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Bernina 732 and a Tendonitis Sleeve

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So here's the deal -- I've come down with a really bad case of tendonitis in my right arm. Lost most of the strength in the arm, it hurts whenever I twist it or use the arm. Hurts even from the muscles moving when I type!

I'm an old fart, so letting it rest to heal really will take a LONG time to work. I don't want to take steroid shots (did when I was younger). The doctor says pretty much all I can do otherwise is keep it warm.

So -- how do you keep your right elbow and forearm warm? I tried heating pads -- too difficult to arrange, plus not portable. I bought some women's knitted ankle warmers (big in the 80's!); they worked okay, but stretched out of shape way too easy. Bought some Ace Bandage type stuff; it kinda worked, but not all that great.

I found that at the end of the day, I'd always end up wrapping the arm with a simple fleece blanket my daughter made. You know, two pieces of fleece, the ends fringed, then the fringes tied together. Worked just fine.

So -- I decided to make a "sleeve" out of fleece. I had just started using this Bernina 732; figured this would make a nice beginning project.
Here's my "pattern". My length was measured from my wrist to halfway up my upper arm. I measured the circumfrence of my upper arm and added two inches. Measured the widest part of my forearm and added two inches. Measured my wrist and added two inches. Measured the distand from my wrist to the thickest part of my forearm.

I then drew a broken sided trapezoid. The top part was my wrist length (plus two inches). Drop down the distance from wrist to thickest forearm -- width here is thick forearm plus two inches. The widest part is my upper arm. Total length is from wrist to mid-upper arm.

I cut the pattern out of a piece of newspaper. Actually cut it from a "House of Onyx" flyer -- my wife will kill me if she realizes that I did! Note that the sides are not straight -- they're straight from wrist to thickest forearm, where they bend at that point and go straight to the widest upper arm part at the bottom.

I used this pattern to cut two pieces of fleece the same size. I used two pieces of fleece because the blanket my daughter made was two pieces thick -- this seemed to be warmer than a single thickness of fleece.
After cutting the two pieces, I pinned them together and sewed along the sides. I sewed all the way around except for about a four inch gap along the widest part.

Used about a half-inch seam allowance -- turns out things got a little snug, but that worked out just fine.

I had planned to use elastic at the top and bottom, but it turned out that the snug fleece stretches just enough to keep things in place without elastic.

I had also thought I would have to "quilt" the fleece to keep the two pieces from slipping around, but turned out it wasn't necessary.
Here's my fleece sewn almost all the way around. I kept an opening at the bottom where I placed the seam ripper. I also trimmed the points off the edges of the fleece sleeve.

I then turned the sleeve inside out. I guess technically, it was rightside out, but this fleece didn't have a wrong or right side. If you are using a fleece that has a right/wrong side, join the piece rightside together. That way it'll be correct when you invert them.

After flipping the fabric, I had planned to slipstitch the opening. Decided to punt and just use the machine to sew it shut instead. Worked fine and doesn't really show on the fleece.
Almost done. Join and sew along the sides of the fleece to make a tube. Join one wrist side to the other wrist side, one thick forearm side to the other thick forearm side, etc. I used about a half-inch seam allowance again -- this was because the seams of the fleece "sandwich" were too thick to fit under the foot! This worried me because I felt it might make it too snug ...

But I was wrong -- check the picture, it fit my arm perfectly. After joining the sides to make a tube, I inverted the tube so the seam "bump" was on the inside.

That's it -- project finished!
Here's the finished sleeve. Lotsa seam there -- probably could do something about it -- but it's really not a problem when I wear the sleeve. If I position it such that the seam runs on the outside edge of my arm, I don't feel it.

How does it work? Great -- fit's tight enough to give my arm some comfort, plus the double layer keeps my arm and elbow quite warm. I made another sleeve later with a single thickness -- the double layers are much better.

What about the Bernina 732? Well, as long as you don't mind the fact that it's only straight stitch and zig-zag, this is a fine mechanical machine. You won't have any electronic or computerized fanciness -- but you'll also have a mechanical tank that will last you the rest of your lifetime ... and likely beyond that!

Bernina 732's tend to go fairly cheaply -- for much less than an 830 or the 830 student models. That makes this model a really nice bargain -- keep your eyes out for one, you'll probably be quite pleased!

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