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Re-Purposing: Short Sleeve to Long

Fall/Winter is coming. Do you have enough warm clothing?


Grab some of those t-shirts from the summer and some scrap knit fabric?


Let’s winterize them for our little munchkins.



Let’s get started:


Grab any ‘ol shirt…..


And decide how long you’ll need your sleeves. And then measure the width of the cuff of the already existing sleeve. Cut out the appropriate amount of material (knit works best on t-shirts)…..including enough for a seam allowance. Sew your material into a tube.


Turn it right side out and attach it to the short sleeve with some pins.


Then sew it into place. Work very slowly because it can be difficult to sew around that tiny sleeve.


Then hem the bottom of your sleeve.


Then measure across the bottom of the shirt and cut 2 pieces that are slightly wider (so that you can sew them together) and long enough for your taste…plus extra to be able to hem it.


Then attach it with pins to the bottom of your shirt. And then sew into place.


I made another seam, just to help it lay flat and stay in place. And then I hemmed up the bottom.


Now maybe you won’t have to purchase as many long-sleeved shirts this winter.


So nice on the budget.


Ashley Johnston
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Ashley Johnston

Owner at Make It & Love It
Ashley Johnston is a professional DIY costume maker, sewist, crafter, and owner of Make It & Love It. She is a mom of 5 and a wife to a very patient (with the craft clutter) husband. In case you’re wondering, she always chooses crafting/sewing/designing over mopping/dusting/wiping base boards……but bathrooms/laundry/full bellies are always attended to. Whew!
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  1. Ana says:

    I was looking for this tut. My 6 year old has so many short sleeves t’s that still fit great, even length but it is getting colder already. He only has a few long sleeve shirts so far and I was thinking I could add long sleeves to his t’s using last year’s shirts. I will be busy this weekend!

  2. Nicole says:

    This is great I also save sleeves from long sleeves that i chop off from summer and save them to either sew onto another top or sew one end and you have a sleeping bag for Barbie/small doll

  3. Anonymous says:

    You can also use old long sleeve shirts that have become to short in the arms and waist. Cut off a section of the bottom and the sleeves and attach them to the t-shirt. Already hemmed for you!

  4. make your own t-shirt says:

    I love this blog because it is user friendly with appreciative information.

  5. make your own t-shirt says:

    This blog has very distinct features. Thanks

  6. Cassandra says:

    This is a great idea. I love it but why restrict it to kids shirts? I’m already thinking of doing this for some of my shirts too! I have a bunch of short sleeve tees but not many of the long sleeve ones I love that are so comfortable but harder to find. These would be perfect in the spring and fall when the mornings and evenings are cool but too warm for a sweatshirt.

  7. sownbrooklyn says:

    Oh! I'm so glad to find this again!! I can save my son's favorite dinosaur shirt! He will not give it up and I don't want to see his belly all the time ;o)

  8. Robyn says:

    This is so perfect! I don't have much scrap knit fabric, but I would definitely buy some to do this. It not only gives them sleeves, but lengthens too-short shirts! This is definitely going on my to-do list.

  9. gfm says:

    I have just stumbled on your blog two nights ago and am totally in awe.. and you have given me some fantastic ideas. I had to do a clear out of my daughters draws today and realised many of hers t shirts fit but not in length then i found last winters old t shirts that don't fit. I'm going to used your wonderful tutorial to turn her short sleeved summer T's into long sleeve with the help of last years winter T's. You also gave me the idea of turning one of her pinafores into a skirt. Again thank you for a wonderful and idea filled blog =)

  10. Single PAP says:

    love this idea!! so cute!

  11. Dawn says:

    Thanks for the great tutorial-I just blogged about the shirt I repurposed

    Thanks for sharing-this is great!

  12. Sarah says:

    Thanks for this! I revamped an outfit for my daughter and posted it on my new blog:

  13. Amy Miller says:

    This is awesome!! I just spent WAY too much on long-sleeved undershirts. Now I can take those back and fix up our summer shirts with leftover fabric. Much cuter and wonderfully cheaper. :) Thanks!

  14. Ashley says:


    You could sew them by hand, by like you mentioned, it may not hold up as well. But you could try and sew it and just make small stitches really close together….it's worth a try, but may take some time and patience.

    Hope that helps!


  15. sebclar says:

    First of all, I love your blog! I'm not much of a sewer, despite my sewing mother:), but I'm trying. I think this idea is great, especially since my son won't stop growing!
    one question – do you think I could sew the sleeves on by hand? I've not worked with knit a lot before, and I'm not sure if would stand up to the washings/wearings if it was not machine sewn. My machine doesn't have a great way to work with sleeves.

  16. Catherine says:

    Love it! I have some of my husbands old shirts and those would be perfect. I wouldn't have to hem anything! THANK YOU!!

  17. Heather P. says:

    What a GREAT idea! Thanks for the inspiration. :)

  18. iriemomma says:

    This is a really good idea! Just last night I was sadly staring at several short sleeved shirts with the tags on which are just now starting to fit my daughter. I'm going to add the sleeves and bottom band this weekend!

