Make Puffy Sleeves and Add a Little Something to Your Shirts

7 materials
$5
30 Minutes
Easy

Who doesn’t love a good upcycle? This puffy sleeves tutorial proves that nothing should ever be wasted. This year, take your closet to the next level by adding some fun puffy sleeves to your favorite tops.

Tools and materials:

  • Elastic
  • Sleeveless dress
  • Scissors
  • Pattern
  • Rotary cutter
  • Clips
  • Sewing machine
puffy sleeves, How to make puffy sleeves
How to make puffy sleeves

Cut the dress 

The first thing we want to do is cut our dress. One, for the material that we will use to make our sleeves. And second, because our dress is going to become a gorgeous shirt. To leave a peplum, make sure you cut the dress about an inch and a half (or more) below the bodice.

puffy sleeves, Separate the fabric for sleeves
Separate the fabric for sleeves

Separate the fabric

Take the bottom of the dress (that was just cut off) and side rim the seams. This should leave you with two separate pieces of fabric. 

puffy sleeves, DIY puffy sleeves
DIY puffy sleeves

Cut the sleeves 

Take a bell sleeve pattern and turn it upside down - this will give the sleeves their puff. (If you don’t have a pattern, check out the video for the measurements you’ll need to make your own!) Place the fabric on the pattern and use a rotary cutter to cut the fabric.

puffy sleeves, How to sew puffy sleeves
How to sew puffy sleeves

Measure your elastic

Wrap your elastic around your arm to measure how much you need. Keep in mind that the goal is to have the sleeves fit both on and off the shoulder - so don’t make it too tight. Next, check the length of the fabric on your arm and then measure the spot on your arm where the fabric hits with more elastic. You should finish with four pieces of elastic. 

puffy sleeves, Sew puffy sleeves
Sew puffy sleeves

Insert the elastic

Fold a hem on both edges of both pieces of fabric that is wide enough for the elastic to fit through. Pin to secure. Then, sew the hem closed and weave the elastic through using a safety pin. 

puffy sleeves, Weave elastic through the hem
Weave elastic through the hem

Remember to keep hold of the elastic as you weave it through to make sure it doesn’t accidentally get pulled in. Once the elastic comes out the other side, pin the two halves together and even out the gathering. 129

puffy sleeves, Make puffy sleeves
Make puffy sleeves

Sew the sleeve together 

Make sure the sleeve is inside out and sew the sleeve together. Next, take the two halves of our elastic and sew them together with a straight stitch. Seal with a zigzag stitch. To cover the elastic, fold a piece of fabric over the elastic and seal it closed. 

puffy sleeves, Puffy sleeves tutorial
Puffy sleeves tutorial

Repeat on the bottom

To finish the sleeves, repeat the steps from the top elastic for the bottom elastic.

puffy sleeves, Easy puffy sleeves
Easy puffy sleeves

Attach the sleeves to the shirt 

Match the side sleeve of the bodice with the sleeve seam. Use clips to secure. To attach the sleeves sew about half an inch on either side of the middle. 

puffy sleeves, Finished puffy sleeved shirt
Finished puffy-sleeved shirt


I might be a little obsessed with this transformation. This top is so cool, super versatile, and looks amazing. So, before you throw that old dress away, let me teach you how to make puffy sleeves!

Suggested materials:

  • Elastic
  • Sleeveless dress
  • Scissors
See all materials

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