5278, view A, if you're interested.) I had just inserted the sleeves and was greeted with a rather sorry sight on my dress form. Look at that saggy, mushy, sleeve head!
Now, of course it will be a bit mushy on the dress form as Veronica does not have the benefit of shoulders. But even so, I could see that I was going to want a crisper look. Enter the magical sleeve head!
I first learned about sleeve heads in my favorite tailoring book when I was making my red winter coat, but I didn't end up using them since the coating was so thick it supported the sleeve head on its own. But this linen is not doing that, definitely. So luckily I had a couple of the suckers on hand to experiment with. The Sewing Divas have a really nice post on sleeve heads that I found VERY helpful in my process, so do give it a read if you're interested in this topic.
Here's what my sleeve heads look like. I bought these at Steinlauf & Stoller, and this is the only kind they sell. They're basically a strip of batting with a bias strip of muslin folded over it and stitched.
To start, you'll want to turn your jacket inside out and work that way.
VERY IMPORTANT: trim your sleeve seam allowances down to 3/8". This keeps your sleeve heads from sticking out too far. You'll see what I mean in a minute.
Find the exact middle of your sleeve head by folding it in half crosswise and marking it with a pin.
Now match this pin to your shoulder seam on your jacket. Pin the sleeve head to your sleeve seam allowance, matching up the edge of the sleeve head with the raw edge of the seam allowance (which you've cut down to 3/8" of an inch, right? See how it would be a little extreme if they were extending 5/8"?).
Baste the sleeve head to your seam allowance. I did mine by machine.
You can also add shoulder pads at this point, but I feel like that would be overkill for this jacket. Also, it's worth noting perhaps that this jacket will have a huge shawl collar, so the sleeve heads will probably be covered up anyway. Ah well. At least I'll know they look good, right?
Update: Ann from Gorgeous Fabrics wrote me a really nice e-mail explaining that there are two ways to use sleeve heads. The way I'm doing it here is kind of backwards if what you're going for is support of the sleeve. Since the bulk of the sleeve head is pointing toward my chest, what I'm actually achieving here is chest support, not sleeve support. If you turned the sleeve head around, you would get support in the sleeve. Perhaps I will take pictures both ways to show you the difference!
Also, a couple people have pointed out that you can make your own sleeve heads. Good materials include flannel, lambswool, muslin, and organza, among others. Whew, this could be an exhaustive topic! Thanks to Ann for the heads-up. (Ha, HEADs up, get it?)