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preferred method for armscye seam?

stitching seams felling shirts

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#1 mhoyle

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Posted 16 July 2019 - 06:22 AM

Hi, 

I've been sewing shirts for little over a year now and have tried various methods for the armscye seam that I've come across. But I've always wondered if there is a "preferred" method. And of course I know that I should use whatever suits me best, but I guess you guys have opinions on this too, so I'm curious.

 

In my japanese shirtmaking book by Shimazaki he has me iron over a seam on the sleeve, then slide under the fabric of the body, after which you can fold it over and topstitch to finish.

 

When I look at this Bengali tailor he folds over the sleeve and stitches is, after which he stitches the body next to it before folding it over and topstitching: https://www.youtube....h?v=FTwcHfy8Ghk

 

I have also seen sleeve and body overlocked together, folded over and topstitched.

 

I usually first stitch my body onto my sleeve, 1 cm away from the edge, then iron over the edge of the sleeve and then topstitching it.

 

 

I hope I made some sense. Am I overthinking this, or is there really a preferred method and finishing?

 

 

 

 


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#2 Claire Shaeffer

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Posted 16 July 2019 - 07:55 AM

Overlocking is a cheap finish. The flat fell seam should be topstitched on the shirt not the sleeve; yes, with the edge turned under.

 

There are a variety of techniques. This is termed "single-needle tailoring."  


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#3 Newbie

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Posted 17 July 2019 - 07:01 PM

I generally fold over a 1cm seam on the sleevehead and baste it by hand, just in case, than set it in by hand, sew over it and finish the topstiching by hand as well. The topstitiching by hand looks really good imo but I just use felling stitches as seen on most italian shirts. I wonder if there is another technique with a more durable hand stitching altough I haven't faced any problems with the seam so far.

 

I've tried the technique shown in the video as well, but the stitching of the fold on the sleeve will be visible on the inside.


Edited by Newbie, 17 July 2019 - 07:04 PM.

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#4 Dunc

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Posted 18 July 2019 - 01:11 AM

Well, everybody has their own "preferred" method, but I'm not sure you could say that one is definitively better than another... It depends on what your priorities are. Are you just interested in getting the best possible result, or do you also care about how long it takes?

 

I've mostly done as you describe - sew the body to the sleeve with a 1cm offset, then fold and top-stitch. There are a number of variations - you can iron, you can glue, or you can hand baste. I think hand basting gives the best result, but it takes the longest, especially if you baste twice (once for the initial fold-over of the cap edge, and then again to baste it to the body). Even so, I still struggle to get a keep a really consistent width to the finished seam...

 

The technique in the linked video, where you fold over the edge of the sleeve cap and sew it in place, then use the edge as a guide for sewing the body, is also recommended by Mike Maldonado in his course. I've tried it a couple of times, and it does seem better - it's easier to get a consistent offset, and it's much easier to fold the seam over. I've struggled a bit with getting a smooth finish, but that's probably because I've not done it enough to get really good at it yet. I also find that it results in a wider seam than I normally like... And yes, it does result in an extra row of stitching on the inside, but does that matter?

 

Funnily enough, I've just today received a "single needle sleeve attachment" of the sort used in commercial production, which I'll be experimenting with... It's actually two attachments (plus a couple of presser feet, a needle plate, and a feed dog - although I'm not sure how necessary these other parts are): one attachment is basically two guides stacked one on top of the other, which helps you with the offset between the edge of the sleeve cap and the edge of the body, and the other is a folder attachment which turns the edge under as you do the top-stitching from the outside. The two operations are shown here:

 

First operation

 

Second operation

(It's very difficult to see what's happening here, as the magic is all on the underside.)

 

The pattern also going to make a difference - tighter curves are always more difficult. I do notice that these two videos show a very shallow sleeve cap... It'll be interesting to see how well it works with a more curved cap. Of course, this type of attachment is only an option if you have a machine with the necessary attachment fixing point.


Edited by Dunc, 18 July 2019 - 01:19 AM.


#5 Dunc

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Posted 18 July 2019 - 01:24 AM

I should possibly also mention that Maldonado prefers to close the body and sleeve separately and then set the sleeve into the body, which probably influences his choice of technique... I'm still undecided about that.


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#6 Schneiderfrei

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Posted 18 July 2019 - 12:17 PM

Dunc, to me that method seems a pain.  The only rationale being that if you practice difficult things you could gain in skill.


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#7 greger

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Posted 18 July 2019 - 01:46 PM

Do any of you fold the edge over and press, then baste into place and sew for finish?
If you take the time to figure the scye and sleeve shape during the fitting (adjust the pattern according),then sew the body and sleeve together, next sew the side seam and sleeve length in one go, believe this is going to be much faster method. The plan here is to spend time making a good pattern, so there after, speed is in the making.
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#8 greger

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Posted 18 July 2019 - 01:50 PM

This flat method is fold and press the fold of both the body and sleeve. Baste the two together and sew twice. This is for the crown

Edited by greger, 18 July 2019 - 01:50 PM.


#9 Dunc

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Posted 18 July 2019 - 06:47 PM

Dunc, to me that method seems a pain.  The only rationale being that if you practice difficult things you could gain in skill.

 

Which bit - folding a sewing the edge of the sleeve cap, or setting the sleeve in after closing the body and sleeve? I'm guessing the latter... It's actually not as hard as it sounds. Maldonado's rationale is that he prefers to switch between pieces as little as possible, so he does all the work on the bodice, including side seams and hem, before moving on to the sleeves. He's very much oriented to optimising speed of production, so this method must work well for him.


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#10 Dunc

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Posted 18 July 2019 - 06:55 PM

Do any of you fold the edge over and press, then baste into place and sew for finish?
If you take the time to figure the scye and sleeve shape during the fitting (adjust the pattern according),then sew the body and sleeve together, next sew the side seam and sleeve length in one go, believe this is going to be much faster method. The plan here is to spend time making a good pattern, so there after, speed is in the making.

 

I aim to do as little pressing or basting as possible, so for flat assembly, I'd fold the edge of the sleeve cap over by hand while sewing it down, then use the raw edge as a guide when sewing the body to the sleeve, then top-stitch. Then move on to closing the side seams... The extra operation of folding and sewing the edge of the sleeve cap doesn't take very long at all, and allows you to do the final top stitching without having to press or baste anything, so it saves time in the end - you can do the whole lot at the machine.



#11 Dunc

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Posted 19 July 2019 - 05:25 AM

I've now spent a couple of hours playing around with the sleeve attachment, and I'm sold. Like all these things it clearly takes a bit of practice, but I'm already producing shoulder seams that are better than I've ever done before, and I'm doing it quicker and more easily too. With a bit more practice I can see this being a real game-changer.

Unfortunately the extra-wide feed dog that comes with it doesn't quite fit my machine properly (it's not a real industrial machine, just "professional"), but I may be able to make it with a shim of some kind. It's clearly not absolutely necessary, but the standard feed dog does seem to be struggling to feed evenly... Having said that, changing feed dogs is possibly more hassle than it's worth anyway, and I certainly don't have the space for a dedicated machine.





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