Monday, May 16, 2011

A Set IN Sleeve Method That Really Works

Years ago, I watched Sew Perfect with Sandra Betzina faithfully and I learned so much that helped me to sew more professionally. I taped many segments and still watch them on occasion.

One of the things I learned is that when sewing a set-in sleeve, it helps to put the sleeve down against the feed-dogs because they eat up the extra length for you. I used that method and still do with great success but one time Margaret Islander was a guest on Sew Perfect and this is what she did.I'm explaining it as I remember i tand hope I'm not misquoting her

1.Run a line of moderately longer stitches all the way around the sleeve at exactly 5/8".

2. Pull the thread as usual to distribute the fullness but distribute it all the way around and not just between the front and back notches.

3. Work the gathers with your fingers so they don't form any pleats or puckers.Take your time with this step as it will be worth it in the end.

4. Pin the sleeve to the armhole at the center top and under the arm. Those are the only two points that really need to be exact. Perfect the distribution of fullness if needed.

5. Sew as usual but on exactly the line of basting.

If you've made sure to smooth out all puckers in advance your sleeve should turn out perfectly set and pucker free!

I used this method on this jacket for my grand-daughter because the sleeves had too much ease and it really helped. I blessed Margaret Islander for showing this wonderful way of solving the set-in sleeve issue.

Now go ahead and give it a try. You'll be glad you did!


  1. Beautiful jacket and thanks for the set-in sleeve tip.

  2. Nice jacket. Thanks for sharing this tip, we all need it at one time or another.


  3. So only one line of easing? Must give this a try.

  4. Thanks for the explanation. I've been watching the Peggy Sagers web videos. She also instructs to sew with the sleeve against the feed dogs. I finally tried it with my last sleeve and it worked well. I will remember the islander tip and try that also on sleeves with lots of east built in. Oh, and Peggy uses 3/8" seams which seem to help also in her process. thanks again for this tip! The jacket is wonderful!

  5. I have started sewing again after a few years, and am making not one but two lined coats. I have to refresh my memory for everything now but this wonderful information about setting a sleeve in to fit is the MOST WONDERFUL bit of sewing information - it WORKS and both my coats look fantastic...any sewer will know that the first thing you notice about a coat is how well the sleeves sit....I used to spend ages repositioning the sleeves...Thank you so much!

  6. Yes. In our sample room, we do the same way. Sleeves can never go wrong all around armholes when doing it this way. Thanks for sharing

  7. Doing nutcracker party dresses. Thanksđź’“