July 5, 2012

2-in-1 Sew-Along: Cap Sleeve Construction

I do love seeing a pattern that has some good sleeve options and Simplicity 1880 did not disappoint. Today, I'll go over the construction of the cap sleeve.

Cap sleeves in general should be constructed this way. You will need the cap sleeve pattern cut from your fashion fabric and also another set cut from either your fashion fabric or some lining. I would recommend the lining if your fabric is on the stiffer side. This would eliminate a bulky sleeve for a softer look.

To begin, stitch and finish the underarm seam in both your outer sleeve and your sleeve lining. Press the seam.

With right sides together, stitch the lining to the outer sleeve along the hem edge. Do this step for both sleeves. If needed, trim the lining seam allowance width to half. Understitch the seam allowances to the lining. Use your edgestitching foot if desired. Press the lining into the sleeve and baste the raw edges together. The lining should favor the inside of the sleeve - a great professional result.

Attach the sleeve to the bodice. If needed, make some ease stitches. I don't use ease stitches much anymore and instead utilize pins. A lot of pins. Then I stitch the sleeve to the bodice with the bodice side up in my machine bed, allowing the feed dogs to feed the sleeve (the bigger seam allowance) through faster than the bodice side. Additionally, while my right hand helps feed the fabric through the machine, my left hand is in between the bodice and sleeve layers, pulling on the sleeve gently to prevent puckers as everything moves on through. It's a technique that I learned from Janet Pray in her Sew Better, Sew Faster Craftsy class and it's one that I have found to work quite well. I get a nice sleeve insertion nearly every time.

From here, seam finish the sleeve seam and press in place.

You're ready for the skirt! Woot!

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18 comments

  1. Theresa in TucsonJuly 5, 2012 at 6:10 AM

    Hmmm, if you reduce your seam allowances at the neckline for all pieces (collar, facing and garment) to 1/4 or 3/8 you could do away with a lot of the clipping and trimming. That's been very helpful for me when I've made shirts for the spouse, especially with the collar stand. Well presented tutorial, thanks.

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  2. Mine came out great! When you mentioned using the back facing the other day, I figured it out. I made a coat that was put together this way but never would have thought to do the same thing on this dress on my own. Sooooo much easier.

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  3. wow, i didnt really understand this, but just followed it half blind and when I tried the bodice on, I had a lovely fitting collar attached! like magic! I had less issues with this than the sleeve inserting! :D

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  4. Mine turned out great, I followed the directions, I didn't add the facing.

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  5. Thanks again for this very informative tutorial. This is a popular collar style and one that I would like to sew well.

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  6. What a lovely method! I also really like your rounded collar.

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  7. Thank you Emily! I'm really enjoying the rounded collar myself and am glad I ended up making that change, though I definitely like the look of the pointy collar too! Either one works great!

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  8. There are definitely other ways of installing a notched collar, but admittedly I find this way to be so wonderfully accurate and the end result is so lovely.

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  9. It did turn out great! There are several ways of inserting a notched collar, and I think that was the biggest point that I wanted to get through. You can definitely follow the pattern directions and you can also try new ways of doing things like I showed here. In the end, its up to you what finished look you like best and what construction technique you felt was the most helpful.

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  10. I'm so glad! I still have my row with sleeves too and this is by far easier than inserting those. Yay!

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  11. So glad! I love hearing this!

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  12. Great point! Definitely worth a try next time. I will say that since there is quite a bit of bulk left along that seamline though, it really does help to have the seamline graded, even at 3/8 or 1/4 inches, you would still have a significant ridge.

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  13. I’ve never done a notched collar before, but after much anxiety (!) I got round to attaching mine today. Your tutorial was really easy to follow & I will definitely be bookmarking this one for future reference! Thanks :)

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  14. [...] great. The instructions failed me here, so I had to kind of make it up. Perhaps if I had waited for Sunni’s tutorial? Alas, I did not. Whatever, it works, and that’s all that [...]

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  15. [...] the interfacing, the gathering, the pleating. And then the collar happened. I followed Sunni’s tutorial–because I have suffered through a collar before and I didn’t want to go back there. Not [...]

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  16. I tried your tip for a shirt that I am sewing for my dad and it turned out great! Because the shirt did not have a back facing, I cut another piece of the yoke. I am very happy with the results.

    Next I am going to adopt your attaching sleeves method. Thanks Sunni for all your great tutorials!

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  17. [...] Collar – I had no idea what I was doing when I followed Sunni’s tutorial, BUT when I was done I had my first collar! Not quite notched for some reason, but still great [...]

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  18. [...] so was rather chuffed when it all came together so beautifully – thank you Sunni for some great step-by-step collar instructions. I’m quite sure I would have been knocking on my mother’s door without them. I did wish [...]

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