Saturday, December 5, 2015

Arcane Adjustment

Readers, do you ever think about how your elbows might be affecting the fit of your sleeves?  I never did, until a problem I've had for a long time finally led me to look, page by page, through Fitting and Pattern Alteration to find a solution.  And the answer turned out to be that I have Outwardly Rotated Elbows!  Who knew such a thing even existed?!

Here's the problem I've had with long sleeves:  most of the time, the portion of the sleeve from the elbow to the wrist twists towards the back.  I've noticed that it doesn't happen as severely with two-piece sleeves, and on knits it usually doesn't bother me because I often end up pushing those sleeves up.  But on shirts and blouses, it really irks me.  Here are some examples.


The fix is actually easier than figuring out what the problem is.  All you have to do is cut up the entire length of the front and back seam lines, and also make a small clip in the sleeve cap seam line to make a hinge.  Then swing the back seam out by however much you need and fill in the empty space with some extra paper.  Swing the front seam line in so that it overlaps the sleeve by that same amount and attach it.  You may have to trim away some of the sleeve if it extends beyond the seam allowance.  Doing the alteration this way instead of just adding a bit to the back and taking away from the front at the cutting edge ensures that the seam line remains unchanged and everything will match up nicely.  I did a quick little model of the adjustment for you:


I did this alteration on my second Dotty Blouse, and it really made a difference in the fit of the sleeve - it actually hangs straight from my shoulder now!  What a revelation.  Since it was my first time doing this adjustment, I was conservative and only moved my seam lines by 1/2".  But I think I can go up to as much as 3/4" in the future.   It makes such a difference that you can even see it in this picture where my elbow is bent.  No twisting!


Now what I haven't experimented with yet is how this works on a shirt like the Archer, where there are plackets and pleats to deal with.  But I will figure it out, because up to this time I've mostly been wearing my Archers with the sleeves rolled up to the elbows because it bugs me so much how they twist!

And there is a sister adjustment for those of you with Inwardly Rotated Elbows.  If you find that your sleeve twists below the elbow toward the front, just do the opposite of what I described above.

Do any of you have either of these issues with your sleeves?  Have you ever considered the rotation of your elbows?  I was convinced that my sleeve problems were caused by my forward shoulders, but the forward shoulder adjustment, while it improved the set of the sleeves, never completely remedied the situation.  I'm so glad I've finally figured out this piece of the fitting puzzle!

26 comments:

  1. Hey girl, I like how you keep it real recognizing areas of a pattern that bugs and you hunt down a solution to try to get it to your liking.

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    1. No point making something that doesn't fit any better than RTW!

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  2. I have this exact issue and posted about it on Instagram a few months ago when I was working on my Minoru! I thought the same thing about the forward shoulder, and I also thought maybe I had a full bicep causing the issue - like my bicep was yanking the upper fabric to the back, which might cause the twist. When I was trying to figure out this issue, I noticed that I saw the same twist in a lot of sleeves in RTW photos on models, so I decided I wasn't going to worry too much about it, but I'm excited to try out your fix so I can make yet another improvement over the poor fit I get from RTW.

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    1. I guess I missed that during my visiting/being visited spree this fall! But I went back and took a look at your picture, and based on the way your arm is hanging I think this might just work for you! It looks like your palm faces the front of your thigh when your arm is hanging down, rather than the side of your hip - and that is one of the ways to tell if this adjustment is for you. That's how my arms hang too. I'll be interested to see if it works for you!

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  3. Oh, interesting! It always feels great to fix a nagging problem. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Yes, it does! This has bugged me for years! And it makes sleeves uncomfortable on me. It also explains a lot - like why I can't extend my arm straight over my ears in yoga poses!

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  4. OMG Gail, I have that same problem!! I'm going to try out your solution :D thanks!

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    1. Cool! I hope it works as well for you as it did for me!

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  5. Oh wow that's awesome, good on you for figuring it out and fixing it! I don't have that issue but now you've mentioned it I do recall seeing it on others and wondering what the cause was. I can see how it would be a pain to figure out a fix for it, so well done you.

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    1. It took me quite a while to find it in the book. As much as I love that book, I find the organization perplexing. I finally gave up on the table of contents and index and started going through it page by page until I found a problem sleeve that looked like mine!

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  6. Love it!So glad you found sosomething that works for you! :) i have only dipped my toes into sleeves (well, not literally, HAH. Maybe I should say fingers, not toes) so I can't wait to get one that fits me perfectly :)

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    1. Hehehe! One of these days I'm going to do a bodice AND sleeve sloper. But until then, this is a pretty good fix for me!

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  7. How fascinating! Thanks for sharing clever lady!

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  8. Gail, this is fascinating! I'm now staring at my elbows and sleeves and trying to diagnose any issues. Thanks for sharing this very interesting and seemingly neglected alteration. I'm sure it's do-able on the Archer, although the sleeve placket may need to be moved a bit, which is an easy fix.

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    1. Thanks, Carolyn! Yes, I don't think it will be too hard to transfer to the Archer - probably just a matter of putting on one of my shirts and assessing where everything needs to go. And if it doesn't work out on the first try, I can always go back to rolling up those sleeves! I'm pretty used to it!

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  9. This is really interesting - I don't have this problem (at least I don't think I do!) Amazing that there's a way to correct every little anatomical uniqueness.

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    1. I NEVER considered my elbows! And now I'm wondering what other as-yet-unnoticed parts of me are wonky!

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  10. When you mentioned this on IG I knew I had to come see what you meant, because I suspected I might have the same issue. I DO. It's always bugged me and yet it hasn't risen to the top of my figure-it-out priority list. Most definitely trying this adjustment soon. Thank you!!

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    1. It bugs me too! I HATE when I have to keep yanking my clothing back in place. I was so happy when I discovered this adjustment - I mean, who even considers their elbows as a potential fitting area?! Hope it works as well for you!

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  11. You cannot believe how happy finding this blog past has made me!! I have exactly the same problem and thought also it stemmed from my forward thrusting shoulder joint. (I own that book as well and concur over the bizarre organisation. I'm still working through my fitting issues and hadn't found this fix) Thank you so much; I'm looking forward to trying out this solution on my next garment. Kind regards, Susan

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    1. Thank you, Susan! Hope this works for you!

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  12. I frequently see twisted sleeves on knitting patterns - see this one for example:
    http://www.garnstudio.com/pattern.php?id=7529&cid=17

    Is this the same thing, I wonder.

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  13. Just wondering whether anyone has "Fabulous Fit" by Liechty & Rasband. The reason being, I can get a second-hand copy for a lot less than "Fitting and Pattern Alteration", which seems to be more on the textbook model.

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