How to Make Puff Sleeves: The Perfect Puff Sleeve Dress Pattern

9 Materials
3 Hours

This lovely dress has puffed sleeves, an elegant neckline, and a two-tiered maxi-length skirt. Learn how to make puff sleeves by following a simple puff sleeve dress pattern, to create a romantic summery dress of your own. Let's get started.

Tools and materials:

  • Puff sleeve dress pattern
  • Three to four yards of fabric
  • Two yards of elastic
  • Matching thread
  • Pins
  • Safety pins
  • Scissors
  • Four thread serger
  • Sewing machine
Tiered puff sleeve dress

1. Sew elastic to the neckline

Print out the puff sleeve dress pattern and cut out the pieces (front bodice, back bodice, sleeves, skirt tier, and elastic guide). Lay them over your fabric and cut out the pattern.

Next, pin the neckline elastic to the wrong side of the front neckline. Sew the elastic to the neckline using a serger (stretch the elastic while sewing to form gathers).

Fold the serged edge down towards the wrong side and sew again, making the seam run along the middle of the elastic. Repeat for the back neckline. 

DIY puff sleeve dress

2. Gather the sleeves 

Next, let’s gather the top edge of the sleeve. To do this, make the length of the seam as big as it can go and sew two lines across the edge a quarter-inch apart.

Take the ends of both threads and pull to gather the sleeve. Leave the sleeve edge longer than the elastic (for the sleeve) by about two to four inches. Concentrate most of the gathering towards the center (as pictured above).

Next, pin the sleeve elastic onto the sleeve (by the gathered edge) on the wrong sides. Sew the elastic using a serger, stretching the elastic while sewing to form gathers. Fold the serged edge of the elastic down onto the wrong side and sew.

Repeat for the other sleeve, making sure the finished length of the elastic ends up the same. 

Easy puff sleeve dress

3. Build the bodice 

Place the bodice front and bodice back right sides together and pin the side seams. Sew to connect them.

Next, fold the sleeve’s right sides together and pin the side seams. You should be left with two symmetrical sleeves. Sew the sleeves.

Align the sleeve seams with the bodice seams and pin the sleeves into the armholes. The front edges should match to form the angle pictured above.

Sew and serge through the intersection (angle pictured above). Once that’s done, go back in to reinforce the neckline corners and secure the seam allowances. Snip off any excess thread.

Sew a puff sleeve dress

4. Insert the elastic

To hem the sleeve, fold a quarter of an inch towards the wrong side at the bottom of the sleeve. Press down. Fold again five-eighths of an inch and press again.

Sew along the edge of the fold so that the fold remains wide enough to weave elastic through. Sew around the bottom of the sleeve, leaving one inch unsewn (to feed the elastic through).

Insert the elastic with a safety pin at the edge - use the safety pin to guide the elastic through the tunnel and back out the one-inch gap.

Sew the ends of the elastic together and then sew the opening on the casing closed. 

How to sew a puff sleeve dress

5. Connect the skirt 

You can stop here, hem the bottom of the bodice and have a finished blouse. However, if you’d like to make a tiered dress, here’s how you make the skirt.

Place the skirt pieces right sides together, and pin. Sew and serge along the edges. Next, fold the skirt in half and mark the centers of the back and front (since we’re making a maxi skirt, mark the centers of the bottom too). Press the side seams.

Gather the bottom of the skirt using the same method as the sleeves (make the seam length as long as possible, make two lines without backstitching, and pull the thread to gather the fabric).

Once that’s done, mark the center by the bodice front and bodice back (by turning the shirt to its side, as seen above).

Place the bodice into the skirt, right sides together, and pin. Make sure to match the side seams and center markings. (Make sure to evenly distribute the gathering). Sew and serge.  

Make a puff sleeve dress

6. Finish the dress

Sew the ruffle pieces into a circle and then divide them into quarters (with markings).

Sew two gathering lines and gather the edges. Place the dress inside the ruffle, right sides together (like we did with the skirt and bodice).

Pin at the side seams, center marks, and in between - evenly distributing the gathering. Sew the ruffle to the dress, serge, and press the seam. Hem to finish! 

How to make a puff sleeve dress

How to make a puff-sleeve dress

This concludes our easy puff sleeve dress. Pretty, summery, and the perfect outfit to enjoy the warm weather with! Let me know what you think of this tutorial on how to make puff sleeves and your thoughts on the puff sleeve dress pattern. Happy sewing!

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  • Elastic
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