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OUTFIT DETAILS:  TOP MADE BY ME (inspired by this top that’s currently on sale!)  ||  JEANS  ||  SANDALS  ||  BAG (on sale for only $100!)

I’m not typically a fan of bell sleeves, but when I saw this top I instantly fell in love.

The shorter bell sleeve makes it more modern and less seventies to me, and of course I can’t resist anything with stripes.

I was at the fabric store last week and when I saw this striped fabric I knew I had to make this top. It’s a really simple project, but the sleeves give it some drama that makes it look more impressive and also super chic.

ALSO — our online video sewing course is for sale right now for 25% off if you want to learn how to sew! It teaches how to make every one of the tutorials I’ve made for this blog. 

Click READ MORE below to find the full tutorial!
striped fabric — found at jo-ann’s
matching thread
Step 1. Using an existing shirt or tank, create your pattern pieces. If you don’t know how to do that, use this video right here. Cut out a SHIRT BACK, SHIRT FRONT, 2 SLEEVES, 2 NECKLINE LINING pieces, and 2 SLEEVE RUFFLES.
Step 2. Insert darts into your FRONT PIECE. Our intermediate sewing guide shows how to measure and insert darts!
Step 3.  With right sides together, sew the FRONT and BACK SHIRT pieces together at the shoulder seams.

Step 4. Take your RUFFLE pieces and hem them on one of the long sides. Now do a basting stitch across the top of the ruffle, leaving your strings long on either end.Step 5. Pull the strings of the basting stitch to gather your ruffle.

Step 6. With right sides together, attach the RUFFLE to the SLEEVE with a straight stitch. Repeat for the second sleeve.

Step 7. Now attach the sleeves. Line up the top of the SLEEVE with the shoulder seam of the top (right sides together), and then pin them together.
Step 8.  Then sew a straight stitch along the sleeve, attaching it to the shirt. Repeat for the second sleeve. 
Step 9. Once both sleeves are attached, sew the FRONT and BACK (right sides together) together from the end of the sleeve to the bottom of the shirt.
Step 10. Take your two NECKLINE LINING pieces and, with right sides together, sew them together at the ends. They should now form a circle. 
Step 11. Place the NECKLINE LINING on the dress with right sides together, matching up the side seams of the LINING with the shoulder seams of the shirt. Then streeeetch the LINING and pin it in place evenly along the dress neckline. Sew around the entire neckline with a straight stitch. Then trim the seam allowance and tuck the LINING inside the shirt and iron in place. 
Step 12. Sew with a straight wide stitch around the entire neckline, securing the lining in place. Then try on the shirt and determine your desired sleeve and top length, then hem. And you’re done!

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photos by rad and happy


  1. Meghan says:

    You’re so crafty. I love bell sleeves too but I am a bit too timid to try. I am definitely bookmarking this tutorial tho!

    Meghan |

  2. Natali says:

    Perfect top and shoes! You’re looking so pretty in this elegant outfit. 🙂

  3. Helen Veyna says:

    That top is amazing! I’m going to have to set some time apart and try to make it myself!


  4. Charlotte says:

    I was only just looking at this top on J Crew and was disappointed that it had sold out in my size! Now I’ll just make myself one instead! What sort of fabric have you used?

  5. Delaney Rae says:

    Such a great idea and post, love the top! Xx

  6. Anna Jones says:

    What type/weight is your fabric and how many yards did you get? I’m so excited to make this shirt! I snapped a photo of a friend wearing it on Instagram so I could make it 🙂 Now you’ve made it a lot easier!

  7. Maja Frigelj says:

    Great idea! I’m having trouble figuring out how much fabric I need for the bell sleeve. I can’t picture how much extra I’ll need to allow for a full ruffle once I pull the strings on the basting stitch. Thanks for the help!

    • Merrick says:

      measure the bottom of your sleeve and then multiply that number by 1.5. That should be your measurement for the ruffle section. If you want it more ruffled, multiply it by 2. Hope that helps!

  8. Inez says:

    That is such a lovely, lovely top. Cute look.

    Inez | My Small World

  9. Biene says:

    awesome and easy! thanks for the tutorial 🙂


  10. Samantha says:

    Bell sleeves popular in the 60’s

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