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MN4001 Mini Darling Ranges / Sewalongs

Mini Darling Ranges Flat Sleeve Insertion Method

Mini Darling Ranges flat sleeve method

Hi, I’m Faith. I’m an island girl (Jamaica) living in the south (Atlanta, Georgia). I am so happy to be a part of Megan Nielsen’s blogger team. Let me share a little snippet about myself. I am a wife and mom who loves to sew and spend most of my time with my husband, kids, and my sewing machine. I learned to sew at a young age, and picked it back up in 2012 after serving in the military for nine years. Sewing heals me and keeps me sane in this crazy world. I am looking forward to sharing Megan’s beautiful creations, great information, and tips with you all as you sew in love.

Today, I’m going to take you through a little tutorial to help you with the sleeves of your Mini Darling Ranges dress! There are two basic methods for attaching sleeves: sewing sleeves flat and sewing set-in sleeves. The difference between the two is that for the set-in sleeve method, you must sew up the garment’s bodice and sleeves before you insert the sleeve. For the sleeve flat method, the sleeves and bodice side seams must not be sewn before attaching the sleeves. Today, I am going to show you how to insert sleeves using the sleeve flat method.

Let’s get started!

How to insert a sleeve using the flat sleeve insertion method / Step 1

Line up the front and back body pieces with right sides facing each other, so that the shoulder seams are even with each other. Then, pin the shoulder seams to secure them and sew along each of the pinned areas.

Only stitch the shoulder seams, this method will not work if you sew the side seams close.

Press the seams either open or towards the back of the bodice, and open the bodice so it is laying flat with right sides facing out.

How to insert a sleeve using the flat sleeve insertion method / Step 2 sew sleeve cap basting

If you are using a woven with no stretch (like the Mini Darling Ranges dress), you will need to sew an ease stitch on the shoulder area of the sleeves, otherwise known as the sleeve cap/head. As you are pinning the sleeve to the bodice you will pull the thread to slightly gather the sleeves enough to ensure even distribution. Set your machine to the longest stitch length and sew between the notches on the sleeve head 5/8″ (1.5cm) from the raw edge. For more even gathers you can also sew a second row of stitches at 3/8″ (1cm).

Tip: Identify the center of the sleeve before pinning and sewing it to the bodice. This will help to ensure an even fit between your sleeve and shoulder point. Fold your sleeve in half lengthwise and use a piece of chalk or fabric pen to mark the center point (the folded area) of the sleeve at the shoulder.

How to insert a sleeve using the flat sleeve insertion method / Step 3 align sleeve cap notch with shoulder seam

Match up the edge of your armhole opening and sleeve by opening up your bodice so that the 2 pieces are spread out and the right sides of the fabric pieces are facing up. Then, take 1 of your sleeves and turn it so that the right side of the fabric is facing down towards the bodice. Line up the edges of the shoulder part of your sleeve with the shoulder of your bodice. The shoulder seam should line up with the center marking of the sleeve head.

Note: I took my photo above before sewing my ease stitching ;)

How to insert a sleeve using the flat sleeve insertion method / Step 4 pin sleeve head How to insert a sleeve using the flat sleeve insertion method / Step 4 pin sleeve

Secure the armhole and the sleeves together by pinning. As you are pinning the sleeve to the bodice, pull the thread of your ease stitches to slightly gather the sleeves enough to ensure even distribution. If you are using a fabric with a little bit of stretch, you can just stretch slightly as you pin to ensure even distribution.

How to insert a sleeve using the flat sleeve insertion method / Step 5 sew sleeve to armscyeHow to insert a sleeve using the flat sleeve insertion method / Step 5 sew sleeve to armscye

Stitch the sleeves and bodice together using a straight stitch on your sewing machine. Once you have finished make sure to pull the thread from the ease stitch out. It should come out easily, as you should have stitched it on your longest stitch length.

Finish your raws edges by your preferred method and press your seams towards your sleeve.

How to insert a sleeve using the flat sleeve insertion method / Step 6 sew side seam and sleeve seam in one

After you have attached both sleeves to the bodice, turn your garment inside out (right sides together). Line up the side edges of the body piece and the edges of the sleeves so that they are even. Make sure the underarm seams are neatly aligned. Pin along the sides of the body piece and along the bottom of both of the sleeves to secure them together. Sew a straight stitch along the bottom edges of the sleeves and the sides of the bodice.

Finish your raw edges, then press your seams either open or towards the back of the garment.

How to insert a sleeve using the flat sleeve insertion method / Step 7 turn right side out and press

Turn your bodice right side out and admire your work, because you just sewed a sleeve using the sleeve flat method, and you should be proud! Be sure to make sure there are no basting stitches visible from the right side of your garment.

Here are a few things you need to know about the sleeve flat method:

  1. The sleeve flat method is often used for knit garments, however, it can work for woven fabrics as well. Just create an ease stitch to slightly pull and gather as you pin to ensure an even distribution of the fabric.
  2. Make sure to pin your seams together securely. Having these pins in place will make it easier to keep the fabric lined up as you sew. If the seams are not lined up correctly, it will affect the fit of the garment. 
  3. The sleeve flat method works best for casual garments that have more of a wide flat sleeve cap and aren’t too fitted to the body.

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog post. I hope that you found it helpful and informative. Do you have any feedback or questions? If so, please leave them in the comment section below.


Don’t have the Mini Darling Ranges sewing pattern yet?! Order the pattern today! We absolutely love seeing what you make, so don’t forget to tag your creations with #MNminidarlingranges and @megannielsenpatterns when sharing on social media, and check out what everyone else is up to!

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About Author

Faith is a Jamaican island girl living in Georgia. She's a wife and mom who loves to sew and spends most of her time with her husband, kids, and sewing machine. Faith also has her own blog Faith St Jules where she shows you how to create your own DIY wardrobe! Sewing heals her and keeps her sane in this crazy world.

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Anita
1 year ago

That was a great tutorial, Faith. Thank you for sharing your knowledge.

That's Sew Monica
1 year ago

Great tutorial Faith. Thanks for the tips and sharing.

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