Thursday, May 10, 2012

Tutorial: Short Sleeves to Long

So Autumn/Winter seems to be well and truly upon us and Riley is in desperate need of some more long sleeved tops. He is still growing so quickly that I can't often reuse clothes from the previous year without making some changes, so this year I'm planning on adding long sleeves to some of his t-shirts. By the time Summer rolls around again he'll have grown out of them so I may as well make them last longer and get as much wear out of them as possible.

After browsing the internet and not finding a tutorial that I liked, I decided to have a go at writing my own. One with loads of photos for people (like myself) who need them.

For this tutorial I'm going to use an old top for the sleeves but it would be easy enough to adapt if you wanted to use some knit fabric. Just add an extra seam allowance on the bottom of the sleeve for hemming and make sure to cut your sleeves on the fold.


- A t-shirt that you want to add long sleeves to
- An old t-shirt/top to cut your long sleeves out of
- Sewing machine (an over locker would be useful but not essential)
- Thread that matches your t-shirt
- Rotary cutter and self healing mat (not essential but makes it even easier)

First you need to make your template.

Lay the t-shirt, that you are planning on adding your sleeves too, on top of a long sleeved top that currently fits. Line up the seams where the sleeve is attached.

Slide a piece of cardboard underneath and draw around the part of the sleeve that extends out from under the short sleeve. I used a ruler so my lines were nice and straight. Add a seam allowance to the top and the side that angles out (I added 1/2 an inch). Cut out your template. There's no need to add a seam allowance at the bottom as we're going to use the existing hem at the bottom of the old t-shirt. Your template should look something like this:

Lay your template on your old t-shirt. Place it so the straight side lines up with the side and bottom of your old shirt.

Cut around your template. Flip your template over and repeat on the other side of the shirt. You should have 2 pieces that look like this:

Turn your 2 pieces so they are right sides together. Pin and sew up the open long side of both pieces. 

I used my over locker but if you don't have one, you can just use a regular sewing machine.

Next we're going to attach the sleeves to your t-shirt. 

Tuck your long sleeve into the short sleeve wrong sides together. Line up your seam with the side seam on your t-shirt and pin all the way around. As you can see I tucked it in a bit further than the edge of the sleeve to stop the edges of my long sleeve showing later. As it was I ended up trimming around my seam anyway.

Sew all the way around the sleeve. I started at the side seam and sewed right on top of the original line of stitching closest to the edge of the sleeve. Pull your sleeve out and it should look like this:
(At this point I had Riley try it on to double check that I had gotten the length of the sleeve right).

Repeat for the other sleeve and you're all done!

This is my first tutorial so I hope it all makes sense. If you have any questions please don't hesitate to contact me.


sascedar said...

gtreat, simple tutorial- and what a great idea for getting some extra wear out of the kid's clothes!

Jen said...

Ive always thought these types of tops look smart wtg to you !! :)

Notchka said...

That totally makes sense - and a great idea for those on the budget to extend the wear of all those summer tees that didn't get worn much, because we didn't get much of a summer (does *that* make sense?? teeheehee)

Pam @Threading My Way said...

Your tutorial is very clear and easy to follow, Fay!!! Great way to extend the life of a t-shirt!!!

Claire said...

Love the contrasting sleeves on the tee shirt.......great idea and tutorial.

Always good to get some extra wear out of clothes, kids just grow so fast......

Claire :}

Maxabella said...

Yes please! Simple and clever and it means t-shirts get a longer life before they too are grown out of. Thank you! x

flowerpress said...

inspired! I need to try this, they grow so fast.

SJ Scott said...

I tell you what, this is a brilliant idea! I'm going to try it for my short armed daughter, who I can never ever buy a long sleeved shirt for.