How to Sew Sleeves in Flat
We have covered sewing set in sleeves the conventional way, explained here. Now we're going to learn a different
technique for sewing in sleeves, which is sewing them in flat. Only the bodice shoulder seams are sewn; the bodice
side seams are left open.
Sew the bodice shoulder seams. Then ease the sleeve caps, making sure to leave long thread tails. Most patterns will
instruct you to stitch at 5/8 inch and 1/2 inch, but those threads tend to show, although easily pulled out, if necessary.
I use a long stitch length (about a 5) and stitch at 3/8 inch and then in between the first row of stitching and the top of
the sleeve. This prevents these threads from sewing on the completed garment.
Once you have eased the sleeve cap, pin it to the bodice, right sides together. Most patterns have a dot at the top of
the sleeve cap pattern piece. This is designed to be placed right on the shoulder seam. Distribute the ease so that the
sleeve fits. Sew the sleeve to the bodice.
Sleeve cap eased
Sleeve pinned to
Sewing the sleeve to
Once the sleeve has been sewn to the bodice, press it well.( It helps to have a tailor's ham for this task.)
Press the seam toward the sleeve. The sleeve cap should be smooth with no puckers or wrinkles.
Sleeve sewn to bodice