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Unread 04-13-2015, 10:23 PM   #1
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Help! Tailoring detachable sleeves

So today I was very excited to get my cosplay costume shipped to me and found that the detachable sleeves that came with the costume were far too thin for me to put up my arm. I could forcibly make it reach my elbows but it is so restricting I can barely move my arms. They are much like long sleeves except they are detached from the dress and should go up mid arm-length. They do have elastics on it but they do not stretch far enough. They bind me and it hurts when I put it on.

Is there a way for me to tailor these sleeves so I can put them on without adding more fabric? Is that even possible? The tube is just much too small sorry if I'm not good at explaining I have photos that show what I'm trying to explain.

I would really appreciate it if someone were to help me out. I'm not very experienced with sewing or tailoring but I do know the basics of how to sew. I just don't know how to go about this one.

I have some photos (sorry if they aren't very good photos--they were taken with my iPad)

Pictures of the detachable sleeves-

Me with sleeves on (I am clearly showing an expression of suffocation haha)

Help would be very much appreciated, thank you so much!
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Unread 04-14-2015, 04:47 PM   #2
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Is it just the elastic that's too tight or is the actual sleeve too narrow? If it's just the elastic that's easy, you can remove it with a seam ripper and replace it with a looser piece. If it's the actual fabric that's too tight, you might be able to let out the seam. It doesn't look like you have a huge amount of seam allowance there, but you could probably get another quarter or half inch by unpicking the seam and sewing it back together with a narrower allowance. Be careful not to go too close to the edge though, or your seam might split.

If you need more room than letting out the seam would give you, you have a couple of options. Would it bother you to have a notch in the top edge? You could open the seam for a few inches at the top and sew on an elastic loop and button (or even a couple) to hold it in place. Finish the edges neatly and it'll look like it's supposed to be there. If that doesn't work for you, then I'm afraid the only thing left is to insert more fabric. Either look for something similar in a store, or steal some from an inconspicuous spot elsewhere on the outfit (maybe a hem, or you could shorten the ruffles?).
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Unread 04-14-2015, 07:47 PM   #3
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Ditto alltomorrows. If you have the elastic stretched to its limit, or you take out the elastic, and the tube of fabric itself is too small? You're out of luck. You would have to add fabric so that it fits.

From what I can tell in the photos it looks like they just stitched a band of elastic straight onto the fabric on the inside. Correct? There's no elastic casing? Taking off the elastic will at least be easy, with a seam ripper. If you take off the elastic and try again, and the main sleeve tube is too small, you'd have to let out the seam or add fabric. If this is one of those overseas bootlegs where they don't actually have any seam allowance inside and just serged off all their seams, then you can't let it out at all. You'd have to take apart the seam and add in enough fabric to give yourself some give.

But your real problem is going to be that top ruffle. It looks like the ruffle is gathered into a seam at the top of the sleeve tube. Yes? So if you let out the sleeve tube to make it larger, your ruffle will have to come off and then probably won't fit either. It will be less of a ruffle and more of a strip of fabric. If you actually need a larger size sleeve, your only choices are to get a pro to remake it for you, or try to get some kind of exchange/refund from the seller.
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Unread 04-14-2015, 10:11 PM   #4
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Thank you both very much for your help!
I'm going to first try and go about this problem my undoing the seams. I was at first kind of hesitant to do that because, as CapsuleCorp mentioned, I was afraid it would undo the ruffles.
I'll try it out though and try to let out the seam and if the ruffles are turned to a piece of fabric I'll try to maybe gather some ruffles from other parts of this costume.

This costume did come with a very ruffle filled dress train I don't plan on using.

I'll try it out and let you know what happens, thanks again! I'm so grateful for both your help!
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Unread 04-14-2015, 10:26 PM   #5
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I took off the elastic band. Good news is that the ruffles did not come undone, but I have loosened the seams and it still is too small. I guess it really is the fabric that is far too small.

If I were to add on fabric how would I do that? Sorry I have run into this situation at all before so I will definitely need some guidance. Or, perhaps if that's too much or advanced for me, would the notch option still work at this point..is it still even an option?

I wish I could get a refund as I specifically gave my arm circumference measurements but sadly the convention is in less than a month and I don't think time will allow for that to happen.
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Unread 04-15-2015, 09:30 AM   #6
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Open up the seam that runs down the length of the sleeve about an inch down from the top. Try it on again. Bend your arm! Don't forget moving is a thing that will happen! If this is enough I'd go with the tiny-button-and-elastic-loop option presented further up.

If it isn't enough keep opening that seam until you get to the place you want it to sit. Once you know how much it needs to open you need to measure the distance of your gap. if you don't have a buddy handy, tape the sleeve to your arm on both sides so it isn't flapping and measure the distance. Also measure the distance from the top edge to the bottom of your gap. Now use a piece of paper and draw a triangle with those two dimensions. once drawn add 1/2"all around it for seam allowances. you now have a pattern! Use your extra fabric and cut out this triangle.

When you sew the triangle in place, it's going to poke out a bit and make the sleeve not lie flat on the table, that's okay! this addition should be worn on the inside of your arm so it shouldn't be noticeable, and if it is it only proves you have bicep muscles you might need to add elastic back in to make it stay put.
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