22692 Bagging Tutorial #1

Let’s start with the sleeve ends. Below you’ll see that I’m aligning the strip of wigan so that it’s flush with the cut edge. The wigan is 1 1/4″ wide. The wigan comes very close to that tiny protuberance -a leather notch- it looks similar to one of those /\ in home sewing. Leather notches are different than regular ones. A regular notch is a cut slit. Anyway, this notch lies 1 3/8″ up from the cut edge of the sleeve. Sew the wigan flush with the cut edge using a 1/4″ seam allowance. Overlap the wigan by 1/2″ to 3/4″ and trim off the excess. Some of you will have 2 pieces of wigan in your kits. Use the wider piece and discard the other.

Once the jacket is completed, you’ll notice that the hem will turn under evenly along the wigan edge. You can replicate the same effect in other projects. Just make sure that your wigan is about 1/8″ narrower in width than the hem allowance because you need bend allowance. Below, you’ll see that both ends of the sleeves have wigan attached.

Before you can attach the sleeves, you have to sew the body together. Below I’ve started with the shoulder. Be sure to match the pieces according to the black leather trim on the sewing line which is 3/8″ by the way. Your shoulder seam may be a little off, mine was (I didn’t make this pattern).

Below you’ll see I’ve sewn the side seam.

Below , you’ll see that the side seams on my jacket didn’t match. They were off about 3/16″. Accordingly, I sewed the side seams starting at the hem and moving up into the armhole. Any disparate allowance lies there. It’s better there than at the hem.

Now you need to press. There’s one seam on the sleeve that needs pressing. Press the shoulder seam and the side seams. When you’re pressing the side seam, you’ll notice that it’ll be hard to butterfly them, so don’t. It’s a fallacy that all seams are pressed open; this one isn’t. While you’re pressing, it wouldn’t hurt to press the top of that sleeve in order to pre-shrink it a bit. The armhole on the bodies were fused and pressed so they shrunk just a hair which is why it doesn’t hurt to press the sleeve cap either. Once done pressing, you’re ready to set sleeves. Below is a photo with pins marking the positions of the notches on the sleeves.

You’ll notice a pin (notch) west -that’s to the front armhole. The one lying north is to the shoulder seam. By the way, in real life, there had better be a notch at the shoulder seam line-up on your sleeve cap or you won’t last long regardless of whether you’re a designer or a pattern maker. That notch is a very big deal. There is a set of notches (pins) to the east, those go to the back. The notch at the very bottom aligns with the side seam of the body.

At this point, if you were a professional sample maker, I would be writing this entirely differently. All I would say is that the seam allowance is 3/8″, that the wool is sticky and that the shoulder notch on the sleeve cap is off by 1/4″; it needs to be moved toward the front. When setting the sleeve, align the shoulder notch on the sleeve 1/4″ in front of the shoulder seam as you’ll see I’ve done below.

Lastly, as a sample maker, I’d tell you the total sleeve cap ease is 3/8″ so you don’t have too much to work in. In other words, a sample maker would know she could skip the running of a basting stitch in the sleeve cap to gather it in which saves her time.

Now, I’ve watched home sewers sew sleeves and I do not imply any offense when I say this, but it’s a painful experience. Don’t fight with your sleeves, just relax. You need to sew them with the body on top and the sleeve underneath. Forget -forget- trying to align cut edges because the outside cut edge of the sleeve is bigger than the inside cut edge of the armhole, only worry about aligning directly on the seam line, so as you’re sewing, yes, there will be “puckers” in the cut edge of the sleeve. I didn’t baste or anything to sew these in; you can work them in naturally. Be aware of something else; there’s such a thing as creep-shrinkage. Two sticky layers (like wool and leather) will tend to grab each other. Don’t pin your layers together when you’re sewing anything (usually); keep the layers separate as much as you can. I know that runs contrary to what you’ve been told, but layers stick together and that’s not good if they’re also grabbing and sticking out of place. You can pin provided you’ve worked it in. The creepage is so small you don’t notice; that’s why it’s called “creep” shrinkage. Anyway, I noticed that this wool is a little grabby which is why I said all of that. Below is a picture of one of mine:

Compare the crinkles of the above inside photos with this one (below) from the outside, and you can see the seam is very smooth.

Now you need to insert the sleeve head. I notched the center of each fluffy (I call them fluffies) and aligned it as shown below, matching the notch to the shoulder seam. You can set it from sleeve-side top-side up or the body on top. Either way, get as close the seam allowance as you can but don’t go nuts over it either.

Now it’s time to set the shoulder pad. This you have to sew with the body side up. Again, try to get as close as you can to the seam allowance but I’ll doubt you’ll be very successful. Luckily, that works out just peachy.

Below is a photo of the shoulder area turned so you can see that even unpressed, it looks pretty crisp.

Okay, I think that just about covers it for today. Be sure to check in tomorrow for the bagging portion. Have fun!

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  1. Susan White says:

    Great information! Please clarify the sleeve head photo for me. The sleeve is the bottom layer and the body the top layer with the sleeve head becoming the third and lowest layer. Setting in or sewing can be done from either side but should be as close to the seam line as possible, but not within the seamline.

    Thank you again, I appreciate your work and blogs. Susan

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