DIY a Gorgeous Puff Sleeve Dress

Alicia Yanson
by Alicia Yanson
10 Materials
3 Hours

I absolutely love vintage style clothing! I decided to DIY the most beautiful puff sleeve dress with a low, square neckline. For this project, I used old bedsheets that had been passed down in my family for generations because I just loved the fabric design. If you want to create your own, lovely puff sleeve dress, all you need to do is pick a fabric and watch my tutorial. My simple, step-by-step guide will show you all the ins and outs of how to sew this gorgeous dress!

Tools and materials:

  • Fabric
  • Lining
  • Interfacing
  • Buttons
  • Needle and thread
  • Sewing Machine
  • Scissors
  • Pins
  • Marker
White puff sleeve dress
Draft a pattern

To get started on this absolutely gorgeous dress, I started creating a pattern for the bodice. As I pinned the waistline, I added darts to make this dress have a beautifully fitted look.

Trace the neckline

Next, I traced the perfect neckline for my dress that I had made for another project and I also traced the center front, shoulder seam, armhole, and side seam. I also made sure to trace the darts I had folded earlier. 

Add 2-inches

For the button placket, I added 2-inches on the side and also half an inch of seam allowance to the pattern. I traced the darts with my marker and the front bodice pattern was finished. 

Draw the back bodice piece

For the back bodice pattern, I am using one that I made in a midi dress tutorial which you can check out here.

Cut the front bodice piece
Cut the bodice fabric

I folded my fabric, set down the front pattern, and cut it out. For my fabric, I decided to use these old bedsheets that have been in my family for years but feel free to choose a fabric design that works for your aesthetic. For the straight edges, I used a rotary cutter but for the curved edges, I used fabric scissors. 

Trace darts

To trace the darts onto the front bodice, I marked three points at the bottom of the dart on the fabric and then marked the top point. I connected the points to have a clear marking of where I would need to sew. 

Puff sleeve mini dress

Next, I folded the darts in half, pinned them, and sewed along my pinned line with a straight stitch. Rather than backstitching, I left enough thread to double knot at the end of the dart. 

Cut out the fabric for the back piece

I then placed the back bodice pattern on my folded fabric and cut it out. 

Cut the lining fabric

I cut out both my pieces in the lining fabric as well. The only difference is that I traced the front bodice piece without the button placket seam allowance. I made sure to sew the darts on my lining pieces as well. 

Draw the radius
Cut the skirt fabric

For the gorgeous skirt pieces of this stunning dress, I used a site called which made the process a whole lot easier. For the waist measurement, I needed the width of the back bodice and the front bodice. 

Add length

The site calculated the radius, according to my back bodice, which was 10.5 inches. I then added 18 inches for the length of the skirt which meant that the second measurement was 28.5 inches from the edge of the fabric. 

Cut out the skirt

I could then cut out my skirt. I repeated the same steps for my front bodice piece to get the right measurements for the skirt. I couldn’t wait to see this dress come together!

Cut down the center

I then cut the front skirt in half. I made sure to follow the exact same steps to get the perfect lining for this skirt. It’s important to remember that for the lining, the length should be 1-inch less than the outer fabric. 

Press the button placket
Sew the bodice

Next, I folded the button placket seam allowance and pressed it flat using an iron. 

Sew the shoulder seams

It was finally time to start sewing! I placed the front and back bodice pieces, right sides together. I sewed the shoulder seams and side seams using a straight stitch with a length of 3, which I used for the whole dress. I then sewed the lining in the exact same way. 

Sew along the sides
Sew the skirt

Next, I placed the front and back skirt pieces, right sides together, and sewed the side seams. Once again, I repeated this for the lining of the skirt. I tried on my skirt and realized it was too puffy so I simply cut 6-inches off the bottom and connected it to the top to get the perfect fit. I made sure to do the same for the lining.

