the Christmas jacket [part 3: seaming sleeves to body]

I’ve only knit three sweaters now in my knitting time (well, the fourth is half finished, still on the needles…).  And, out of those three, two had raglan-style sleeves and only one had set-in sleeves – this Christmas jacket.

As I neared the finish line for knitting, I just had to seam up the sleeves.  I lined up the sleeve cap and the armhole, and was ready to sew according to Nancie Wiseman’s tips in The Knitter’s Book of Finishing Techniques.  She wrote to pick up one full sleeve stitch with the sewing needle and yarn, and one “bar” on the body 3 times; the 4th time, two bars should be picked up on the body.  I started to do this, and quickly realized my sleeve cap was quite small compared to the armhole!

Jacket Armhole

That blue arrow on the left had to match lengths with the blue arrow on the right!  (Of course, I got excited when I was making the sewing work, so I forgot to take a “real” before photo.  The differing lengths were even more noticeable.)

The red arrows weren’t anything to worry about, as that shaping was mirrored on both pieces.  I just had to figure out how to get the sleeve and body matched.

I realized I would have to ease the body to the sleeve.  It took a few tries, but here is what I came up with:

1) Cut a looong piece of yarn.  Start at the top of the cap with half of that yarn, and work down.  (After, work on the other side.)  I got this tip from that book.

2) Go under a full stitch on the sleeve (here the sleeve is on the left, and the body on the right. I am working down.) Note: always pick up a full stitch on the sleeve!

Oh dear, more phone photos...which means bad quality!
Oh dear, more phone photos…which means bad quality!

3) Then pick up 1 bar on the body.

Do you see it..?
Do you see it..?

4) Pick up another full stitch on the sleeve.  Then pick up 2 bars on the body, below the 1st bar.

Sleeve 3
2 bars this time!

5) Pick up another full sleeve stitch, then 3 bars on the body.

It's going to seem like a lot of fabric there!
It’s going to seem like a lot of fabric there!

6) I repeated steps 2 – 5, going out of order if needed (instead of 1, 2, 3 bars, sometimes I did 1, 2, 3, 2, 3).  And, this actually worked!  I thought it would be noticeable that the sleeves were stretched, and that the body was pulled in to meet the sleeves, but the fit is great on my mom!

Ta-daa! A neat seam.

It will be interesting to receive judge feedback when I enter this in the state fair this summer.  As this was my first set-in sleeve project, I don’t know if this is a common issue or not.  (I’m guessing not.)

Hard to see, but there’s that seam again!

Wrong or right, I solved an issue – and luckily it looks decent too.  (And it fits – phew!)

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