Search

Home » DIY Tutorials » DIY Sewing » How To Add Flutter Sleeves to Clothing!

How To Add Flutter Sleeves to Clothing!

Today’s contributor is Terra from Mama Says Sew. All posts written by Terra for Make It and Love It can be found HERE

. . . . .

Hi everyone! It’s Terra from Mama Says Sew.

Have you ever wanted to alter a pattern to make it your own but you didn’t know how? Well today I’m going to show you how to make a simple alteration to a pattern you already have so that you can add flutter sleeves.

How To Alter a Pattern To Add Flutter Sleeves | via makeit-loveit.com
  • Save

 

If you’ve never drafted your own pattern before, don’t worry! One of the simplest things to do to change a pattern is to add flutter sleeves.

How To Alter a Pattern To Add Flutter Sleeves | via makeit-loveit.com
  • Save

 

When you add flutter sleeves, you’ll end up gathering them, so there is some room for error.

How To Alter a Pattern To Add Flutter Sleeves | via makeit-loveit.com
  • Save

 

I’ll also show you two different ways to add flutter sleeves — a lined version and an unlined version.

How To Alter a Pattern To Add Flutter Sleeves | via makeit-loveit.com
  • Save

 

You can use a pattern that is sleeveless or that has sleeves — it just needs to have a lined bodice.

How To Alter a Pattern To Add Flutter Sleeves | via makeit-loveit.com
  • Save

 

I love flutter sleeves because they add a dainty little feminine touch.  They’re also practical — and keep the sun off of little shoulders.

How To Alter a Pattern To Add Flutter Sleeves | via makeit-loveit.com
  • Save

 

All you need for this project is a pattern with a basic bodice with a lining and sewing supplies, like fabric, scissors, and thread. You’ll also need a ruler and paper and a pencil.

To start, lay out your front and back bodice pieces, overlapping at the shoulders where the shoulder seam is. This will give you the finished shoulder length minus the seam allowance in the pattern.

how to alter a pattern to add flutter sleeves (1)
  • Save

Mark where you want the flutter sleeve to start and stop and measure the length.

how to alter a pattern to add flutter sleeves (2)
  • Save

Now you need to decide how full you want your ruffle to be. I usually like to make them 3 x the length to get a nice full flutter sleeve. Take your length from the last step and multiply by 3 (or less if you want a more subtle flutter sleeve). Then divide that number in half. For example, my length from the last step was 4.5 inches. I multiplied 4.5 by 3, then divided by 2, giving me 6.75 inches total.

how to alter a pattern to add flutter sleeves (3)
  • Save

Now draw your flutter sleeve. Draw a straight line across the top, then a curved line down to the bottom.

how to alter a pattern to add flutter sleeves (4)
  • Save

Now add your seam allowance for gathering. I used 1/2 inch for all my seam allowances. The seam allowance shown below will be where the gathering stitches will go, and will be enclosed between the bodice and the bodice lining when you sew your top or dress. The dotted line is where you will hem or add a lining to your flutter sleeve.

how to alter a pattern to add flutter sleeves (5)
  • Save

Draw a line connecting the dots.

how to alter a pattern to add flutter sleeves (6)
  • Save

Trace over the lines and this is your pattern piece for your flutter sleeve. You’ll cut two sleeves and two lining pieces, or, if you want an unlined sleeve, just cut two sleeves.

how to alter a pattern to add flutter sleeves (7)
  • Save

To cut your sleeves, make sure the fold is perpendicular to the selvage. The grainline of your fabric should run the length of the pattern piece.

how to alter a pattern to add flutter sleeves (8)
  • Save

For a lined sleeve, continue as follows.

With right sides together, sew the lining to the sleeve along the curved edge. Trim your seam.

how to alter a pattern to add flutter sleeves (9)
  • Save

Turn right sides out and press. Topstitch if desired.

how to alter a pattern to add flutter sleeves (10)
  • Save

Run two rows of gathering stitches along the flat edges of your flutter sleeves.

how to alter a pattern to add flutter sleeves (11)
  • Save

After you’ve sewn the bodice and bodice lining together at the shoulder seams, gather the sleeves and pin them along the sleeve opening. Make sure that the raw edges of the sleeve are all within the bodice seam allowance.

how to alter a pattern to add flutter sleeves (12)
  • Save

Baste the sleeves to the bodice.

how to alter a pattern to add flutter sleeves (13)
  • Save

Sew the bodice lining to the bodice around the sleeves and the neckline. Trim seam allowances and turn right side out. Now all you need to do is follow the pattern as written to finish your dress or top.

how to alter a pattern to add flutter sleeves (14)
  • Save

For unlined sleeves, follow the directions above. The only difference is rather than sewing the lining to the sleeve, you’ll turn the curved edge under twice and hem. Curved edges are a little tricky to turn under evenly, but just do a little at a time and press as you go.

how to alter a pattern to add flutter sleeves (15)
  • Save

 

Good luck with all your alterations!

-Terra

blog contributor terra
  • Save

 

. . . . .

It’s not so scary to alter clothing – check out a few more great tutorials where we share how to make simple alterations to your favorite pieces:

Altering Jeans: Shorter (with Identical Hem)

Skirt Alterations – Long to Short…with added Flowers/Ruffles

Add a Color Block Stripe to a T-shirt (…to add length)

 

 

How to alter a pattern to add flutter sleeves
  • Save

Comments

  1. Jana Nesbit Hepting says:

    Any clue how I would make a longer flutter sleeve with a border print on the edge? All the edges are rounded on these type of sleeve patterns and borders are straight. ??? Help!

  2. Dawn says:

    Love this tutorial! I an also interested in the pattern for this dress and bonnet.

    Thanks!

    1. Terra says:

      The bonnet is the free bonnet pattern from Purl Bee. I don’t have the link, but it’s pretty simple to find with a google search.

    2. Dawn says:

      Thank you!

  3. Jessie says:

    Do you have the pattern/instructions for the dress that’s in these photos? I want to make one just like it but can this find a pattern anywhere! Thank you!

    1. Terra says:

      For the dress I used the Tinny dress pattern from Straight Grain patterns for the white dress, and I thin I used the Clara dress (without ruffles) from Violette Field Threads for the blue and pink dress.

  4. M B Paz says:

    EXCELLENT tutorial. I am a seamstress and costumer and am dismayed at the quality of many online tutorials, but not this one. Well done!

  5. Rose says:

    This is exactly what I was looking for! I thought it would be hard to make adjustments on a pattern but now I know better.
    Thank you so much.

    1. Terra says:

      I’m glad you found it helpful!

  6. Jill says:

    Very cute Terra! I love flutter sleeves :-)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Hi, I'm Ashley

Hi, I’m Ashley—the DIY-enthusiast behind this crazy blog!

Back to Top
1.1K Shares
Share via
Copy link