This section is from the book "Clothing For Women: Selection, Design, Construction", by Laura I. Baldt. Also available from Amazon: Clothing For Women: Selection, Design, Construction.
Several methods of placing sleeves are here explained in order to meet the varying changes in the fashion and cuts of gowns. Sleeves that have fulness at the top, whether one- or two-piece, are usually placed after the underarm seam of the waist has been stitched. Gather the top of the sleeve where you have indicated when fitting it. Then, holding the waist so that the inside is toward you, place the sleeve according to the points made for the location when fitting. Pin to place, easing the plain part of the sleeve, so as not to draw the armhole; distribute the fulness at the top so that the greater amount will come to the top of the shoulder. Baste with small stitches, trim seam to five-eighth inch, and overcast the edges before stitching. Hold the waist toward you while basting the sleeve in place. If the sleeve has been carefully basted where there is much fulness, and overcast, the stitching can be done holding the waist toward you to secure a good line at the armhole. To some, this seems difficult. With plainer sleeves, the sleeve may be held toward you. The seam may be finished by binding with taffeta seam-binding, or better, a bias binding of thin, soft silk. This may be run on the outside of the seam, and turned to the inside of the armhole, and hemmed down. The seam of the sleeve may be tacked to the shoulder seam and in one or two other places if there is trimming to conceal the tacking. This prevents the sleeve from standing up at the top of the armhole.
Two-piece sleeves having no apparent fulness at the top should be placed much the same as the gathered sleeve, the small amount of gathers necessary to make the sleeve set well, being first drawn up to fit the armhole, the thread fastened, and the sleeve removed from the waist; the top of the sleeve laid over the end of the tailor cushion, thoroughly dampened and pressed until the fulness is shrunken out. Then place the sleeve in the armhole and stitch to place. Finish with binding of silk, and if outside stitching is used on the waist, lay the seam back, baste, and stitch down to waist.
One-piece sleeves without fulness at top are usually cut so that the seam is on a line with the underarm seam of the waist. These are placed in the armhole before the underarm seam is stitched. They are sometimes placed like the middy blouse sleeve (p. 302), or may be stitched as a plain seam on wrong side, the raw edge bound with bias silk, and laid down and stitched flat, when an outside stitching is used on the waist.
There are two methods of finishing the armhole when one does not wish to have stitching show but wishes the sleeve to lie flat when there are gathers at the top. In either case the fulness should be drawn up to fit the armhole and the thread fastened and the edge of the sleeve bound. Either face the armhole with a bias strip of silk, five-eighth-inch finished, and sew the sleeves at the line of gathers to this, slip-stitching the very outside edge of the armhole to the sleeve, or else cord the armhole, blind-hem the edge of the silk to the armhole, and sew the sleeve to the facing where the cord is sewed in. Either of these finishes is attractive for challis, albatross, or other light-weight material, but requires the most careful handling.
Sometimes the armhole is finished separately and the sleeve, either a kimono or small close sleeve, set on the net or silk lining. In this case, it is best to face the lining beyond the edge of the sleeve with the same material to prevent the lining showing in the movement of the body. The armhole of the waist is (1) finished with a bias facing of silk. Baste right side of facing to wrong side of waist, stitch, turn edge far enough so facing does not show; baste, and slip-stitch to waist or turn edge of facing, sew to itself, tacking to waist occasionally; (2) on the edge may be corded.