Just as anticipated, the answer to the sleeve dilemma appeared when I least expected it…in the form of a petite white-haired woman who walked into the store.
We chatted for awhile, and I invited her to join some other customers in having a little cookie treat in the back classroom. I sat down with a cookie myself, and almost thinking aloud, I mentioned the “speed bump” I had run into using vinyl-covered fabric. It’s actually a dream to work with. It sews and folds and presses just fine (with a pressing cloth). But vinyl-covered fabric doesn’t have a lot of “give”.
When setting the sleeves on the muslin and on the lining, I had no trouble because I could ease the fabric. Not so with this. So I ended up with two sleeves that appeared to be too big for the armhole.
The petite woman looked at me. “Why don’t you undo the sleeve seam and the side seam, attach the sleeve, and then sew up the sleeve seam and down the side?”
I looked at her, disassembling and reassembling the coat in my mind. It was an obvious solution – and I never would have thought of it. “That just might work…” I said slowly.
“Mmm-Hmmm,” she said, taking another bite of cookie. “I used to do a lot of garment sewing, and you know, you can forget about pattern instructions.” She waved her hand dismissively, with a twinkle in her eye.
The next day I went back to work on the project, and tried what she suggested. Voila! Two (almost) perfectly set sleeves.
And a special shout out to all the women who help other women every day. You make the rockin’ world go ’round!