How to Sew a Puff Sleeve Top Step by Step, Using a Free Pattern

Sachi’s Studio
by Sachi’s Studio
9 Materials
3 Hours

Learn how to sew a puff sleeve top in this DIY tutorial. Follow the link to download the free sewing pattern for the base top, and then all you’ll have to do is add the puff sleeves. Let’s get started.

Tools and materials:

  • Base pattern
  • Fabric
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Fabric chalk
  • ¼-inch elastic
  • Sewing pins
  • Thread
  • Sewing machine
  • Iron
Base pattern for the top

1. Make the base pattern

Download and print the base pattern. Tape the pattern pieces together, using Hemline B.

Fold your fabric in half and place the pattern front on the fold, disregarding the center seam allowance.

Cut out the pattern adding a bottom seam allowance.

Repeat with the pattern back.

Cutting out the sleeves and the bias strips

2. Cut the sleeves and bias strips

Cut two rectangles of fabric measuring 16 inches x 33-46 inches, depending on the length you need for your sleeves.

Cutting out 2-inch bias tape

From the remaining fabric cut out 2-inch bias strips for the neckline.

Sewing the shoulder seams

3. Sew the shoulder seams

With right sides facing in, sew the front and back pieces together at the shoulders, using a serger or a zigzag stitch.

Attaching the bias tape to the neckline

4. Attach the neckline bias

Sew the two bias strips together so you have one long strip. With right sides facing in, sew the bias strip to the neckline, all the way around, sewing a half-inch from the raw edge.

Stop sewing a couple of inches before the end.

Overlapping the ends of the bias tape

Overlap the ends of the bias strip and mark where they should be attached. 

Pinning the ends of the bias tape together

Cut off the excess fabric and sew the bias strip ends together.

How to attach bias strips to a neckline

Open the bias end seam and finish attaching the bias strip to the neckline.

Trimming the seam allowance

Trim the bias seam allowance to a quarter inch. 

Folding the seam allowance

Then, fold the seam allowance to the bias strip and edgestitch on the front of the bias.

Cutting the bias strip

Mark a line on the bias strip ⅝ of an inch from the seam and cut the bias strip on that line.

Sewing the trimmed bias strip

Fold the bias strip over the trimmed seam allowance and then fold it over again. Edgestitch it in place.

Pressing the neckline with an iron

Iron the neckline.

Pulling the thread to create gathers

5. Attach the gathered sleeves

Baste two rows on the top end of the sleeve. Pull the basting thread to gather the sleeve to fit the sleeve opening on the bodice.

Pinning the sleeves to the bodice

With right sides facing in, pin and sew the sleeve to the bodice.

Sewing the sleeve and side seams together

6. Sew the sleeve and side seams

Position the top with right sides facing in and sew the inside sleeve seam and the side seam.

Repeat with the second sleeve and side.

How to make a puff sleeve top

Try on the top to make sure you are happy with where the sleeve gathering is. If you don’t like it, mark where you would like it to start. Add a half-inch seam allowance, cut the sleeve at that line and redo that seam.

Watch the video from 6:51 to 7:30 to see how I fixed the sleeve gathering position.

Measuring the elastic

7. Make elasticized wrists

Cut ¼-inch elastic a bit bigger than your wrist size. Make a casing at the bottom of the sleeve a bit wider than the elastic.

Inserting elastic into the casing

Insert the elastic in the casing, sew the ends closed at the tension you want and then close then sew the casing opening closed.

How to sew a puff sleeve top

How to sew a puff sleeve top

Hem the bottom and you’re all done! I love how flowy this top is, and the elastic at the wrists lets me push up the sleeves.

Try sewing this DIY puff sleeve top for yourself, and then leave a comment to let me know how it turned out.

Suggested materials:
  • Fabric
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
See all materials

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