Saturday, March 18, 2017

Armsceye OR A Search for Sleeves That Fit

My enormous arms disturb me.
They probably aren't enormous, but this is how I see them

I do know that different armholes make my view happier or sadder.
And I have spent a lot of time over the last year or so trying to find a better fitting woven top. Most armsceye are too low, which makes everything feel grabby and pinched unless you're working in knits.
And for a gal who adores novelty prints and wants a sleeved shirt, I need to solve this issue.

This post is going to be a little all over the place, but I wanted to give you an idea of the process I've followed.  And it did wander all over the place.

It's a complicated article about sizing and measurement. Most folks get stuck on bad bodice fit and never get past that. There's a lot to ponder in that article, but perhaps it's better taken in small doses and worked on in pieces.

In pacing the contents of my computer, waiting for College Boy to return with my station wagon this evening, I stumbled across the page on Overflowing Stash's blog about this very topic, with a guest appearance by Kenneth King. I love Pia's deep affection for process, and working things out as methodically as possible. I will never, ever get there, because I am too easily distracted by shiny objects or exhausted and just want something done, but in my dreams I am that good.

But hands down, the piece I go to is  on sleeve types on New Vintage Lady. Rather than add width across the bicep and call it done, I want something to offset the rounded effect that provides. She's done the drawings that give you some different ideas to solve for this.  So much goodness in one blog, I tell ya.

It's a glacial editing process. I got the block down for me (the bodice, the derriere, the legs) and then I edited further for taste and framing, and then I injured my shoulder, had to stop working out and gained another ten pounds. 18 months later, I've had to start All Over Again.

I've had some humiliating fails along the way.

I was essentially gifted a scant wide yard of this palm print and I've had to put the resulting jacket aside because it's really tight in the arms and it just makes me cry. 
It's too nice to toss, but at this point I can't quite figure out how to save it.

And I know if I tossed it, I'd figure it out the moment it was gone for good.

The print placement was aces, for once

This is what is left of the very lovely Tokyo Train Ride; the shirt was dubbed Train Wreck and turned into a lining for a purse for someone I rarely see. That helps a little.

This, on the other hand, turned into a couple of decent shirts. Or what was left of the pattern when I was done fiddling with it. The key is not the design of the shirt, it's the relationship between the neck opening, the sleeve height and the armsceye.

Next week I'll show you what I came up with. I used some ideas from here, tossed others, and had to test wear 

College Boy is home for spring break (it's not even Spring, is that right?) so there will be a lot of thrifting and a little Manly Alteration Sewing.

And I need one of these for the wagon


  1. Another large-armed, despairing-of-a-good fit person here. Will follow the links and await your next post....

    1. This is turning out to be a more complicated topic than I'd originally thoughtt. You know, I'd figure it out, get it photographed and BOOM.

      There are so many moving parts! I cannot guarantee useful results, but dang I will try.

  2. I feel your pain [although not with the arms so much as the belly, the everlasting ever growing belly]
    Idea for the cute palm-back jacket- how about some heavyweight ribbed sweater knit for the sleeves? I think it would look really good as a cardi-jacket hybrid [cacket? jardigan?]

    1. I do something for my rear I refer to as the Full Rear Adjustment - really all it is, is a Full Bust Adjustment Upside Down. I snuck one in for my belly in my most recent variation on my jeans pattern (there's a dart in the front in the pocket facing).
      I don't know why the idea of the sweater knit sleeves skeeves me out. Fiber mixing? But....eeeeeewwwwwwwww. I guess I'm a puritan at heart.

  3. Oh and by the way, a bit of psychology- me and the missus have agreed to call our chunkier bits 'power curves'. Try it!

    1. My butt is powerful. Also, to paraphrase Groucho Marx, it sticks out so far, you could play cards on it.
      I think I liked my fat arms better when they were all bicep-ty.

  4. I think low armscyes have been the bane of my existence. Though, i have scrawny little arms. My thirteen year old has bigger arms than me. I'm curious to read more about your journey and what has worked and what hasn't. ๐Ÿ˜„

    1. My work requires me to use my arms. Occaisionally I will have to raise my arms. I'd like my shirt not to rise up so much that people can see my mom jeans. I know your work does the same. I don't know about you and mom jeans though.
      I don't get it at all. Is it unladylike to reach up?
      Don't get me started.......

  5. oh my, this is just what I'm working on now! It's making me believe I never did know how to sew...

    1. It's demoralizing. Pretty much everything I've sewn successfully has been sleeveless. Or pants. Or for someone else. That green fitting top in my photo box over there; I couldn't raise my arms in that, either.
      You know how to sew. Most than that, you know how to put stuff on and strut your stuff. Just sayin'

  6. Thanks for this post - my arms are always too big for a pattern that fits otherwise.
    Love that Palm Fabric! how about making it into a fun vest?

    1. Thanks. The arms! I can't leave them at home when I go out.
      The advantage of the vest idea is that I would be able to use the sleeve material for lapels. I love this fabric and I do love vests. Maybe soon it will be time to change from down vests to prettier ones.

    2. You do rock a vest. Just saying.


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