Sewing Tutorial: How to make long sleeves from a short sleeve pattern piece

Hi lovely readers! I am Sara and I love to sew. I share the things I make (kid's & women's sewing, tutorials and more) over my little blog Made by Sara. I am so excited to be joining the contributors team at the UpCraft Club blog!

Today I am sharing with you the most easy way (aka lazy way) to turn any woven pattern's short sleeves into long sleeves. It is a quick hack that allows you to alter a pattern and make it more suitable for the cold chilly weather.

  • Paper (I am using Swedish tracing paper but you can use any other kind)
  • Measuring tape and ruler
  • Pencil
  • Paper scissors (remember to use other scissors than those you use to cut your precious fabric)

How to turn any short sleeve pattern piece into long sleeves

Part 1 - Making a long sleeve pattern piece

1- Measure your arm length (from the tip of your shoulder's edge bone to your wrist).

2- Place your short sleeve pattern piece on the tracing paper and trace it all around.

3- Place the measuring tape or a ruler with your total arm length along the center line of the pattern piece and add the pattern's shoulder seam allowance plus the sleeve hem allowance of your choice - I use 1 inch. Mark the pattern's total length line (at the bottom).

4- Next, just trace the side lines. Trace a straight line by continuing the existing side lines of the short sleeve pattern piece all the way to the total length line you just traced in the previous step.

5- Cut the pattern piece you just traced and you're done!

Part 2 - Sewing and hemming the long sleeves

1- First, we are going to make an hem that will also serve as an elastic case. Turn your sleeve edge by 3/8'', press. Turn again by 5/8'', press.

2- Sew around the hem, along the fold, about making sure to leave about 1 inch open.

3- Measure your wrist radius by placing the measuring tape around your wrist where you want the sleeve to hit. Cut a 3/8'' elastic with a length corresponding to your wrist radius.

4- Insert the elastic into the casing through the 1 inch opening (using a bodkin or a safety pin). Make sure not to twist the elastic. Overlap both ends of the elastic by 1/2 inch and stitch them together (I use a zigzag stitch on both sides of the overlap).

5- Stitch the 1 inch opening.

You're done and this is how it should look:

Easy-peasy, right?

There are many ways to finish the edge of a sleeve and to add a closure at the wrist level. This method is the easiest (aka the laziest) way of doing it but personally I think it provides a lovely stylish look to any pattern.

You can use this method for dress patterns with short sleeves! How great is that? And the hemming with the elastic is also an easy hack to make to a pattern that already has long sleeves! This is my go-to method every time I need to make long sleeves (either for me or for my girls!) and I don't feel like making a button placket.

I made this top as part of my Fall/Winter capsule wardrobe in a wonderful silk crepe and you can read all about here. Are you working on your Fall/Winter wardrobe yet? Go and grab your favorite short sleeve patterns (tops and dresses) and transform them into stylish suitable patterns for the cold weather that has already arrived (almost) everywhere. And if you need new great patterns go check the UpCraft shop! There are a few patterns there that can be hacked with this kind of long sleeves like the Union St Tee pattern. We'd love to see what you make so be sure to tag us on instagram @UpCraftClub.
September 16, 2015 by UpCraft Club
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Diana said:

Great tutorial Sara! Loved it!

Juliette Exupery

Juliette Exupery said:

Love what you did with the sleeve, Sara. I have been looking for a pattern for a blouse just like this (short sleeve). Did you create one? Blessings, Juliette

Juliette Exupery

Juliette Exupery said:

Love what you did with the sleeve, Sara. I have been looking for a pattern for a blouse just like this (short sleeve). Did you create one? Blessings, Juliette

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