel bad. You could not have put your question in a more apologetic or humble way. I really felt for you but I had no answer for your predicament.

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    BeckyinFL @BeckyinFL

    Nicole, your posts are always so kind. 🙂

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    Liesl Gibson
    Keymaster
    @liesl

    Hi, and sorry for the silence. It’s been a busy week! I just grabbed S’s size 7 dress to check it and the sleeve fits fine, so I’m trying to imagine where you might be running into trouble. The obvious spot is the buttons at the shoulder, where the front overlaps the back by 1/2″. But from your photos it appears that you’ve accounted for that, yes?

    There isn’t very much ease in this sleeve at all. I was going for more of a relaxed shirt-sleeve look, so there isn’t much cap to it. If you want to add a bit to the cap, it’s a relatively easy change to make. You can refer to the Fit for Real People book for really clear instructions for this, and I’ll try to write a blog post about it soon.

    I’ll try to investigate this further when I’m back in the studio next week. I’m sorry for the frustration! I know set-in sleeves aren’t much fun, especially when they don’t seem to fit.

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    BeckyinFL @BeckyinFL

    Liesl! Thank you so much for your comments. I still haven’t figured it out, but it’s helpful to hear you say there isn’t much ease in this sleeve. I do have the Fit for Real People book, and I can try to modify the sleeve cap slightly. But I think what I really want to do is master the insetting of sleeves! I have been uncomfortable with the flat set method, probably because I am afraid to clip the underarm area before sewing, and that seems to be necessary when matching opposing curves. I’ll keep after it. I have learned to trust your instructions completely. I just haven’t quite got this yet! Thank you so much for weighing in here. I’ll read with interest anything you write about sleeve setting. I’ve learned SO much in the couple of months I’ve been sewing your patterns. It is, indeed, like a sewing course. I’ve gained a lot of confidence and gotten past a few barriers. I really appreciate what you do!

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    Sarvi @Sarvi

    I haven’t made the size 7 so I can’t speak to the specifics of that size, but I do remember after the first one I didn’t bother with the gathering stitches, the sleeve fit perfectly and I didn’t have to ease anything. I can see how the accumulation of pretty tiny deviations could add up quickly and lead to a sleeve too small for the armscye.

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    Jillls @Jillls

    I’ve made the size seven and do not remember having problems with it. I use to hate doing set in sleeves until I stopped doing gathering stitches on non gathered sleeves. It takes a little practice but I use a seam ripper to shift the sleeve around (sleeve piece on top of the armscye piece) to ease without puckers.

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    BeckyinFL @BeckyinFL

    Sarvi — I am the queen of tiny deviations! It comes from being a perfectionist. I can’t help it! Anyway, very good point. When things are exact, any little thing can throw it off. I have had to pay close attention to an exact 1/2″ seam allowance, for one thing. The marking on my machine isn’t quite right, so I have it marked with masking tape. One of those “little deviations” that can be so insidious.

    Jills, thanks for your comment. I think you’re saying you dont’ pin the pieces together but walk the sleeve over the armhole pieces as you sew, pivoting their arrangement with the point of your seam ripper. Is that right? Interesting. I’ll try it.

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    Jillls @Jillls

    I do use a few pins using the seam ripper to evenly distribute the fabric between each pin.

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    Sarvi @Sarvi

    Yes, I’ve done the same thing, using the seam ripper as a tiny fingertip to nudge the fabric in place stitch by stitch, between the ‘toes’ of the presser foot.

    You know, I was sewing a collar today, cut both halves at once so they started off exactly the same. Maybe it’s because one half was interfaced and the other not, maybe it’s because I’d inserted piping, maybe it’s because it was thick fabric. I ended up with an extra half inch on one of the pieces! Fabric really can shift and move a lot just through handling.

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