Constructing: Flutter Sleeve

Thursday, September 1, 2011

I wanted to post a tutorial on how to insert sleeves into a sleeveless dress because it's totally easy to do (even if you're not the most skilled seamstress) and can make any dress a stand-out piece.  You can do this with most sleeveless dresses, as long as the edge of the fabric comes closer to the shoulder than the neck.
For this dress, I cut out bell sleeves on the bias to make the edges extra fluttery...and flutter sleeves are romantic and sort of ethereal...especially when constructing them of layered chiffon. 
For this dress, I cut out bell sleeves on the bias to make the edges extra fluttery...and flutter sleeves are romantic and sort of ethereal...especially when constructing them of layered chiffon. I used three colors of chiffon and made the top two layers out of the cream fabric. 

Cut out the longest layer first, then use that as your pattern for the top layers.  Each layer is one inch shorter than the previous layer.  I also cut this out on the bias rather than with the grain to give the edges a bit more flutter.
Since you're sewing the sleeves into an already finished dress, you aren't going to have a seam allowance, so it's easier to finish off the sleeve edges before you attach them to the dress armhole.  Make sure the circumference of your finished sleeve matches the circumference of the armhole.
Make sure the bias tape is hidden all the way around.

There you are, mah dears!  Hope everyone has an awesome holiday weekend!


52 comments:

  1. The dress is beautiful and I am so excited about the possibility of adding sleeves to a sleeveless dress! Thank you.

    I recently started following your blog and love looking through your modest and inspiring outfits.

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  2. Lovely!
    So loving your photos! Your boys do a great job. :)

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  3. Thank you for sharing this! After seeing your last post on this dress, I bought a couple of sleeveless dresses, and I'm looking forward to trying out this technique. Thank you again!

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  4. I saw your Drifting By creation yesterday. It's so pretty Kristina! Thanks for showing us how to create flutter sleeves. Now, I just need to get myself motivated!

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  5. I love this! I'm just curious on how you finished the edges? Or did you?

    Natasha ~ Required2BeInspired

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  6. Did you finish the edges. Check out my blog, please. I'm a seamstress/tailor/designer, too.

    Love from Oregon,

    Danielle
    xoxoxoxo

    Blue Period

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  7. I left the edges of the sleeves unfinished...just a small amount of heat to sear the fray's.

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  8. The older I get the less flattering sleeveless looks on my flabby bat wing arms. This is such a great option.

    I do have a question. How do you know how wide to cut the sleeve pattern? Is there an easy way to figure this out?

    thanks
    mary

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  9. Love this! Very lovely. Pinning for future reference. :)
    Rebekah

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  10. Mary, I think the safest bet would be to use a printed bell sleeve pattern from Jo-ann's or wherever that you already know works great for you. I measured the sleeve circumference just to make sure my sleeve would be close to the same size. Armholes can be shaped differently depending on the dress, so I'd just double check everything before you cut.

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  11. Simply lovely! I do have a question, though. Will the chiffon fray? Did you use fray guard?

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  12. LOVE this!! I'll be interested to hear if there's any fraying after washing it.

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  13. Awesome tutorial! Thank you so much!

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  14. Your tutorial was just beautiful! I was just thinking the other day that my least favorite part of garment construction is the sleeves. Ugh. Everything else I can hum right along through...but those sleeves make me bit my bottom lip and think hard every time. Love that you make it look so easy - and beautiful!

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  15. Madison--I seared the edges with heat using a lighter to keep them from fraying.

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  16. Love your fabric choice. What elegant sleeves!

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  17. These are fabulous! Thanks for linking up to {Sew} Modern Monday and have a great week!

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  18. Great job! They are beautiful! I can't wait to try some. =)

    www.sewdivertimento.blogspot.com

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  19. Very very beautiful & modest! I'm glad I found my way over to your blog :)

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  20. This is so pretty - thanks for sharing at www.thestuffofsuccess.com

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  21. love this! so pretty and whimsical.

    i would love for you to come link up this or any other amazing project at my creativity party going on right now!

    letbirdzfly.blogspot.com

    thanks so much for sharing!

