Whether you call it an inset sleeve, a set-in sleeve or your-worst-bloody-nightmare, sewing a sleeve into a garment doesn’t have to be hard. Honestly. If you take it step by step you won’t need to pull your hair out or cry or even throw your sewing machine through the window. I promise.
This method of sleeve insertion will come in handy when sewing my Darling Ranges dress pattern, Sudley dress and blouse pattern or Dove blouse pattern. In this method i use a single row of basting stitches, which i sew right on top of when setting the sleeve. Please note that some people prefer to sew two lines of basting stitches, one on either side of the final seam line and still others prefer to skip basting all together, and use strategic pinning to distribute the sleeve cap ease. All of those methods are perfectly valid, and you should choose the one that works best for you.
And if you’re wondering why you need sleeve cap ease at all, the reason is simple: it allows the sleeve to conform to your body better. Most patterns include a lot of sleeve cap ease, anything from 1″ to 2″. To be honest, i think that’s why most people find inserting sleeves challenging and frustrating. Too much sleeve cap ease is a pain to work with and i don’t think there is any benefit in it. For my patterns i prefer to include minimal ease, 1/2″-1″ depending on the pattern. I find it is easier to sew and provides ample room for comfort and movement.
Ok that’s enough technical blah blahing – lets sew some sleeves!