18 January 2012

Macaron Sleeve Setbacks

I have been working on and off with Colette's Macaron pattern for the past two weeks. I am having mixed results. I am going to make it come out wearable, because I love the fabrics I chose, but the sleeves are giving me a serious headache. As usual I can't lift my arms above my bust line, which is telling me that I need to figure out the source of this problem so I can always incorporate the solution into future patterns.
Any advice? Here are my observations on my problem:
1. This is happening when I sew patterns that are a size that otherwise fits me (although I am a petite in RTW).
2. Taking up the shoulders helps but that means redoing the neckline and neck facings and figuring out how to take length out of the sleeve cap.
3. It feels tight right under the armpit when I try to raise my arms.
4. I should probably be doing a FBA since I'm a D cup, but it has never been necessary on sleeveless garments I've made!


  1. I find that a gusset is one of the best ways to increase mobility in the arm area and still keep a fitted line... Gertie just posted a great tutorial about creating a 2-piece gusset- see here:


    This may be the most simple way for you to get a better fit.

  2. I know very little, but I was also wondering about a gusset.

  3. This reminds me of what Sunni talked about fitting bodices to be able to lift her arms: http://www.afashionablestitch.com/2012/sewing/the-quest-for-a-perfect-fit/

    also, I'm a Hartford sewer, so if you'd ever love to grab coffee for a sewing chat let me know! maureen.j.welch @ gmail.com

  4. 1. You should probably be doing an FBA. 2. Counterintuitively, the higher the armhole (the closer it fits at your armpit and around your shoulder) the greater the range of motion. I have sewn for dancers, so I know this to be true. 3. I second the opinion to insert an underarm gusset, as per Feminizzle and Liz, above.

  5. The FBA will help by giving you enough material to move around. It's not as important on a sleeveless garment because more fabric can be pulled forward over the bust without affecting a sleeve. On a sleeved garment, the fabric can be pulled forward to cover the bust, but this drags the armhole forward and "borrows" from the sleeve.

    Also, unless your garment is very loose-fitting, bring up the armhole will increase mobility. The tighter the garment, the higher the armhole needs to be.

    Good luck!


Folks Serv