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August 2010
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How To Make Set In Sleeves

          Sometimes the curved edge on the set in sleeve measures more than the armhole circumference, such as with gathers along the shoulder line.  This area will take special attention to get the gathers fitted into the right  area.

          Sew a row of “ease stitching” between the notches of the sleeve (A), to prevent stretching as well as to help ease the fabric into the armhole.  With right sides together (B), pin baste then sew the underarm seam of the sleeve.  Press the seam open.  Sew the side seam of the garment and press the seam open.

          Insert the sleeve into the armhole with right sides together.  Pin at all notched markings and at the underarm seam line (C).  Pull the bobbin thread ends from the “ease stitching” line to gather the excess fullness.  Hold the sleeve in position and pin the fullness across the cap of the sleeve/shoulder line.   Starting at the underarm seam (D) sew the sleeve in place.  Remove all pins and ease stitching threads.

          These “how to” tutorials are an excerpt from our book “Basic Clothing Construction”.   This book is a handy addition to have in your sewing room, so you can refer to the various sewing tips and tutorials at any time

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About The Author

Pattern Maker, Instructor & Author


2 Responses to “How To Make Set In Sleeves”

  1. Margaret Coats says:

    This method is so time consuming and not practical to do, discourages people from sewing. The best way to do this is to sew the sleeve into the bodice before the side seam is sewn. If you have a serger, you can ease the gathered part into the sleeve opening by placing the part that will gather face down on the serger, and pull the bodice part taunt so that the serger feeds the sleeve into the opening, pining the center top of sleeve to match the shoulder seam of the bodice. This is much faster and gives a nice look and is probably the way commerical garments are produced. You know they do not use the set in method. Youshould never waste your time with set in sleeves.

  2. cathy says:

    Too bad Margaret didn’t read a little further to see the second method for set in sleeves. why are people so quick to criticize? I think all your instructions are very well worded and anyone wanting to learn to sew should easily understand them. Keep up the good work!

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