DIY Balloon-sleeve Top

8 Materials
3 Hours

Follow this easy tutorial to make a DIY top from scratch, with balloon sleeves and elasticized wrist. It's so easy, you'll probably end up making a ton to fill your closet!

Make balloon sleeves

Tools and materials:

  • Old top
  • Fabric
  • Pins
  • Scissors
  • Measuring tape
  • Elastic
  • Thread
  • Sewing machine
Top with balloon sleeves

Create the bodice pattern

Use a top that fits you well as your pattern. Fold your fabric in half. Fold your top in half lengthwise and place it on the fabric so the fold of your top and the fold of your fabric are lined up. Fold the sleeves of the top out of the way.

How to make balloon sleeves

Sew balloon sleeves

Cut the bodice

Cut around your top allowing for a 1-centimeter (0.39 inch) seam allowance. This is the front piece of your new top. Now, keeping that newly cut front piece folded in half, use it as your pattern for the back piece. Again, make sure the fabric is folded in half, and the folds of your fabric and your front piece are lined up. Since this second piece will be the back of your new top, make the neckline straight and allow for an extra 1 centimeter (0.39 inches) at the top of the shoulder.

How to sew balloon sleeves

DIY balloon sleeves

balloon sleeves tutorial

Create the sleeve pattern

Use your old top as the pattern again. Lay the top on your doubled fabric with the outside of the sleeve lined up with the fold of the fabric. Fold the rest of the top over so the sleeve cap is visible. Measure the armhole on the fabric back piece and mark that shape onto the sleeve fabric, so the sleeve cap fits well onto the top. At the bottom of the sleeve fabric, measure in 25 centimeters (9.8 inches) from the folded edge and place a pin on the fabric at that position. Place another pin on the fabric 15 centimeters (5.9 inches) below the top of the sleeve.

Cut the sleeves

Allowing for a 1-centimeter (0.39 inch) seam allowance, cut from the top of the sleeve to the first pin, then cut in a curved line outward from the first pin to the second pin at the bottom of the sleeve. That will make the balloon shape for the sleeve.

Repeat steps 3 and 4 for the second sleeve.

Sew the shoulder seams

Place the front and back of the top, right-sides together. Pin and then sew the shoulder seams. If your fabric is stretchy, use the stitch as demonstrated in the video at 2:47. If your fabric is not stretchy, use a basic zig-zag stitch.

Attach the sleeves

Open the top and lay it right-side up. Take one of the sleeves and find the center of the sleeve cap. Pin the center of the sleeve cap to the shoulder seam, then pin the rest of the sleeve cap to the armhole. Stitch the sleeve into the top using a straight stitch and then trim the excess fabric from the seam. Repeat with the second sleeve.

Sew the bodice

With both sleeves now sewn in, pin the sides of the top together, right-side in, and then pin the sides of the sleeves closed.

Make elastic wrist bands

Measure the circumference of your wrist and cut two pieces of elastic to that measurement. Change the single need in your sewing machine to a double needle.

Fold the bottom of the sleeves under enough to fit the elastic (about 2 centimeters or 0.78 inches). Pin the wrist hem in place, and sew it, using a double needle and leaving a small opening to insert the elastic. For details on using a double needle, refer to the video at 5:20.

Use a safety pin to draw the elastic through the wrist band. Use a zig-zag stitch to sew the ends of the elastic together, and then close the gap in the wrist using the double needle.

Sew the neckline

Fold the neckline in 2 centimeters (0.78 inches) and stitch in place using the double needle.

You’re done! If you liked this tutorial, like the video and subscribe to my channel for more sewing tips and tutorials.

Suggested materials:

  • Old top
  • Fabric
  • Pins
See all materials

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