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!