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  22. That is beautiful.

    I'd love to have you share this and any other of your amazing posts over at my linky party Create and Share. It posts every Wednesday. We open the party Tuesday evening at 8 pm for those who like to link up early. Hope you stop by...and follow too! ;-)
    http://thetrendytreehouse.blogspot.com/2011/09/create-and-share-features-too.html

    Tara @Trendy Treehouse
    http://thetrendytreehouse.blogspot.com

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  23. Thanks for sharing this tute. I saw 2 dresses recently in stores that had chiffon sleeves. One short and one to elbow with dress material, then the chiffon. With your tute I think I could work out how to do both and I like your layered short version- so romantic!

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  24. Wow, I really learned something new with this. It turned out so elegant, I've got to try it! Epitome of gorgeous. Thank you for sharing this! <3

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  25. I'm Nicole from Romanian Princess, I am your newest follower from a blog hop! Please follow me back! Thanks!

    www.romanianprincess.com

    XoXo Nicole Mariana

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  26. What a neat idea, and your tut looks "sew" easy, I might have to give it a try :D

    Visiting from JUST A GIRL linky party,
    ~Suzanne in NW Illinois

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  27. SOOOO Pretty! Love! Jamie @ theletter4.blogspot.com

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  28. Just so lovely!!! I'm not so good at sewing (can't sew anything straight!) but definitely going to try this :) Thank you so much for sharing the tutorial!

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  29. Gorgeous! If I had even an ounce of sewing talent I would be all over this! Love it! Thanks so much for sharing with the Pink Hippo Party.. can't wait to see what you share next!

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  30. So pretty! I love this idea so much I am pinning it. Found you via Making Mondays Marvelous at CRAFT.

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  31. This is very helpful thank you! Have you tried sleeves out of something that is not chiffon that you may have to hem? I'm a new follower from Making Mondays:)

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  32. Very lovely! Thanks for the great tutorial! I never would have thought to layer those pretty fabrics for a sleeve.

    I would love if you would share with my Blog Stalking Thursday Linky Party. http://thecraftyblogstalker.blogspot.com/
    See You There!

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  33. Wow! What a beautiful sleeve! Ruffles are very in and I am VERY obsessed with them. :) Thank you for the tutorial. I would love for you to link up at my Savvy HomeMade Monday blog party next week. I hope to see you there!

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  34. I was so excited when I found this, because it's exactly what I need - then I realized the photos aren't working! Please fix it soon so I can follow it!

    I'm a bit scared about the idea of searing the edges with a lighter though - I can see my chiffon going up in smoke!

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  35. As the user above said, exactly what I need but the photos aren't working :(

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  36. Wieke, The NetherlandsJanuary 9, 2012 at 11:54 AM

    I soooo love this! Thank you! I'm gonna make myself some nice shirt for this summer. And I'm also going to make one for my best friend her birthday.
    Thanks!

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  37. Thank you so much for sharing this sleeve pattern! I've been looking for something similar but I will be substituting the chiffon layers with laces.

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  38. What a lovely effect - you make it look easy enough to try for a beginner. Thanks for the tutorial!

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  39. soooo beautiful! cant wait to try this!

    ~Amy
    www.LadyMockingbird.com

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  40. Could you do this out of a thinner cotton and it still look nice? Or do you just suggest to do a basic sleeve?

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  41. You helped me A LOT.

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  42. great idea.... Thank's
    i'll try this

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  43. Hi-very pretty!

    How do I figure out the top curve?

    Some tutorials show the curve of the pattern going the opposite direction-almost like a smile vs yours looking more like a hilltop (if that makes sense). What's the difference? does yours lay more flat on the shoulder?

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  44. I left a comment (but not sure it worked). Do you think it would be possible as well to add sleeves to a strapless dress ? Thank you so much !!

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  45. I'm making a sleeveless dress from stretch satin that I want to add flutter sleeves to, and your tutorial looks like just what I need! I want to just use the same stretch satin fabric and only make the sleeves one layer (although I love your layered sleeves!). Your advice: would you still cut the fabric on the bias? Thanks for the inspiration!

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