Want to Know How to Sew Puffy Sleeves? Get Your Easy Tutorial Here

Style Sew Me
by Style Sew Me
7 Materials
2 Hours

Looking for an edgier and stylish addition to your wardrobe? Puffy sleeves are great if you want to upgrade your wardrobe without breaking the bank. If you are wondering how to sew puffy sleeves, then you have come to the right place. I am going to show you, with the help of a cut-out pattern, how simple this process is and once you’re done you will just love the outcome!

Tools and materials:

  • Tracing paper
  • Puffy sleeve pattern
  • Pattern weights or tape
  • Scissors
  • Marking tool
  • Fabric
  • Sewing machine
DIY puffy sleeves

Prepare your pattern

Fold your puffy sleeve pattern in half and push it towards the top of your tracing paper as we will need the bottom part for pattern adjustments. Then, add some pattern weights so it holds your pattern in place while you work.

Puffy sleeve long shirt

Transfer central brain line

Use a tracing wheel to transfer the central brain line from the pattern.

Shirt with puffy sleeves

Draw over traced brain line

Move the pattern out the way so that you can draw over this line to make it more visible. In the tutorial, this line is not clear, but I could clearly see it and so should you when you make your own.

How to make puffy sleeves

Draw the seam allowance

Reposition the pattern back and start drawing a seam allowance. This seam will be placed on the top part of your arm. So use half an inch seam allowance and using a ruler, draw a straight line underneath.

Easy puffy sleeves

Trace the pattern

Trace the pattern by folding the pattern paper so that you have the true measurements.

Puffy sleeve pattern

Trace markings

Trace any markings from the pattern.

Draw dots by underarm seam

Draw dots 

Draw a dot on the top underarm seam. Then, take a ruler and measure directly across the pattern and draw another dot.

Draw a guideline

Draw an outer guideline

Draw a guideline from the top of the cap. Draw outwards, and make it 19 inches long.

Extend guideline downwards

 Draw a line downwards

Then extend the line downwards, in no particular length- this is only a guideline.

Extend 4 inches down

Draw a line from the cap

From the top of the cap, extend 4 inches down.

Join the guidelines

Join the lines as stipulated

Join the guidelines by starting from the bottom underarm dot and extending to the tip of the 4-inch line you just drew in the previous step. Carry this diagonal line until the last, outer guideline.

Connect dots on puffy sleeve

Draw a dot and connect

Draw a dot right above the curved section of the cap and connect that dot with your guideline. This extension is going to be the sleeve on top of the sleeve cap that we are going to be gathering.

Cut your puffy sleeve pattern

Cut out your pattern

You have now made the new pattern piece for the front of your sleeve. Go ahead and cut it out.

Repeat for the back part

Create the back part of this pattern. Repeat the steps listed above. You cannot trace the pattern you've just created because this type of pattern is not a mirror image and the sizes are a little different. When you are done, you should have two pieces.

Cut your fabric & pin

Cut out your fabric and pin together

It’s time to cut your fabric! Cut two from each piece. When the cutting is out the way, we are going to prep the sleeves for sewing. Take one of each, one for your front and one for your back, and pin them together. The same seam that you will be pinning and sewing will be the same seam used to create a puffy, dramatic sleeve.

Interface the top part

Add an interface for more puffiness 

The next step is optional. Interface the top part of your sleeve. Interfacing will help make your fabric stick out more and give it a bolder look.

Gather your seams

Sew gathering seams and gather

Starting from the curved corner of the sleeve to the tip, sew gathering stitches and gather your stitches to create a puffy look.

Pleat & gather

Pleat around the sleeve and gather

Measure an inch and a half away from your notches, and add half an inch of your fabric and pleat it. Pin the small pleat down and repeat the process along both sides of the cap at around two-inch increments. The combination of pleating and gathering will give a deeper effect.

Baste pleats and gather the seams again

Once the pleats are pinned in place, baste the pleats and sew more gathering stitches from one side of the sleeve cap to the other. When you are done pinning, start gathering your seams.

Sew sleeve to rest of the top

Sew the sleeve to the bodice 

Your puffy sleeve hack is almost done, continue putting your sleeve together by sewing the underarm, setting your sleeve inside your bodice, and repeating the same steps on the other sleeve.

Easy & dramatic puffy sleeve

You are now the proud owner of a lovely DIY puffy sleeves piece that you made on your own. It is great using a pattern and getting your creative sewing juices flowing because you can literally make anything you want. Well done!

Suggested materials:
  • Tracing paper
  • Puffly sleeve pattern
  • Pattern weights
See all materials

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