Continuing with the "Fitting Dresses" booklet from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Fitting Armhole and Sleeve
Sleeve Puffs up at top. The sleeve-cap fullness may not be evenly distributed. Or, the sleeve cap may be too wide or too high, especially if the shoulder or underarm seams have been taken in.
If the puffiness can not be removed by adjusting the fullness, the sleeve cap is probably too wide. It will need refitting. To do this easily, have someone help you. Put on the dress, insert the shoulder pads if used, and fasten the dress properly. Direct your helper to work from the right side as follows: Clip the basting threads a few at a time at points of puffiness. Turn under the sleeve at these points to take out extra material in the sleeve cap. Put pins at right angles to the seam line. (See Figure 17). Always keep the crosswise and lengthwise grain of the goods in the sleeve cap straight. Adjust the other sleeve if necessary.
Remove the dress, mark or baste the new stitching line, smoothing out any irregular places. A top basting from the right side is one easy way to mark and hold the new seam line. Try on the dress to be sure the fit is correct before you do the final machine stitching on the armhole seam.
When the sleeve cap puffs at the back near the top, the back curve of the sleeve cap is too high; when it puffs in the front, the front curve is too high. To remove the fullness, take a deeper seam on the sleeve at this point but leave the armhole seam as it is on the blouse.
Sleeve too loose. If the sleeve is only slightly large, take in the underarm seam, sloping it from the armhole. Baste and fit.
If the top of the sleeve is much too large, it may need recutting. Rip the sleeve out, and make it smaller by taking lengthwise folds on either side of the top of the sleeve. Cut a pattern like the altered sleeve, reshaping the cap. Smooth out dress sleeve. Then recut the entire sleeve, using the altered pattern. If the sleeve is too large all the way down, the out the fullness the full length of the sleeve.
Diagonal wrinkles from the top of sleeve to underarm. The lower (or edge of the sleeve sticks out (See Figure 18 A). The crosswise grain of the goods is pulled up in the top of the sleeve cap. This happens when a woman has very square shoulders or large muscles on the top of her arm or if the sleeve cap is too short.
If the sleeve cap is only a little short and there is a generous seam allowance, rip out upper half of armhole seam and drop sleeve until the crosswise grain of goods is straight at armhole level (Figure 18, B).
If this cannot be done, rip the armhole seam except for an inch or two at the top. Put on the dress. Then, while standing before a mirror (or pretty still, with the help of someone else), lift the under parts of the sleeve up in the armhole until the crosswise grain of the goods lies straight across the upper arm. Pin in place to hold until the dress is removed. Ease sleeve into lower half of armhole, pin, and baste in place (later reference).
The lower half of the sleeve will extend above the lower edge of the armhole (Figure 18, C). Try on the dress again to check fit before cutting away the extra material on the sleeve.
Sleeve draws across the arm near armpit level. Wrinkles across the sleeve cap extend in from the armhole on a level with the chest.
The sleeve cap is too narrow or a wider armhole seam may have been taken than was allowed by the pattern. The upper arm may be too large for the sleeve, causing it to be too tight and to draw up, forming wrinkles in the sleeve cap. The armhole may be too high. In that case there will also be crosswise wrinkles on the blouse at the bottom of the armhole.
Use one of the following changes if the sleeve is too small:
1. If the seams are wide enough, let out the sleeve and waist seams on each side of the armhole.
2. If the sleeve is long enough, raise it and recut the top, adding extra width at each side of the sleeve cap. Refit the sleeve in the armhole. Mark a new bottom line. It may be necessary to face the lower edge of the sleeve.
3. Release the underarm seam of the sleeve until it feels comfortable. Ease in the extra fullness around the top or, on a large arm, ease in a little fullness in the sleeve at the underarm side.
4. If the underarm sleeve seam is too narrow to be let out, set a gusset in the underarm seam of the waist at the armpit line and also set a similar piece in the sleeve (Figure 19).
5. If the sleeve armhole is too high, trim out the underarm of both the blouse and the sleeve. Be very careful not to cut the armhole too low and leave a good seam allowance.
(to be continued)