Home » DIY Tutorials » DIY Sewing » Sewing: Clothing » Baby Clothing » Turn Long Sleeves into Flutter Sleeves

Turn Long Sleeves into Flutter Sleeves


Chloe is growing like crazy lately.  Many of her shirts have gotten too short for her round little belly.  So I have been digging in her closet, pulling out the next size up shirts…….but the problem is, is that they’re all long sleeves.  You see, I love to buy a few seasons ahead.  Because that’s when everything is on sale.  Last winter, when warmer clothes were all on clearance, I scooped up as many things as I could and then crossed my fingers they’d fit.  And usually I guess pretty well.  But sometimes I don’t.  Like Chloe’s shirt size right now, during mid-summer.  Who knew her little belly would pop right out during the past few months?!! :) 


But no biggee…….because we can always make a few adjustments.  You can take away from warmer clothes and add something back to cooler clothes.  So I always scoop up what I can when I see those sales.  (More examples of clothing adjustments here.)


So, I dug into Chloe’s closet this morning and took out a couple long-sleeved knit shirts and turned them into flutter sleeves. 




I thought these long-sleeved shirts wouldn’t fit until the fall…..but now, after a little altering, they are the perfect tops for the next few months of warmer weather.




Yeah, you never know how fast these little monkeys will grow.  So just work around it. 




It turned out to be a pretty quick fix…..and now I don’t have to run to the store to buy her any more summer shirts.  (Note: these tops are knit fabric and so the edges of the flutter sleeves aren’t finished because they won’t fray.)


 **And yes, Chloe has painted fingers and toes.  Thanks to her Aunt Shannon and the “girl-party” she had with Elli, Chloe and their cousin Claire.  The girls were in heaven! :)



Glad I bought a couple sale shirts last winter.  Worked out well for us this morning. :)




Would you like to make your own Flutter Sleeve shirts?



First of all, I added the flutter to my shirt sleeves but you could also just cut off the sleeves and keep the shirt sleeveless or use one of the other ideas found here.  Also, my shirts were knit fabric, so they won’t fray.  If you’re using a woven cotton, your edges will fray and this method won’t work well for you.  (However, you could make some adjustments and finish off edges to make it work.)


To begin, cut off your sleeves, right next to the seam where it was attached to the shirt.  But be sure  not to cut through the seam.


This shirt was finished on the inside seam, which isn’t very common……especially with kids clothing.  So I really could have stopped here and made it just a plain sleeveless shirt.  But that’s boring. ;)


Most shirts will look like this one.  You should see the inside seam, usually serged.  Leave it alone and don’t cut through it.  (As you add your flutter, you’ll tuck that seam towards the inside and sew through it.)


Next, cut the sleeve open along the under arm seam and then cut strips of fabric the length of the longest part of the sleeve.  The width of your strips will vary, depending on how much you want your flutters to stick out.  For Chloe’s shirt, I cut my strips 2 inches wide.


Then, I left one edge of each strip straight, and curved the other edge so that it would melt back into the arm hole as you sew it in.


Then, I added a basting stitch along the straight edges of each flutter and then cinched them in.  (Need help with the basting stitch and gathering?)  How much you cinch them in also depends on how much of the flutter you want to cover your subject’s arm…..but it also depends on how long your strip is.  If the sleeve wasn’t very long, you’re not going to have a very long strip of fabric and then your flutter won’t be very ruffled if you try to attach it all the way around the arm hole opening.  SO hold it up to the arm hole opening and decide what looks best.


Then, turn the shirt inside out and pin the right side (if you  have a right side) of your flutter to the wrong side of the arm hole opening.  Be sure that you have centered the middle of the flutter right at the shoulder seam of the shirt.  Then sew it in place.  And then turn right side out.


Now, that coral top shown above had a nice finished edge.  If you don’t, be sure to tuck the seam of the arm hole towards the inside of the shirt and sew over it as you’re attaching your flutter.  Then continue sewing all the way around the arm hole to sew that seam down in place and keep it out of the way.




And that’s it. 


Long Sleeve to Flutter Sleeve.




. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Featured Sponsor:



Ashley Johnston

Administrator 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!

  • Save

Hi, I'm Ashley

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

Back to Top
Share via
Copy link