Before attaching the sleeve to the spring jacket, I need to help the fabric take on the curved shape of the shoulder. We can do this with a double row of stay stitching and yanking the loose thread ends.
- Stitch along the shoulder seam line between pattern notches using a long machine basting stitch.
- Then, sew a second parallel line a quarter inch away inside the seam allowance.
- Pull the threads to distribute the small gathers evenly.
The faux suede I chose for my jacket was a challenge going through the sewing machine because the matte side stuck to the surface, and the satin back was so slick. Sewing a single layer can magnify these handling difficulties. When I have a particularly slippery or stretchy fabric that jams or goes off course in the machine, I back it up with old or unused pattern paper and sew with the paper on the bottom against the feed dogs. When finished I just tear away the backing.
It is true, I have found, that natural fibres such as cotton and wool move through the machine with more ease. But I would hate to restrict myself to those reliable materials because I would miss the many terrific textures and prints on harder to handle slinky, ruffles, jerseys and other man-made fabrics.