Sleeve Drag Line

This is bugging me


The sleeve drag line between shoulder and elbow. In case you can’t see it, I’ve added dashed lines along side each of the examples.

I checked my files and found this is not new. It appears time after time. Garment after garment. I’m just now noticing it. Which makes me think, I’m getting pickier and pickier about fit.  The twist will diminish according to posture and fabric.  It also gets worse. But is always there.

The last sleeve

I rotated the sleeve cap back as all the advice I could read recommended. That made the drag line worse. So I rotated forward. Incredibly this was even worse. Setting the sleeve in according to notch marks gave me the best results.  I thought it unlikely that I had cut off-grain all the sleeves I’ve sewn in the past 2 years but I had the fabric and carefully recut the sleeves. That’s (above) the best that it gets.

Linda suggested it might be sleeve cap height. Then I found a Shirley Adams Youtube clip in which she clearly shows that pressing down on the shoulder eliminated these drag lines. So I decided to give that a try.

Still using PP104 but I traced the higher sleeve cap.  My supply of ITY’s is low and besides I’m tired of just sewin’ a T-shirt.  I chose a cotton/lycra/??? blend. It’s soft and cushy and has 25% stretch.  I wanted to make an interesting neckline and stitched out this FSL Cravet

Purchased from Secretsof sometime ago, it was too large for my PE770 hoop.  I trimmed some of the furthest corners and stitched in my hoop.  I never trust true FSL. Not since my disaster with Marie’s Angel. So I hooped WSS, then tulle and a WSS topper. I used white for the base and must confess that this design probably would have worked as true FSL. Thing is, so many things can go wrong with FSL and you end up with a disaster. So I won’t dissuade you from stitching FSL, but I’m glad I slipped in that tulle. I did one goof. After stitching both colors, I removed from the hoop and trimmed the excess stabilizer (and tulle).  I should have soaked it and allowed it to dry. Instead I grabbed my wood burning tool and burned away the excess tulle. Unfortunately, the WSS burned too.  My FSL looks a little grungy and will need washing before I wear my garment the first time.

I made a mistake with my neckline finish too. A happy mistake. I knew I wanted to applique the cravet to the neck; trim excess garment fabric into a shapely neckline. Wrap the neckline edge like piping. I cut my binding narrower than usual. It was not narrow enough. Oh it wrapped beautifully, but then rolled up and to the outside. I made a 2nd line of stitching about 3/4″ away from the first and then trimmed the excess. This is a beautiful neckline finish.

Neckline Back
Neckline Front

Must remember to do again.

I hemmed the sleeves using the cover stitch and then I finished stitching the garment together.

Et Voila

This sleeve is no better than the previous.   If anything it is worse as I now have an abundance of horizontal wrinkles below the elbow.  Want to see the whole garment?

It’s the top I posted when I finished the last Tj906 pants. Absolutely love the color. The fabric feels nice. Offhand though I wouldn’t say this was a great fitting top. Which perplexes me. I faithfully copied all the tweaks from previous garments. Even using the IMO ridiculous 1/4″ deep bust dart. I do get to the point of just say F-it. But I have another question. Could the drag line really be a twist at the elbow?  I notice my  loose sleeves seeming to just wrap around and around. Could the sleeve be too long between shoulder and elbow?  Did I add too much ease?  Could the armscye be too long?   Is this just what soft fabrics do?


**Just a note:  I’m using 1/4″ foam shoulder pads attached on the armscye seam and at the neck edge.  If I don’t the shoulder collapses into a mass of upper sleeve wrinkles. With drag line is actually better than the default no-shoulder pad version (on me).  I use shoulder pads because I have narrow shoulders and my back is rounding due to age and lifelong activities. Shoulder pads help me look a little more normal and less hunched. Definitely make my tops look and fit better.  I also think they make me look a little more youthful.  But I am wondering about the choice of foam pad and garment attachment points.


5 thoughts on “Sleeve Drag Line

  1. Have you tried LC’s method – Taking the SA from the front – add to the back – take the same amount off the front piece of the sleeve and add to the back – it’s in #3 DVD this rotates everything. AND – I know I sound like a broken record but you do need to do something about a FBA. HTH


  2. I wonder if this is an Outward Rotation Of Elbow. Description: long sleeve twists from cap line to wrist and the seam aligns with the forefinger rather than wrist centre. #49 in Liechty’s Fitting and Pattern Alteration 2nd Ed.


    1. Hmm my wrinkle is from shoulder point to inside elbow. It seems like before knits, we always had a dart at the elbow which took care of all kinds of elbow related issues. The only indication FFRP gives, is that this might be a drape line. I don’t like my sleeves tight and have added 1″ ease to this pattern.


  3. Oh, that twisted sleeve wrinkle. It drives me crazy! I did have some success recently by measuring the pattern sleeve cap and measuring my arm from shoulder to the bottom of the armhole. The pattern was an inch shorter than my upper arm. I lengthened the sleeve cap and it made a big difference. It was from Joi Mahon’s Craftsy class. Phylly


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