Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Ease in Sleeves

I am currently working on this pattern, Butterick 5616.

I am using a very fine pinwale corduroy. And to beef up the fabric, I have lined the jacket using a quilting cotton. Everything is from my stash, and I didn't want to buy anything for this project. However, I will have to go and buy 14 buttons as I don't have 14 buttons that will work for this.

One thing I have noticed in the last couple of jackets that I have made and I am wondering if anyone else has found this too. Since it has happened on at least four jackets, I am thinking this is not just me, but must be something in the pattern draft.

In the past, I have always found the back of a sleeve to have more ease than the front of the sleeve. This makes sense, since it is the back that needs the extra fabric as you move your arms forward. But in the past several jackets that I have made, all of the sleeves had no ease in the back but they have ease in the front. This means that you are trying to ease in fullness on the front of the garment, not a place that I would expect to do this.

My solution was to ease stitch the sleeve twice in order to shrink it up, then I set in the sleeve matching notches, underarm seam. I eased as much sleeve to the front as I could, but then let the notch at the top of the sleeve fall where it would. This ended up with the top of the sleeve falling slightly (about 3/4") towards the back of the garment. This didn't affect the fit at all, and allowed me to set in the sleeve without puckers. I would surely have had puckers in the front sleeve if I hadn't moved that point.

If you have found this, I would be interested to know. It seems definitely wrong to me. Why do we need ease in the front of a sleeve, between the single notch and the shoulder?  Surely that ease should be placed in the back. Is this a new styling (I doubt) or is it poor drafting (I suspect). Let me know if you have found this too. Surely I can't be the only one.


  1. I have noticed that also. I did what you did and will be asking Ron Collins about it in September.

  2. Interesting, I wonder if they are not being very careful with the drafting these days. I don't think I would have ever found that with older patterns.

  3. Oops my mistake on this one. I forgot there is a yoke and the shoulder seam is therefore forward. So the dot at the top of the sleeve doesn't match up to that seam, but comes about an inch along the yoke. Fortunately, my sleeves went in okay, despite my overlooking this fact. whew!

  4. Hi Julie. Thank you for the comment you left about my daughter's jacket.
    I can't say I've noticed the problem you're talking about. This may be a dumb suggestion but if the sleeves are one piece could you just reverse the front to back and vice versa? Just a thought.

  5. Oh I just read your last comment. I did the exact same thing last time I made my favorite Burda jean jacket!!I had made it at least four times before but this time it was a problem! Getting older I guess.

  6. That's funny, Diana. Glad to know I am not the only dunce around here. The jacket is working out just great and I may make it again. Once you have a pattern working well, it's a shame not to re-use it.

  7. I've just read your own comment, and was going to propose in my own comment that this might be the case. I have a go-to men's shirt pattern, and the notch at the top of the sleeve corresponds to a notch on the yoke too. But don't feel bad! I consider setting in a sleeve perfectly with no puckers to be easily the most challenging part of any jacket