Raising the armscye.

30 Jul

Raising the what?  One of those archaic Ye Olde Englishe terms that has remained in sewing circles.  It just means the arm hole.  Wikipeidia  has an interesting explanation and if Wikipedia says it, it must be true!

In ballroom gowns, the sleeves must be shaped much differently from a regular garment because we run around with our arms reaching upward all the time.  If you have ever had a shirt or jacket that lifted up at the bottom every time you moved your arms, you had a too large armscye.

So we have to raise the armscye and flatten the sleeve cap (top of the sleeve) to make it look right while dancing.  Of course this is even more important for the guys, as they have their bulky jackets to deal with.  Thank heaven I do not sew those!  Laura Lagassa has a version of how to do this on her step-by-step gown construction page.  This is the system I have been using, but found I needed to alter each dress on the fly and haven’t been happy with the results 100% of the time.

Yesterday I was searching Pattern Review for some info and found this discussion about how to do this alteration and I really like it.  Here is a link directly to the  directions on how to do it.

I have ended up with a very weirdly shaped sleeve pattern, which I will take a photo of later.

So far I have the dress skirts sewn together, the bodice pattern made and the sleeves adjusted.  Yesterday involved a LOT of basting, checking and ripping out.  So nice to have my cover stitch machine that sews a chain stitch.  Much easier to rip out than zig zags and shows the seam more accurately, too.

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