Over the past few month I have been setting a lot of sleeves on various projects, from Tennant Coats to my Burgundy Tennant Suit. Each sleeve, however, does need to be handled a little differently, as the weight of fabric can effect the finished result.
As usual though, I need to create the roll of the sleeve head, and encourage this to happen by sewing three parallel lines of stitching using an extra strong thread (see right). The ends are tied together and the fabric is then gathered a little like the top of a curtain, but stopping just as small pleats start to form. This give the right amount of ease when the sleeve is set.
To give the sleeve head proper shaping I add a standard suiting shoulder pad on the top-side of the sleeve seam (see below, left) and a minimal amount of sleeve-head padding on the under-side of the sleeve seam (see below, right).
This gives just the right amount of shaping. Below are some images of the sleeve head during it sewing, from the sleeve lightly pinned in place (see below, left) to the sleeve sewn, but not padded (see below, centre) and finally finished with the padding (see below, right).
Now I’ve set the sleeves I can add the buttons on the backs of the cuffs. I waited until the sleeves were on because I want to make sure I get the buttons in just the right place so they are positioned correctly.
I need to space the buttons evenly, so I found the best way to do this was to carefully mark a line on the inside of the sleeve to determine their alignment, then mark their individual positions along the line (see right, top). I then stitch them from behind and they are perfectly spaced.
Lastly, because the buttons are closely spaced and not stress bearing, I use a single thread of cotton daisy-chained between them to save time. A quick knot at the start of each button sewing ensures the tread does not put too tight.
That finishes the sleeves for now (see right, bottom), until they are lined later.
Next will be the outer pockets and the skirt of the coat.