How to Make Puff Sleeves That Are Giant, Floaty & Super Comfortable

Pekgee Peggy
by Pekgee Peggy
12 Materials
3 Hours

DIY puff sleeves are the in thing this season. I’m going over the top and showing you how to make puff sleeves from scratch. You’ll adore this DIY puff sleeve top and how easy it is to actually sew.

So, get your materials ready and follow me as I show you how to make a puff sleeve crop top with my easy-to-follow DIY puff sleeve pattern. Let’s get started!

Tools and materials:

  • Fabric
  • Elastic
  • Safety pin
  • Pins
  • Thread
  • Sewing machine
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • Paper
  • Pen
  • Chalk
  • T-shirt as a guide
DIY puff sleeves pattern

1. Make the pattern

Pick a shirt that fits you well and trace the upper shape on a piece of paper. 

Puff sleeves pattern

This is what the front and back should look like. 

Puff sleeve sewing pattern

2. Cut the pattern

Now, cut two pieces of fabric for the front sides and two for the back, as shown. 

How to make a puff sleeve top

3. Sew the top

Now, layer the front pieces together, with the right sides facing. Then, sew the neckline and the inner sleeves together. 

How to make a puff sleeve crop top

Make a small snip on the inner corners of the neckline so that it folds in easily when the whole piece is right sides out. 

Strips for the back bodice

3. Make the back bodice

Next, cut three strips that measure around 45cm (17.7 inches) in length and approximately 2cm (0.8 inches) wide. 

Sewing the bodice straps

Fold the strips in half, with the one edge folded inside, and sew along to secure. 

How to sew a DIY crop top with a bodice back

This is what it should look like. 

Attaching strap pieces to the bodice

Now, cut one of the full-length strips in shorter, equal pieces and attach each piece to the back opening of the top, along each side. Make sure to attach them every 10cm (4 inches) or so. These will be the holders for the other strips. 

Loop the pieces inwards

Loop each piece by about 1cm (0.4 inches) and sew to secure. This is how the loops should look on the right side of the top. 

Making darts on the bust

How to make side darts on the bodice

4. Make bust darts

Before assembling the top, make two side bust darts, as shown. 

Attaching the front and back bodice pieces

5. Attach the bodice pieces

Now, it’s time to attach the back bodice pieces to the front bodice piece. Start by stitching the shoulder seams and then the side seams. 

DIY puff sleeve pattern

6. Make the puff sleeves

Ok, now for the exciting part! To make the DIY puff sleeve pattern, simply cut a paper around 51cm (20 inches) wide and 53cm (21 inches) long. 

Tracing an existing sleeve

Then, trace the sleeve part as shown using the original shirt you used as a guide at the beginning of the tutorial. 

Cutting out the fabric for the puff sleeves

Fold your fabric in four so that you get two sleeves in one go! Add the paper with the puff sleeve sewing pattern on top and cut out the fabric accordingly. 

How to make puff sleeves with elastic

Sew elastic to the center of your top sleeve area. Be sure to stitch the elastic as close to the raw edge as possible and stretch the elastic while stitching to attain a ruffled look. 

Pinning the sleeves ready to sew

Now fold your sleeve in half, widthwise, and make sure the right sides of the fabric face each other. Then, stitch the side seam to secure it in place. 

Attaching the puff sleeves to the top

Turn your DIY puff sleeve right sides out and pin it to the armhole of the top. Remember to align the seams where necessary. 

Making a DIY puff sleeve top

Take your time on this step; make sure that the fabric is not out of place, and all layers are attached and aligned correctly. 

Sewing a DIY puff sleeve top

You’ll notice that you need to bunch the fabric around the ruffled sleeve area, but that’s how it should be! So, don’t worry if it may seem like you have excess fabric. After you’re done stitching, repeat the same process on the other sleeve. 

Adding elastic to the cuffs

Next, add elastic to the cuffs. Sew a tunnel around the lower sleeve part so that you can feed through the elastic. Then, cut a strip of elastic that measures the same as the circumference of your wrist and feed it through the opening of the tunnel. 

Sewing the ends of the elastic together

When this part is complete, sew the ends of the elastic and the opening of the tunnel. 

Tip: Use a safety pin to feed the elastic through; it helps a lot! 

Adding a sweetheart neckline to the top

7. Modify the front bodice

Shape the front bodice with a sweetheart neckline to add a little extra edge to your puff sleeve top. 

Adding a waistband

8. Add a band

For me, the top was a little on the short side, so I decided to add a band to the bottom of the top. To do this, simply cut two strips of fabric that is around 7cm (2.75 inches) wide. 

Attaching strips to the raw edges

Then, attach the strips to the raw edge of the top, as shown. 

Attaching extra loopholes to the bottom piece

Then, add extra loopholes to the bottom piece, too. 

How to sew a DIY puff sleeves top

9. Add the finishing touch

Now, cut two strips of fabric that measure around 3cm wide (1 inch). Fold the edges to the center and sew to secure. Then, loop the strips through the loops to secure the back bodice piece. 

DIY puff sleeves top

How to make puff sleeves

How to make puff sleeves tutorial

Yeah! The DIY puff sleeves tutorial is complete, and the result is this puff sleeve top. It’s so unique and comfortable to wear, too. I love how the DIY puff sleeves flow over the shoulder area; it gives the whole top a lovely, classic vibe. Thanks for joining me, and good luck! 

Suggested materials:
  • Fabric
  • Elastic
  • Safety pin
See all materials

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Join the conversation
  • Mpv14645561 Mpv14645561 on Sep 28, 2021

    Very nice & very well explained!...

  • Joe88097329 Joe88097329 on Sep 06, 2023

    I've always adored puff sleeves, but your guide just took it to a whole new level. Honestly, I've been looking for a puff sleeved top like this. The fact that you've prioritized comfort without sacrificing style is amazing. What's more is that you made patternmaking for fashion design of that top on your own! I'm excited to create a top with perfectly floaty sleeves like yours.