Saturday, 4 February 2012

Easy Does It

This week I've been working on another version of the 'Spitfire Women' blouse - this time it's the more casual Style 3.

Simplicity 4139

Here's where I'm up to... 

It still requires a few tweaks in terms of fitting - the bust is a little bit big and the armholes are too high, but it is the sleeves that are causing me the most trouble. According to the instructions you just 'ease' them in but I can't for the life of me get it to work. I never really have.

A previous 'easing in' disaster, thankfully this was only a muslin.

Next to button holes, 'easing in' is the bane of my sewing existence. Over the years I've tried various tricks to fit things smoothly but nothing quite works. At one point I had a theory that if you kept the bulk of the fabric in front of the needle it would sit flat and while it works, I always end up coming back to gathering stitches. 

This is my second attempt at fitting the sleeves, I've used gathering stitches for this one, but they're still too puffy for my liking. I'm going to need to make the armholes larger so hopefully the next attempt will be more successful. Until then, there's likely to be a whole lot of unpicking in my immediate future.

Have a good weekend everyone!



  1. First check and make sure there isn't too much ease in the sleeve cap: measure your armhole opening and the sleeve cap along the seam allowance - the sleeve cap measurement should only be about 1-1/2 to 2" longer than the armhole.
    Then give pin basting a try! I NEVER was able to get a decent, non-puckered set in sleeve until I found this technique:
    pin easing!!

  2. I always reduce the size of the sleeve cap a bit on vintage patterns. All you have to do is fold over the pattern piece horizontally just a fraction and redraw the new curve.

    Then, pin the absolute HECK out of it! Seriously - use a million pins! I sometimes get it down to pins 1mm apart in the bits that really need easing. Then baste and it should fit better.

    Also with fabrics like wool and cotton you can shrink the area once you've eased it in. I did it with my green wool crepe dress and it helped a lot. You basically just steam it heaps and it will shrink to the shape of your sleeve.

    Hope that helps! I'm no expert but these things have helped me :-)

  3. Thanks for the advice guys! I've now sewn the sleeves in back to front so will be able to give pin easing a try on my next go.


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