Saturday, September 7, 2013

Sleeve Cap Ease - What to do!

Ok, I am patiently waiting for my little wheel to come in from the manufacturers. It had some glitches that had to be fixed.  I have been so excited about having something to measure armholes and sleeve heads because frankly I have been skipping that bit of information when I prepare my patterns.  Trying to hold a tape measure on a stitching line or one of those flexible rulers is a pain in the butt. Plus, as you know, I love me some European pattern drafting.  Have you noticed that the big 4 has a lot of sleeve cap ease?   I love knit tops and I'm sorry but you just shouldn't do a bunch of sleeve cap ease with knits.  It is just wrong.

Here are some of the highlights of information that I found in short form:

Zero Ease:
Fashion Incubator: You do not need any ease if you are willing to redraft the sleeve head to be anatomically correct which is "difficult and time-consuming"  Well, I guess I will do some ease then.

1/2 Inch to 1 1/2 Inches:
Madalynn has a lot of nice information on her blog about sleeve ease. I will make her info super short, so you may want to double check her blog.
1 to 1.5 inches of ease for Jackets
1/2"to 3/4" for knits
Less for leather
Silhouettes that need more ease are tailored jackets.
Silhouettes that need less ease are drop shoulder styles.
Very soft fabric may need less ease so it does not pucker.

I'll keep adding to this as I find more information.  Feel free to comment and correct me if you want.
Do you drop the sleeve cap height to remove the ease or do you redraft the sleeve?

Have a lovely weekend!!



  1. I agree! I hate dealing with sleeve cap ease. I solve the problem by cutting a smaller size sleeve. It has worked beautifully making all those Archer shirts. My shirt is cut at a 6 and I cut a size 4 sleeve. It sews in flat, has a closer fit all down the sleeve and I really like the result. I haven't made many other patterns designed for wovens since trying this technique but I will when faced with it. Try this, you might like it!

  2. That is brilliant! I have just been avoiding certain sewing pattern companies because of the huge ease issue. Who really wants to hold a tape measure on it's side to figure this out anyway.


  3. I am with you on the sleeve ease! And thanks for the hints. I seem to run into easing issues more often with tall sleeve heads. Ten+ years ago, I made a full length lined and insulated with flannel, white corduroy coat and had such a hardtime with easing the sleevehead that I finally gave up and tried to create little pleats to take up the ease. It turned out terrible. I finished it to the point of the back kick pleat and the directions made no sense at all and I ended up junking the project. It was a big 4 pattern, I forget which one. The next time I run into that problem I will just cut off the offending portion of the sleeve head!

    1. Oh dang! That sounds like a ton of work for nothing! I am doing a Burdastyle jacket right now that I am cursing the sleeve cap ease. I totally should have measured but I am just lazy that way. I am forcing all that fabric in that little sleeve hole right now and it better behave.


  4. I'm doing a burda jacket too. One sleeve went in fine. The other us an utter nightmare.

  5. Hi Claire,
    I know! I almost trashed my black Burda jacket. The only thing that made me persist was the expensive fabric I used. I think the next time I use a jacket pattern with a lot of ease is to pre-ease the sleeve with a higher differential setting on my serger. I make jackets so infrequently, that I forget such tidbits.