Puff long sleeve dress
Sew the skirt together

To put this incredible dress together, I laid the skirt out and placed the bodice over it, right sides together. I then pinned along the curve attaching the bodice to the waistline of the skirt. I hopped on over to my sewing machine and sewed the pieces together. 

Pin the folds

Next, I pinned the armholes of the lining by folding the edges in twice. I then sewed the folds down. I attached the skirt lining to the bodice lining and also hemmed the skirt lining for a professional finish. 

Press down the button placket

With the dress starting to take form, I folded the button placket 1.5 inches and ironed. I then pressed the edge at half an inch. 

Cut a strip
Attach waist ties

To make the gorgeous waist tie detail, I cut a strip of fabric at 1.5-inches

Add a ribbon

To easily turn out the fabric, I cut a ribbon to the length of the waist tie and sandwiched it in between the fabric. I sewed the end closed and all the way down at 1/4 of an inch. 

Turn out the fabric

I cut off the seam allowance and then pulled on the ribbon to turn the fabric right side out. Once it was the right side out, I snipped off the ribbon and cut the fabric in half to make the two ties. 

Thread the ties

Next, I seam ripped the side seams of the waistline of the dress open and inserted the waist ties. I then made sure to sew the side seams back up.

Trace a sleeve
Make the sleeves

I could finally move on to the amazing puff sleeves. To create the sleeve pattern, I traced a normal long sleeve onto some paper. I extended the edge of the sleeve so that it would reach a 90-degree angle. I then cut out the pattern with a half-inch seam allowance.

Draw strips

To create the puffed style, I drew lines along the sleeve with 1.5-inch intervals. I then cut along these lines and stuck them to a new piece of paper with a 1-inch interval between each strip. I could then cut the new sleeve pattern. 

Cut out two sleeves

I placed my pattern on the fold of the fabric and cut out two sleeves. I then also cut out two cuffs for the sleeves at 2.5-inches by 9.5-inches. 

Add interfacing

I cut out two pieces of interfacing for the cuffs and pressed them on. I then also pressed the cuffs in half, lengthwise. 

Sew the cuffs

Next, I folded the cuffs in half and sewed along the sides. 

Sew a basting stitch

For the sleeves, I sewed a basting stitch along the sleeve cap. I then folded the sleeve and sewed the arm seam. I then also sewed a basting stitch on the ends of the sleeve. 

Gather the sleeve cap

To create the perfect puff sleeve, I turned the sleeve right side out and pulled on one of the threads from the sleeve cap to start gathering the fabric. 

Sew on the sleeve

To attach the sleeve to the dress, I turned the dress inside out and pinned the ruffled sleeve to the armhole. A great way to do this is to start at the bottom where there are no ruffles. Once I had pinned the sleeves in place, I sewed them on. 

Sew on the lining
Attach the lining

I put the lining over the dress, right sides together. Making sure the button placket was out of the way, I sewed the neckline. I turned the lining inside the dress and then to give the neckline a nice, clean finish, I decided to understitch the lining and then pressed it. 

Pin the button placket

I pinned the button placket to the lining and sewed it down.

Gather the sleeve end
Add finishing touches

To finish off the sleeves I gathered them at the bottoms. 

Attach the cuff

Next, I pinned the cuff onto the end of the sleeve, right sides together. I couldn’t believe this dress was almost ready. I made sure to also hem the cuffs for a professional look. I folded them in half and sewed them down. I also hemmed the bottom of the dress with a double hem. 

Sew on buttons

Then it was time to sew on the buttons. I placed mine 1.5-inches apart. I put all the buttons on the left side of the dress and using my sewing machine, I made buttonholes on the right side. Lastly, I sewed the bottom of the button placket closed. 

DIY puff sleeve dress

I am totally obsessed with my vintage style, puff sleeve dress. What is your favorite element on this piece? Let me know in the comments below! 

Suggested materials:
  • Fabric
  • Lining
  • Interfacing
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