How to remove sleeve cap ease pt.2

sleeve_body_measures_chartContinuing from part one, the first step is analysis which is done objectively and subjectively. Objectively is measuring so you know where you are. The second is somewhat subjective in that your eye must gauge the objective measures.

I draw a little chart before I start to map the differences. The chart for this style is shown at right.

The measures of the front sleeve and front body are pretty close; the sleeve is 1/16th smaller than the body. If the sleeve is a hair smaller, that is fine. I have a colleague who shakes her head over these discussions, she can’t believe we even debate the point. She cuts all of her sleeves to be slightly smaller than the armholes they are sewn into. But I digress, 1/16th is nothing to worry about at this stage.
The sleeve back and body back differ quite a bit, just a hair over 1.5″ (1 9/16). Those differences are highlighted.

At this point you might think the solution is to find someplace to take that excess out of the sleeve back but I’d say not so fast (because I think the sleeve front needs some work). Now you should do a subjective assessment.


At right is an illustration of the sleeves lain on top of the body with notches aligned. Grey is the body, the sleeves are green. Since this is a suit sleeve, shape-wise, it’s not as far off as other sleeves might be. The grainline, particularly of the under sleeve is another story.

[Before someone mentions it, the under sleeve grainline is based on the top sleeve and I did check that the two are congruent. If you haven’t done so, that is the first step. If you need a refresher in setting a grainline for a basic sleeve, see How to find a grainline on a sleeve.]

3_sleeve_changes_smBy my eye (subjective assessment) the front sleeve looks too long even though its length matches the front body, especially in the scye. The front sleeve also looks long at the cap. So, my first order of business will be to totally mess up the front measures by offsetting them before I worry about the back. This actually makes sense because the front is a known quantity as both variables (sleeve and body) match -at least in lengths.

So I’ll take in 3/8 at the scye of the front sleeve to bring it in closer to the body. I will also move the shoulder notch of the sleeve forward into the front by another arbitrary 3/8. In effect, this makes the back sleeve an additional 3/4″ too large (image at right). The best way to resolve the difference is to move the under arm notch of the under sleeve back 3/4″. All of this is illustrated at right.

Now I have to do some more drafting before I can write anything else.  I hope you find this useful and as usual, there’s more in the forum thread.

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  1. Donna says:

    So far I am with you. I learned this as rolling the sleeve forward to accommodate the fact that my shoulder rotates forward. I’m waiting to see what happens to the actual excess.

  2. Kathleen says:

    You’re not obtuse Victoria. I didn’t show how to find it on a suit sleeve (but linked to the simpler one I have done). Yet another tutorial for the future…

  3. Victoria Kathrein says:

    I have to say, that I get the armhole correction. I have done enough sewing to get it. But for sure I would not be able to correct the sleeve the way you did. I am not sure whether its the lack of professional experience, since I have never worked in the industry, or just that the gut feeling you have is not there for me.

    Also, with this correction, is your back armhole still larger than the front? You took quite a bit of the “scoop” out. So that would make it smaller…right?

  4. Kathleen says:

    I have to tell you it never feels good chopping into something like this no matter how long you’ve been at it. The pressures of a commercial environment are good because it FORCES you to do it for better or worse. Usually better because you don’t learn until you jump off into the abyss. If it is something you’re doing on your own, you are paralyzed by indecision and dither all day (or two or three) whereas on the job, you would have had to do it three or four times by then. How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice, practice. Pretend you have a boss who will fire you if you just stand there. Pretend there are 200 stitchers standing behind you whose kids aren’t going to eat if you don’t try *something*.

    The back armhole is larger than the front. Removing the “scoop” did make it smaller which represents a challenge because the back sleeve was already too large for even the formerly larger back armhole. See the latest posting on the forum which shows more details (I did more with it) and larger images.

  5. Matthew Pius says:

    Coming late to this – but, is there a reason, when the sleeve is so mismatched to the armhole and good patterning in general, to not re-draft the sleeve based on the new armhole measurement? It seems like fixing the sleeve pattern is more work than just drafting a new (good) sleeve would be? Or am I missing something?

  6. Kathleen says:

    If I drafted a new sleeve, I couldn’t write a post for people who need information on how to do a minor version of this fix for themselves.

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