  19. marilynl says:


  20. Jen V - Flawed and Fabulous Crafts says:

    I love this! You are on my list of Crafty Peeps on my blog – then I noticed that this was featured on One Pretty Thing – congrats!

  21. vigues says:

    You are a lifesaver! Sweet idea for my skinny kids. Thanks.

  22. Deb - Two Cheeky Monkeys says:

    Now why haven't I thought of this before? Thanks for the idea!

  23. Tara says:


  24. Jenn says:

    This is such a great idea. My kids usually just end up wearing their favorite short-sleeved tees over the top of long sleeved tees. This is much less bulky. I can't wait to try it out!

  25. Zimms Zoo says:

    This is a great idea. My 12yo is constantly ruining shirts so this will be a great way to re-use some of his shirts.


  26. Kim says:

    Man! You make this stuff look SO easy!

  27. mfpeter says:

    I love it this is a fashion!

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  28. marisa says:

    Thanks! I was just thinking last night about trying this but had no way of knowing how. So excited!

  29. Jared and Delia says:

    Awesome idea! Thanks. I love how you added some on the bottom to account for some growth.

  30. P says:

    I love it, love it love it!

  31. Sara says:

    This is so cool! I love it!! I'm definately going to have to try this! Thanks!


  32. Ashley says:

    Yes, nopinkhere, it probably would be easier to hem the bottom of the sleeve before sewing into a tube. Great idea. I just wasn't sure how long I wansted the sleeve until after i attached it to the shirt…….so I didn't have it measured out exactly. Thanks for the tip!

  33. nopinkhere says:

    Cool idea! Do you think it would be easier to hem the sleeves when they are still just rectangles of fabric?

  34. Robin (rsislandcrafts) says:

    What a great idea! The t-shirts are usually shorter than I like for the kids so this is a great way to fix that problem.

  35. Julie @ Little One-of-a-Kind Design says:

    super practical and clever!

  36. Grace @ One Craft Girl's Corner says:

    What a great tutorial! I'm looking through some shirts to transform!

  37. Mauri says:

    Thanks for the great idea. One of those, "Why didn't I think of that?" moments. :)

  38. Cheryl says:

    Great idea and a lot easier than sewing up shirts from scratch. We always have tons of t-shirts that end up getting packed away & are too small by the time the warm weather returns. Also is genius for the hand-me-down baby clothes that will be the right size but wrong season for my new baby. Thanks for the tip!

  39. Ashley says:

    To sew the sleeves, opent he shirt from the bottom and slide half the shirt under the machine……until the needle is in the neck hole area and the rest of the shirt is all the way around the needle. Does that make sense? Then slide the shoulder section under the needle and then the little sleeve. You'll have to really wiggle it under there and go really slowly, adjusting the fabric as you go around the arm hole. Hope that helps.

  40. anna says:

    Brilliant idea!! Thanks for sharing!!

  41. lottebees says:

    My 6 year old will love you for this.
    He has 2 shirts he will not let go of. Even now it is getting to cold for him to wear. Now I know how to make them into longsleeves.

  42. Stephanie says:

    SO CUTE and I can't wait to try it! I'm like Ashley though, how do you sew those tiny sleeves? I'll have to try it out. THANKS!!

  43. Ashley says:

    how on earth do you sew that tiny little sleeve in place? maybe my sewing machine is just too darn big and clunky. love the shirt!

  44. Katherine says:

    Great idea!! Thanks so much!

  45. Diana {The Princess Escapades} says:

    What a neat idea. Thanks for the tutorial. :) I've done the opposite with my girls clothes – I cut off the long sleeves and make them into summer shirts. It was a life saver for me this summer. :)

  46. : ) Paula says:

    Dangit! Where were you last winter when I needed you?!? This is such an awesome way to take two too-small shirts and make them a PERFECT fit for those growing bodies! I gave away my kids' favorite t-shirts but all they really needed was some repurposing for (at least) another season! I will definitely remember this tip for the future. In fact, my 5 year-old has an otherwise functional long sleeved t-shirt but the neck is stretched. . . I think I'll attach the sleeves to a shirt like you did. Thanks again for sharing your awesomeness with the blogging world.

  47. Tater Tot Mom says:

    This is an awesome tutorial! Especially since it seems like warm weather will be upon us soon and my son has sprouted up quickly requiring us to purchase clothes mid-season. This will let us use some of those t-shirts he hasn't outgrown yet!

    LOVE IT!

  48. Bonita Boutique says:

    I love it!!!!

  49. emsres says:

    What an awesome tutorial!!! Thanks so much. My son has so many cute Ts that will still fit this winter and this is a great way for him to keep wearing them. Thanks again!! I'm so glad I found your blog. So many great ideas.

  50. Kelsee says:

    I totally did this to a couple of shirts for my son and I'm getting more to do for my daughter! Such a life saver! -Kelsee

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

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