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Attaching a Set-in-Sleeve


The Set-in-Sleeve is the most commonly used sleeve. Of all the sleeves you can make or add to a garment, this one follows most closely the the natural curves of your body so it is comfortable to wear.  That is, if it is made correctly and attached to the armhole area correctly.

The Set-in-Sleeve is usually made in one or two pieces.  It can be straight, flared, or fitted.  The head or top of the sleeve can be plain, (to lie flat) or gathered, (very common on little girls clothing) or draped. No matter what type of top, dress, or coat you are making, the head (or top) of the sleeve is larger than the armhole of the bodice.  Otherwise the sleeve wouldn't fit over the arm. To put any Set-in-Sleeve in correctly, the sleeve has to be "eased" on the armhole. This is difficult in some cases.  Many a time I have had to take areas out and "ease" that area of the sleeve again to make it fit without puckers as shown in the photo below.

You have to make sure the extra fullness on the sleeve is distributed evenly while avoiding puckers or gathers. 

Set-in-Sleeves need to made first before they are attached to the armhole. Some typed of fitted sleeves may have darts or slight gathering at the elbow.  Everything should be stitched, pressed, and the sleeve seam sewn before attaching it to the armhole.


Two-piece sleeves, which are found mostly on coats and suits are made of two sections that are sewn together, and shaped to produce a fitted sleeve.  They too, should have their seams stitched together, finished, and pressed before the sleeve is set in the armhole.

Let's take a look Step by Step on how to set in the sleeves.

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