DIY tutorial for a gathered sleeve pattern hack
Hey y’all, today I’m going to share how to sew a puff sleeve. Puff sleeves are an easy pattern hack you can do to any pattern with a fitted sleeve. I’m using my Verbena pattern but this tutorial will show you how I altered the pattern piece so that you can created gathered sleeves on any top.
The puff sleeves give the top a totally different vibe in my opinion, and I love that such a simple alteration can result in a very different look and feel for the same pattern. To create this look, all you have to do is alter the sleeve pattern piece. You can see how I did that in the video below or on YouTube here.
As you can see in the video, the first step is to draw lines to divide the sleeve pattern piece. I drew 5, but you could do 3 instead. The important part is that the lines are equally spaced across the sleeve cap and equidistant from the armscye points.
Once you have those lines marked, measure the bottom of the sleeve and cut the sleeve pattern. You might want to number the pieces to help keep them in order. Then spread the pieces apart as show below to create extra width at the cap and hem to gather. The more you spread the pattern pieces, the puffier your sleeve can be. You may wish to use a French curve ruler to smooth out the curve of the sleeve cap.
Use the measurement from the uncut sleeve to determine the hem band length for your sleeve. The hem band will be a rectangle that length. For hem band height, take whatever you want the finished band height to be and multiply by 2, then add inside and outside seam allowances. In my example I wanted a finished band height of 1/2 inch, so I did 1/2″ x 2 = 1″ + 1/2″ inside seam + 1/2″ outside seam = 2 inches.
To sew puff sleeves, you’ll need to start by sewing basting stitches on the sleeve cap and on the sleeve hem. Then pull on these basting stitches to gather the fabric. The hem should be gathered enough to match the sleeve band in length, and the sleeve cap should be gathered to match the armscye of the bodice in length. Sew the gathered sleeve to the bodice and sew the gathered hem to the hem band. The gathers are what will help your sleeve puff. Note that if you really want the sleeve to puff out, using a woven fabric with less drape than the rayon blend jersey knit fabric I used here will get you that look. And that is how you sew a puff sleeve!