Robson Sleeve Issues

Enlargening sleeve head. Click to see original instructions.

Your sewing girl Lyric needs help.  I am having issues with the sleeves of my beautiful Robson coat.  This is one of the few projects I am proud of (so far) and I do not want to mess it up at this late point in the game.  The sew-a-long instructed to make the head of the sleeve (see above) larger to have room to move.  Click the photo if you would like to go to the original instructions.

Now my sleeve is not fitting into the armscyce according to the pattern envelope.

View looking down at the shoulder area

The round part of the sleeve head is not sitting at the shoulder seam (see the epaulette)?  I placed a pink pin at the highest area of the sleeve as a guide.

Back of sleeve

The seam of the sleeve should be BELOW the back flap.  Mine is sitting way up BESIDE the back flap.  When I rotated the sleeve to make it hit elsewhere the crown of the sleeve head then does not sit properly (see photo above.)

Pink pin at center of the sleeve head for reference

See here how the back sleeve seam is at the point of the back flap?  That was another attempt at rotating the sleeve to get it to hit correctly.  It seams to me when I altered the size of the sleeve head (per the instructions of the sew-a-long) that would also alter where my sleeve seams hit.  I am so NOT good at altering patterns but I must rise to the occasion.


This was another attempt at placing the sleeve inside the hole another way.  Again, the pin (center of the sleeve head) is behind the shoulder seam.

My dear sewing sisters I am on the verge of a panic.  I am not sure if I have enough of the main fabric to cut out more sleeves (I do have enough interlining fabric though).  Is there a save to this problem? Is this a matter of putting my sleeve pieces back to the original form and cutting out two new sleeves and interlinings and keep it moving?  Oh, and another thing, I am worried about the sleeve gathering.  This is a cotton twill and it did not gather too well.  I am sure this sleeve is not going to set into the hole without gathering showing.  I am supposed to simply “ease” the sleeve, but now way with this heavy fabric.  Maybe altering the size of the sleeve head is also contributing to that problem.  ??

Though this is a wearable muslin project I still do not want to junk it.  I could be on the verge of tears.  Hellllppp!

Later that day . . . .

You know the saying, “It’s know what you know but whom you know”?  Well, it proved true for me today.  First of all, thank you lovely sewists, Oddlyended and SewBusted for coming to this girl’s rescue.  Before I left the library earlier, get this, one of the original testers for this pattern came to the rescue.  Angie is the business.  She commented that since I made the sleeve head larger that I also needed to increase the space of the armscyce.  Makes sense, right?  As it turns out I had inquired about that very thing over at the sew-a-long and was advised that the pattern needed more room and there was no need to change the arm area.

Angie’s suggestion was that if I did not need the extra room to cut away the top of the sleeve where all the action was going on and reset the sleeve.  VOILA!!  It worked.  She suggested I fiddle with it with pins and basting before sewing it in and it all worked out fine.  SewBusted also has some suggestions which will be cool to know for future reference.  I am thinking that perhaps my body doesn’t need the extra room (which is weird ’cause I’m a big person).

Oddly, you were right.  I re-basted with double strand red thread and that did the trick.  Yuk, yuk; yippeeee!

Now on to sewing on my beautiful Vancouver originated buttons and the button holes.  I am looking at By Gum By Golly’s hand worked button tutorial.  It’s nice.

No Longer Worried ’cause my girls came to the rescue,


5 thoughts on “Robson Sleeve Issues

  1. Oh dear, sleeves. I don’t have time for a long reply, as I must brave the deep freeze to purchase groceries. First off, walk away from the coat until you’ve vented some frustration elsewhere. I can’t fix anything when I’m made at it.

    It’s been awhile since I’ve sewn, but here are a few questions based on my past, ahem, “learning experiences.” It’s a two-part sleeve, so have you sewn the correct two parts together? So the left sleeve is made up of only the two left sleeve parts, and you haven’t accidentally swapped one? And you are sewing the correct sleeve into the correct armhole? (Don’t ask, just, don’t ask.) And nothing appears to be inside out from the picture (again, don’t ask), so that shouldn’t be it (might double check anyways–it never hurts).

    Regarding the gathering, you may want to rebaste the sleeve with a heavier thread to match the heavier fabric. I thought I read in an earlier post that you were handbasting, so it should be easier to redo. The thinner sewing thread can slip when gathering a heavier fabric, and it is going to be more of a bear to gather the twill anyway. But a slightly heavier thread may give you a bit more oomph when gathering the fabric. Take it nice and slow when you do sew the sleeve in–give yourself time to watch for accidental “gathers.”

    Good luck–I’ll check in later because hopefully someone else will have an actual answer.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Jilly,

      Phew, it all worked out. The sleeves are in their place and quite happy, LOL. I’ve got pics of the coat but am hoping to wear it tomorrow (it’s chilly here) and get pics with me in it. Oh, but wait, I have not done the buttonholes and may eliminate them. Haven’t decided. Either way, I am hoping to get pics wearing it.




  2. Pingback: Robson Coat Sew-A-Long | Sew Lyrically Vintage

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