How to Make Giant Puff Sleeves - Fun Oversized Gathered Sleeve Hack

Sara SJ Kim
by Sara SJ Kim
9 Materials
2 Hours

This tutorial will teach you how to make giant puff sleeves on an existing dress and how to add a color block to sleeves to make them even larger. These types of sleeves are chic and ultra-comfortable; they work best on oversized garments with a dropped shoulder. Let’s get started!

Tools and materials:

  • Fabric
  • If doing color block, additional fabric in a different color
  • Sewing machine
  • Serger or overlock machine
  • Scissors
  • Seam ripper
  • Ruler
  • Clips or pins
  • Iron
How to make a giant puff sleeve pattern

1. Cut rectangles

If you’re making a giant puff sleeve, cut two rectangles. If you’re making a large puff sleeve with a color block, cut 2 thinner rectangles.

Sewing the seams of the giant puff sleeves

2. Sew the sleeve

Fold each rectangle right sides together. Sew and serge the ends. Set aside. If you’re making a color block sleeve, sew the color block to a rectangle first. Then sew and serge the ends. Set aside.

Making cuffs for the giant puff sleeves

3. Make the cuff bands

Cut 2 smaller rectangles. They should be about 13-15 inches by 3 inches.

When you’re changing the sleeves on an existing dress, this is how to add a giant puff sleeve to refashion your old clothes.

How to modify sleeves on a dress

4. Mark up your old dress

The dress I am using to demonstrate how to add the big puff sleeve is the Peppermint Everyday dress. I am going to work only above the sewn-in pocket.

Measuring and marking the cut and stitch line

Draw the cut and stitch line with the ruler. Measure and mark. Make sure the lines are 90 degrees to the shoulder seam.

Having it at 90 degrees will make sure the drop is straight at the arm opening. This allows the sleeve to lay properly for sewing and wearing. Add a ½-inch seam allowance.

Cutting the sleeves off the dress

5. Open the dress  

Cut along the marked line.

How to unpick serger stitches

This is how to open up serger stitches: Unpick the side seam to 1 inch away from the pocket in the dress. There are 2 straight stitches. Unpick the outer one first. Cut a few threads and pull the threads out. It should come out easily.

Pulling out the stitches

Then do the inner stitches and pull out the long stitch. This is so easy and satisfying to do! 

Unpicking the stitches

Unpick the main stitch. That’s all there is to it!

Pinning the sleeve in place

6. Attach the sleeves

Match the mark and the shoulder stitch and pin in place. Sew along the stitch line we drew. Serge the sewn area. 

Pinning the underarm and side seams

Pin and sew the underarm seam and side seams of the dress.

Snipping the corner before serging

Before serging the seams, snip the corner to make serging easier. Serge all the raw edges.

Folding the cuff band in half

7. Attach the cuffs

Have the smaller rectangles right sides together. Fold the cuff band in half. Sew the short edge with a ½-inch seam allowance. 

Pressing the seam allowance with fingers

Open the seam allowance and press it with your fingers. 

Sewing a basting stitch

Create gathers by sewing a basting stitch over the ends of the sleeves, then pulling on the gathering stitch to create ruffles.

Attaching the cuff to the sleeve

Once the sleeve is gathered, turn the cuff so the right side is facing out. 

Pinning the cuff inside the sleeve

Place the sleeve into the cuff band and pin or clip in place. Sew it together. Once the cuff is sewn, iron the cuff band towards the seam. 

Pressing the wrong sides together

Fold the cuff by ¼ inch and press the wrong sides together.

Folding the cuff over the sleeve

Fold in half again. 

Adding a topstitch to the cuff to finish

Cover the stitch line slightly and edgestitch or topstitch to finish the cuff.

Big puff sleeve dress

Oversized puff sleeve dress

How to make an oversized puff sleeve dress

How to make a big puff sleeve dress

How to make giant puff sleeves tutorial

See how simple it is to attach a giant puff sleeve to oversized garments? Here are two dresses I used this modification on; one with a color block and one without.

Dramatic sleeves add so much character to clothes. I hope you love them as much as I do! Now that you’ve seen it, which pieces will you modify? Please let me know in the comments!

Suggested materials:
  • Fabric
  • If doing color block, additional fabric in a different color
  • Sewing machine
See all materials

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