One of the great things about our Sew-Along Facebook Group is that we are able to hear your questions about the pattern. We noticed that many of you wanted to adjust the dropped shoulder that we have designed into the Zayn, and were unsure of how to go about it. So before we attach the sleeve, we are going to share with you our technique for armscye adjustment to use on your next Zayn – or any other pattern! Then we will go through the process of actually attaching the sleeve and you will have a finished top. So let's get started!
Before you make any adjustments to your pattern, you will start by measuring your shoulders to determine the correct length of your shoulder and adjust the pattern, making it narrower or wider, as necessary.
Measure the shoulder length from the neck base to the shoulder rejoin. Find the neck base by wearing a simple chain necklace or bending your neck toward the shoulder to locate the crease. To locate the shoulder joint, raise the arm and feel the indentation at the socket.
Now, measure your pattern. Using a red marking pen, make a dot at the ends of the actual stitching line on the shoulder seam of your size. Then, measure the width of the shoulder seam on the pattern between the stitching lines (the finished length.) The shoulder shown below measures 5 1/2 inches finished for a size small.
Now, compare your shoulder length with the pattern measurement to determine how much to adjust the pattern. For example, if your shoulder length is 5 inches and the pattern is 5 1/2 inches, then you would want to reduce the shoulder seam length 1/2 inch.
To begin the adjustment, start by tracing the armscye. Use pattern tracing paper to track and record the original armscye shape on both the front and the back.
Now, mark the new end point for the shoulder width. Then lay the tracing under the pattern, matching the top of the traced armscye with the new shoulder point. Pivot the paper until the bottom armscye point is in line with the side seam. Tape the tracing in place and trace the original armscye shape to the pattern. Repeat for the back piece.
Again, this isn't an adjustment that everyone has to make. We like the dropped shoulder look of the Zayn, but if that isn't a look that you want in your top, use this method to narrow the shoulders. The instructions for adjusting shoulders, as well as additional sleeve alterations and fitting tips comes from our Sew Confident! Anatomy of a Sleeve tutorial. If you want to know more about inserting sleeves, get the tutorial here. Now let's attach the sleeve!
Step 25: Finish the Sleeve hem edge. Press the sleeve hem 1-inch to the wrong side.
Step 26: Stitch a long machine basting stitch between notches on the sleeve. In theory, the stitching should be just inside the seamline, but we suggest sewing it exactly on the seamline.
It is important to give the sleeve some shape before beginning to pin it into the armscye. Hold onto the bobbin thread of the easestitching and begin to draw up the sleeve cap, making sure to even out the ease with no puckers. Hang the sleeve on the narrow end of a ham, aligning the sleeve seamline on the seam of the ham. Steam the seam allowance and hand press to remove as much of the rippled seam allowance as possible.
Step 27: With right sides together, sew Sleeve seam. Finish and press towards back.
Topstitch the hem.
Place sleeve and garment right sides together. To start pinning in place, match the sleeve seam to the side seam of the garment, or the match point and pin. Then, match the top of the sleeve to the shoulder seam and pin.
Starting at the top of the sleeve (at the dot) and working on the sleeve side, place your finger under the fabric about 5/8 inch to one side of the top pin. Roll the seam allowance over your finger and place a pin through both layers of fabric, straddling the stitching line. Continue down one side of the sleeve to the side seam, pinning about every 5/8 inch. Start at the top again and pin the remaining side.
Working on the inside of the sleeve and beginning at one notch, machine stitch the sleeve just to the left of the original basting stitch.
Now, position the sleeve opening so you are sewing on the sleeve side and the opening forms a tube. Serge the seam together, or, if you don't have a serger, pink the edges so they won't unravel.
We don't recommend ironing the the sleeve after it's sewn in place. Instead, working with a press mitt or ham, hold the iron near the sleeve seam and steam the area. Use your hand to press the sleeve along the cap area from notch to notch.