Perfectly Positioned Sleeve Seams

I am often asked:  How do I adjust the shoulder seam on my sleeves for my narrow shoulders?  I’ve written a little picture tutorial to help.  Shoot me an email if you need more help.  Since the COVID-19 mess I’ve begun long-distance teaching.  I don’t want to call it virtual because it’s still teaching and you are learning with real feedback, and because everyone else is calling it virtual and I’m sick of the word.  So there.  Let’s set in that perfect sleeve with the seams sitting right at the position where YOU want them.  

  • Ease your sleeve cap on the seam line. Sew a line of stitching right on your seamline using a 2.5mm stitch length holding your pinky finger behind the pressure foot to gently ease the sleeve cap. The fabric will squinch ™ up behind your finger, easing the cap perfectly.
  • Pin BOTH sleeves into the armholes, right sides together, with pins inline with the seam.
  • Try on the shirt and see where the seam falls on your body.  Does it need to be moved in or out?  Mark on your bodice at the shoulder where you want the new seam with a pin.

~If no changes are needed, baste this sleeves with a long stitch.  Try on again.  Sew sleeves. 

~If the seam needs to move out, toward the arm (broad shoulders): sew your sleeve with a shallower seam in the bodice only.

~ If you need to move the seam in, toward the neck (narrower shoulders):

  • Unpin the sleeves and lay bodice flat.  Keep the pin marking the new seam.
  • Measure a seam allowance distance away from the pin toward the raw edge of armhole.
  • Draw a line to trim away a bit of the armhole to move the seam.  Trim away fabric on your line.
  • Be sure to re-mark and snip your front and back notches.
  • Baste in your sleeve.
  • Try on again to make sure you love it.
  • Sew in your sleeve.
  • Complete shirt and wear it while indulging in what ever celebratory activity you find appropriate.  YOU DID IT!  Whoo-hoo!