Welcome back to another round of DIY Friday! I’m excited to share an easy sleeve tutorial with you today!

As much as I love short sleeves, and even long sleeves, I think I like a half sleeve the very most. They’re super flattering on everyone, and add a little feminine element to a shirt or dress. I’ve made a couple of pieces with these half sleeves (like this cobalt one I shared on instagram), so today for DIY Friday I want to show you how to make them. They’re super easy, and it’s a great pattern to have up your sleeve (pun intended) for shirts and dresses, or if you want to add sleeves to a sleeveless top or dress.

For this yellow dress, I used my Tee Dress as a base, and then change the sleeves to these puffed half sleeves and changed the shape of the dress to add a hint of swing. Super easy!

dress: made by me (tutorial below — similar here)

Click through to see the tutorial!


– shirt to use as a pattern (preferably one with loose-ish sleeves)
– pattern paper (or parchment or medical paper)
– 1/4 yard fabric (1 1/2 – 2 yards if you are making a full dress)
– matching thread

**also, a quick note. I plan to do step by step photographed tutorials from now on, but I have a few projects that I made this summer that I didn’t photograph step by step, including this one. So apologies that this one is illustrated!**

1. Using the sleeve of a shirt you already own as a guide, make a sleeve pattern. Turn the shirt inside out and lay it flat on the ground on top of your pattern paper. Trace around the sleeve, making a rough pattern. Once your sleeve is drawn out on your paper, it’s time to make adjustments to make it perfectly puffed (unless you’re shirt you’re using as a pattern already has similar puffed sleeves). Extend out the top part of the sleeve (at the shoulder) about an inch higher and an inch wider to allow for gathering. Then make the inseam about 2 inches wider. Once your pattern is the right measurements, lay it flat along the folded edge of the fabric and cut around it. Cut two of these SLEEVES.

Then cut the CUFF. For the width of the cuff, measure around your arm (where the cuff will hit), and divide that number in half (since you’ll be cutting on the folded edge). Then cut it roughly 4 inches tall, as shown. Cut two of these CUFFS.

2. Lay the SLEEVE flat on the floor and mark about halfway down the curve on either side, as shown. Then using a basting stitch, sew from one mark the other. Leave your threads long.

3. Using the long threads, pull them to gather the shoulder of the sleeve. Gather as much as you’d like (or until it’s the correct size to fit into your dress’s arm hole). Repeat steps 2 and 3 for the second SLEEVE.

4. Next take your sleeve and, with right sides together, sew up the inseam. Repeat for the second SLEEVE and then set both of them aside.

5. Now let’s move to the CUFF. Fold it in half (right sides together) so the short ends are lined up and then sew across the short side with a straight stitch.

6. Once the CUFF has been sewn into a loop, fold it in half, as shown. Repeat steps 5 and 6 for the second CUFF.

7. Now it’s time to attach the cuff to the sleeve. Stretch the cuff wide, as shown.

8. Now slide the stretched CUFF over the end of the sleeve, with the folded side facing up, and the raw edge facing down. Pin in place. Sew around the end of the sleeve with a straight stitch, stretching in between pins so the fabrics all lay flat together. Repeat for the second sleeve.

9. Now lay the cuff down flat and it should bounce back to be smaller, making your sleeve gather and become perfectly puffed.

Now you can insert it into your dress! Use this Tee Dress tutorial to make the rest of this yellow dress! Happy Sewing!!



  1. Christina Storm says:

    Your sewing tutorials are so inspiring! Love those sleeves and that dress! Hope you have a wonderful weekend!
    The Style Storm

    <3, Christina

  2. Paige Cassandra Flamm says:

    I’m loving this dress! Now if I only had the sewing skills to make it myself 😉


  3. Natali says:

    I love simple dresses with that little detail as puffed sleeves that make them special.

    If these dresses are also DIY ones… I’m more than impressed! 🙂

  4. Mindy says:

    only confused on what are you referring to as the inseam? i’ve only heard that describe pant/jean length. so, make it 1″ wider & taller for the gathering in both directions and then additional 2″ taller?

    • Merrick says:

      the inseam is just the inside seam. The short side of the sleeve.

      And yes, 1″ wider and 1″ taller at the shoulder. And then make the entire width 2″ wider (not taller). This will allow it to have the fullness so it puffs. Hope that helps.

  5. Amy Bareham says:

    Puffed sleeves really do give a feminine touch! I like the vibrancy of the colour you went with, as well (:

  6. Anna Staříková says:

    This is such a beatiful dress and looks awesome on you!

  7. Belle melange says:

    You look lovely! Love the dress

  8. 204park says:

    I wish I was this crafty! You do make it look easier than I would have thought though… love the dress! XO, Sarah

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