Monday, January 11, 2010

Tuesday's Tute: How to make a short sleeve...long

Our second Tuesday's tute is about how to make a short sleeve tee into a long sleeve tee. It's quite easy and a great way to make a well love short sleeve short go into the next season. Or a great way to make a thrift find useful in the winter, as in our case.

Our handsome dude was in need of long sleeve shirts, so off to the thrift store we went. No good options in his size until we came to the tee shirts. He loved this one. At .99, I did too. The only was short sleeved. He says, "just put more sleeve on there, mom". We'd seen a faux long sleeve shirt earlier, and I'm thinking I could do that. We grabbed another tee in white (needed extension fabric). For this one, I grabbed a very large, yet clean looking tee...extra fabric for the same price....a good idea.

After washing up our tees, we went to work. And, here's the tutorial. Let me know what you think.

Step 1: Create your sleeve pattern

-Lay a proper fitting long sleeve tee onto a large piece of paper. Make sure the tee is laying flat.
-Trace around the tee sleeve, top, bottom, and hem edge. **If you are using fabric, instead of a tee for the extension, add 1" for a sleeve hem.**
-Write "on fold" at fold edge, and "hem" for hem edge, and put an "X" on the top of the pattern where the sleeve seam is.
-Remove long sleeve tee.

Step 2: Adjust pattern to match the short sleeve tee

-Lay the short sleeve tee on top of the paper pattern, matching the sleeve seam of the tee to the top sleeve edge of the pattern (Top X on my pattern) to get the proper length.
-Mark another "X" where the tee hem line goes (Bottom X by my thumb). This makes the sleeve extension the proper length for your child.
-Lay a straight edge along the bottom edge of the tee sleeve, allow for 1/4" seam , angling it to the pattern at the hem line, and draw your adjusted bottom sleeve line.
-Cut around your pattern lines and then cut the extension off 1/2" above the bottom X (mentioned above) for the seam to connect it to the tee.

Step 3: Lay out your sleeve fabric/other tee shirt. (for this example I grabbed one from the stash bin, wrinkles and'll want a tee without wrinkles :). -Lay your tee folded with the sleeves in center. You'll use the center front/back for cutting.

Step 4: Lay on your pattern/cut

-Lay your pattern onto the tee, minus the hem allowance. (If you are using fabric, you'll need the added hem allowance) Match the fold edge on the pattern with the fold of your fabric and the hem edge of the pattern with the hem of the tee.
-Pin and cut.
-Flip the pattern over and repeat on the other folded edge for the second sleeve.

Step 5: Sew the sleeve

-Fold the sleeve right sides together and stitch (regular stitch) up the bottom (under arm) edge, 1/4" seam. Repeat for second sleeve.
-Turn sleeves right side out.

Step 6: Attach sleeve to tee

-Tuck sleeve extension into the tee just as it would be worn. Make sure the top edge of the extension is tucked in slightly farther(remember the 1/2" you added to the pattern) than the tee hem line.
-Zigzag on top of the hem line of the tee, making sure to catch the extension inside. We zig zag this time, because the zig zag stitch allows for a little big of give and stretch for comfort.
-Repeat for the second sleeve.
***If you used fabric instead of a tee for the extension, you'll need to use a zig zag stitch to hem the sleeves now.***

Now you have a "new" long sleeve tee or extended the use of a short sleeve one.
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Happy Sewing,
PS: Next week's tute has to do with attaching ruffled/gathered layers in the flat. This will also be an update to any of my patterns with tiered/gathered skirts.


  1. Awesome! Thanks, I'll give it a try, along with all the other projects sitting on my sewing table that I'm supposed to try/finish. :)

  2. Great Tutorial, and great thrifting! Thanks for sharing!
    Natalie (Otto list)

  3. Wow, thank you! I have several cute T's that I never wear because the sleeves are too short (and my arms are too fat). Every time I look at them, I wish I could extend the arms...and now, with your tutorial I'll be able to! (I hope, lol).


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