How To Change Sleeve Styles On A Commercial Pattern (Tutorial) – NEW

A basic short sleeve pattern is great on a pattern that you finally got to fit correctly, but by changing it to different sleeve types, you can make the entire dress or blouse look different.  You can save money by making changes to one basic pattern, and end up having a whole wardrobe of designs.

It’s very easy to change a sleeve into a new style, if you follow a few basic instructions.  For this tutorial, we’re going to change the basic short sleeve into a Bell Sleeve.






For the sleeve variation, you’ll be cutting the basic sleeve in one or more places, so I would suggest that you reinforce the back of the basic sleeve pattern with iron on pellon, so that the basic sleeve won’t get ripped.  When you make the NEW sleeve style, you may want to pin it to pattern paper and cut the new sleeve style, making a new pattern.

STEP 1:  For the bell sleeve, you will “cut” and “separate” the basic sleeve from the bottom.  On the basic pattern, draw in the center vertical line, then measure 2″ to the left and right of the center line, and draw two additional vertical lines.  Beginning at the bottom, cut each of the vertical lines almost to the top, keeping the main piece attached at the top.

STEP 2:  At the bottom of the sleeve, separate the “cut” sections so there are openings of 1 5/8″ between each section, as shown.  Lay the basic “cut” sleeve pattern onto pattern paper and pin the sections in place on the pattern paper.

STEP 3:  At the bottom of the center “cut” line, measure DOWN 3/4″ and make a mark.  Draw in the new lower sleeve line with a smooth curving line as shown in the above drawing.

Trace around the “new” sleeve pattern on the pattern paper so you’ll have a permanent pattern.  We also suggest that you cut out the picture that’s associated with the sleeve style and tape it to the new sleeve pattern, and perhaps even label it “Bell Sleeve”, so you can keep it to mix and match with other necklines and collars for garment variations.  This new sleeve pattern / style can be sewn according to the pattern instructions.

You can see how easy it is to change the basic sleeve into a completely different style.  If you would like to learn how to make TEN different sleeve styles from that ONE basic pattern, check out the sleeve changing class in our Pattern Make-overs Section.  The sleeve make-over class is available for regular S-XL size ranges and for full figure 1x-8x size ranges.

If you’re sewing for plus size children and overweight children, you can use the same class to change sleeve styles for children’s patterns.

Check out our other “mini” classes (free tutorials) to see how easily you can make changes to your basic pattern.  Once you’ve made the first change, you’ll want to “jump in” and start doing all kinds of make-overs to your pattern!  Now you can use that ONE basic blouse/dress pattern that finally fits and literally have dozens and dozens of new styles!

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