Thank you so much to Mary, Judidarling, Mamafitz, Lisa Laree, Summerset, Shannon and Patsijean for talking back to my confession last week. I asked about the methods that people use to attach sleeves to garments. In particular, I was curious about the differences between addding the sleeve in the "flat" fabric stage (before sewing up any side seams) versus closing up the shirt and sleeve individually first, before inserting the sleeve in the "round".
We got a lovely distribution of responses and - as usual - I learned something completely new!
Four people said that the method they use depends on some aspect of the particular project. Several said that this decision is based mostly on the shallowness versus steepness of the sleeve cap - with shallow capped sleeves assembling nicely flat, and steep capped sleeves assembling best in the round. Summerset called out the type of garment - she generally uses the flat method for knits and men's shirts and the round method for most other garments. (Note that this MAY somewhat correspond to the steepness of the sleeve...) Lisa Laree also mentioned t-shirts as having shallow sleeves that can usually be assembled flat.
At the same time, we had a couple of people who generally use the flat method, even if the round method is called for in the instructions. Shannon feels that she can adjust the gathers more evenly when she is working flat. And Patsijean picked up some pointers on flat sleeve inserting from Peggy Sayer, including placing the sleeve fabric against the feed dogs and letting them help you ease the 2 pieces of fabric together. Patsijean gave this link to an online video that she found really helpful: click here and watch the one on blouse-making.
At the other extreme, Mamafitz strongly prefers the round method of inserting sleeves. She says that her sleeves hang better when she inserts them in the round and that this method allows her to pre-shape the sleeve cap to her preferences before inserting it.
So, it turns out that these (flat and round) aren't the only two options... Both Mary and Judidarling use a combiation method! They start by attaching the sleeve "in the flat" between the notches (over the shoulder, I'm pretty sure). Then they stitch the side seams of the shirt and the sleeve separately. Finally, they connect the rest of the sleeve "in the round." Judidarling says that the side seams lay flatter, she has better access to the areas that need easing, and it's worth the little bit of extra time that it takes.
This sounds very interesting! I'm going to look into it some more and see if I can give it a try...
Thanks again to everyone who took the time to leave a comment with your suggestions and advice! :)
Finally, thank you to all the reassuring comments about my impending mid-life crisis. :)
What I have learned is that (a) women DO have them too, and (b) but ours are much cheaper than mens' - think hair dye and braces versus a sports car and young mistress. ;)
Oh, and also that they are survivable. :)
Photo of sleeves that don't need to be attached: My tattoo designs