How to… shorten blouse sleeves

There’s barely a whiff of spring in the air, but my latest obsession is shortening sleeves anyway.

I’ve done two recently, one when the original shirt fits, and one when it’s gigantic. This purple Jonathan Martin blouse has sweetly unnatural purple pearl buttons, but the long sleeves made me feel frumpy. I decided to shorten the sleeves by refashioning a cuff.

Here’s how–


Measure how long the shortened sleeves should be, and add an inch for sewing. Mark that point, use a ruler to draw a straight line and cut. Repeat on other side.


Cut a 4-inch piece off the biggest end of the sleeve to make a new cuff. Pick out the stitching, and cut into a pair of 2-inch strips. Sew or press interfacing onto the wrong side. Fold strips lengthwise -right sides together- and measure them again the part of the arm where they’ll sit. Add an inch for overlap, then sew the ends shut. Trim and turn the right sides out.


On the raw sleeve end, baste a few inches around the sleeve crease, and gather the raw end. Pin the raw edge of the cuff against the right side of the sleeve. I pinned the new cuff on so the overlap would fall on the front of my arm. Baste, fit, stitch.


Remove the buttons from the original cuff and sew onto the new cuff where it overlaps.


  1. first time here; love your blog! i have some i am going to try this with. thanks for the idea & inspiration! i’m a complete newbie here, just barely learning to thread the machine, lol. Any tips, suggestions would be very appreciated in future posts you may do. Thanks!

  1. June 3rd, 2008

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