I am known for the statement, frequently made: 'Yes, I sew, but I do not alter. I would much rather sew a new thing rather than repair. It is much harder to alter than begin at the start.'
For years, this caveat to my sewing skill got me by. But strangely, in my 'vast' sewing experience, I find the challenge of the repair becoming a bit more palatable. Perhaps it is the patience thing; aged along with me, that finds me a bit more fearless to dig into some other person's creation to make it more suitable for the wearer. It is a fearful thing to cut into material not put together by me. It is scary to risk not being able to make it work, and I suppose why I have avoided it this long.
But then the 2G's papa called me yesterday with an urgent Sewing Need for the Good of the Community. Being the good citizen I am and being quite attached to the 2G's and their parental units, well, I had to dig deep to agree to take care of his Civil Servants Clothing Need. Would you want your police officer to show up with too long and too wide sleeves? Of course you wouldn't. Perhaps his concern with his sleeve length could distract him from spelling your name right on your ticket? Maybe he'll miss a detail on the hit and run driver in the parking lot. Lots of things could go awry if the uniform is just not right. And besides, the 2G's papa makes the best, most lovely cakes of all time and I might need a birthday favor called in sometime...See, a bit of mercenary in all of us.....
You must forgive my lack of step by step photos on this instruction. The dark blue/black of the material coupled with the softer light in my studio, kept me from getting the clearest photos of the stitching and cutting involved in the process last night.
One Way to Shorten Sleeves:
1. Pray. Seriously. I told you it was scary.
2. Carefully remove the arm hole stitching.
3. Have precise length measurements from top of the shoulder to the desired length, usually wrist bone.
4. Once the sleeve is removed, measure the desired length beginning from the edge of the cuff to the shoulder. Add 5/8" for seam allowance.
5. Mark with chalk at the top of the sleeve (the crease) the desired length. Go to the middle of the sleeve and mark. And at the bottom of the sleeve (the seam to the underarm)
6. Using a ruler, make a line following these three mark.
7. Remeasure before cutting the needed amount.
8. Eek. Cut the amount needed to make the finished length of sleeve.
9. By the nature of sleeves, the sleeve will become smaller than the armhole (the sleeve tapers slightly to the armhole for bicep size) so you will need to put a bit of a placket in the seam of the sleeve to expand it to fit the armhole.
10. Open the sleeve's seam about 2 1/2"
11. Make a 'patch' from the sleeve scraps about 2 1/2" square. Then make a triangle out of it to make a tapered placket.
12. Take the triangle and set it in the opened seam of the sleeve.
13. Stitch a 1/8" seam, attaching the triangular shaped piece onto the opened sleeve.
14. Turn it to the right side and top stitch the stitching on the triangle, reinforcing at the point of the triangle.
15. Set in the shortened sleeve, lining up seams, centering the triangle shape placket over the armpit seam on the shirt.
16. Measure again.
17. Zig Zag the armhole seam to secure.
18. Sigh big.
19. Celebrate the conquering of a long standing fear.
20. Thank the Lord for giving you the skills and presence of mind to be able to help out a friend....