Continuing with the "Fitting Dresses" booklet from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Fitting Armhole and Sleeve
Well-shaped armhole. When a dress is worn, the seam of a good armhole forms a smooth curve up and over the top of the shoulder bone and makes a straight line, back and front, down to the muscles joining the arm to the body. From there, it curves again under the arm, fitting as closely as is comfortable. If the armhole is not shaped correctly, the sleeve may pull and bind at the seams, and the neck line may be drawn away from the sides of the neck. In addition, the front and back of the blouse may draw or wrinkle at the front or back armhole line.
Well-fitting sleeves. If the sleeves are not properly set into the armhole and carefully fitted, the entire dress is spoiled. So give special attention to this part of fitting dresses and blouses (figure 15). Properly fitted, the sleeve appears to be smoothly set into the armhole rather than the armhole into the sleeve. The armhole does not draw or pull the blouse.
Figure 15 shows a well-fitting sleeve. The sleeve hangs straight down from the high point of the shoulder when the arm hangs naturally at the side. Lengthwise yarns run straight down from the top of the shoulder to elbow, Crosswise yarns of the sleeve cap are parallel to the floor at armpit level. The
inside seam is in line with the thumb.
A long sleeve should come well down over the wristbone when the arm hangs at the side. A good test for both length and roominess in a long sleeve is to bend the arm until the fingertips touch the ears. The sleeve should not draw or pull when the arms are in this position.
Putting in the sleeve. The fit of the sleeve often depends upon how it is pinned and basted in the armhole. First see that the armhole line is good. See that all seams entering the armhole are finished and pressed. Make sure that the sleeves are cut as mates and marked. Run two gathering threads over the top of the sleeve between the notches -- one, the seam's depth from the cut edge, the other about 1/4 inch out from this and in the seam allowance (figure 16, A).
Work from the inside of the dress with the sleeve right side out and the blouse wrong side out. Pin the right sleeve into the right armhole, matching notches, and the highest point of the sleeve with the shoulder seam. Also match the lowest seam of the sleeve with the lowest part of the armhole. With the sleeve toward you, place pins in the seam line at right angles to the edge, first at the top and bottom, and then at the side notches (figure 16, B).
Smooth the lower half of the sleeve cap into the armhole with little or no fullness. Hold in place with a few pins. A very plump arm may need more ease than a slim one. A plain sleeve top will have about 2 inches of extra fullness to be eased into the loop. Draw up and fasten gathering threads. Avoid drawing them too tight. Keep the sleeve fairly smooth over the top to the point where both the armhole and the sleeve begin to curve down. From there, ease the extra fullness into the armhole evenly with no pleats or folds on the stitching line. Pin to hold fulness in place. If the shoulder seam slants decidely to the back, the top of the sleeve will have to be placed slightly to the front of it.
Pin and baste on the seam line, working from the sleeve side. Use small bastings, particularly where the fullness is eased. Pin and baste the other sleeve into the armhole. Remove the pins and try on the blouse before stitching with the machine.
(to be continued)