How to… shorten blouse sleeves –2

The shortening obsession continues. And resetting sleeves is an important skill when taking in giant t-shirts and blouses and all because more than an inch removed from the sides sets off the shoulder seam. This refashion started with a black ruffled blouse from my favorite Salvy that was four sizes too big for me. There was something about it I liked enough to plunk down the $.90; mostly, it’s the ruffled placket and the cuff detail. To keep the cuffs as is, I essentially moved the whole sleeve up.

Here’s how:


Flip the shirt and, pick out the stitching, or if the top is really huge on you, cut off at the seams. Press.


Pin the sides of the top so it fits you. Try it on and repin as necessary. Get the fit right now. Chalk between pins and sew along the chalk lines. Trim seam edges and finish as you like. I’ve serged the seams on the blouse.


Flip the detached sleeves inside out and flatten, with the seam line on one side. Measure from your shoulder how many inches you want the short sleeves to be. I did about 8″ for this blouse so the ruffled cuff detail would remain.

***Here’s the trick–
Use the top of one sleeve to measure the curve of the short sleeve. Lining up the fold of the sleeves, cuffs facing the same direction, move the top sleeve so it becomes a stencil for the curve of the short sleeve at a length you measured. Trace with chalk and cut. Now you can use sleeve #1 to trace and cut sleeve #2.


Use a pin to mark the midpoint of the top of the sleeve. If you want puffy sleeves, use a long basting stitch to gather the edge. Try on the fitted bodice, considering where you want the shoulder to fall. If the original top was huge, you’ll have to trim the armhole opening so the shoulder seam lies on your shoulder.


Pin sleeves on, matching underseams, and the top seam with the pin in the sleeve. Gather the sleeve top, pinning as you go. Try the thing on. Move pins accordingly. Baste. Sew and finish edges as you like.

  1. June 3rd, 2008

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