Tale of Two Sleeves

 It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…it was the spring of Hope, it was the winter of Despair.

I felt rather deflated after the last (and as I thought) most brilliant attempt at a perfect sleeve for this coat turned out, well, mediocre.  I don’t want to slave away on a coat for 50 hours only to look at mediocre sleeves for the rest of its life.  I couldn’t decide which way to go towards making the sleeve work, so I left it alone for a few days and drank during my free time.

Funny, that.  Drink or sew, but mixing doesn’t seem to work well.

After a few evenings of zero productivity, I decided to rotate the sleeve.  For the sleeve above, I matched the underarm seam to the bottom seam on the sleeve.  This turned out to be incorrect, and a probable cause of sleeve-twisting.  On the track of a new development, I ripped and re-positioned the sleeve, though I had to fudge the positioning a little bit.  The front of the coat wanted to ease into the sleeve rather than vice-versa.  I discovered an ungodly amount of ease in the back.  Before I basted, I knew it wasn’t right.

Better, perhaps, than the previous attempt but by no means good enough.  Let me be clear: this is the same sleeve as above, but rotated on the bottom by about 3/4″.  I left the top of the sleeve as marked.

This time I took it personally.  The seam ripper came out, and I ripped the sleeve while Husband was still wearing it.  Then I pinned, admired, pinned, admired, and pinned.  Lila kept running around my legs and hopping on the computer.  She gets so excited about fittings.  She tries to stick pins into Daddy; when I take the pins away she protests indignantly.  She took some pictures this time:

Victory!  I still need to take in the side back seam a trifle, but I think we have a sleeve now.  I knew it could be fantastic.  Now I need to pull the pieces apart, transfer the alterations to the pattern and we’re in business.  Spring of hope!


  1. A well fitted sleeve is a triumph indeed! I did the exact same thing yesterday fitting a 1760s pet en l'aire sleeve for a friend. Adjust, and adjust, and adjust, until we got it rightAnd you and hubby and dearie are so cute!

  2. Lila is showing signs of a good documentary photographer – very cute!Good to see it all coming together. Fitting sleeves can be such a test of patience!Make sure it is not too tight across the upper arm – leave room for lining/shirts underneath etc.Nearly time to cut!

  3. Good save. BTW, no two piece sleeves do not have the seams line up with the side seam. I try to remember to measure the sleeve cap and the armhole to make sure that there is not too much ease. Whenever I forget, inevitably there is too much.

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