I’m a clearance shopper. I always love finding a good deal especially when it comes to kids clothes. They seem to outgrow them so fast that it doesn’t make sense to spend a lot on an everyday item. The bad thing about shopping clearance clothing is that you are normally shopping in the wrong season. While Florida doesn’t get super cold, we do have a few cool days here and there. I found this plain black shirt around the holidays for only $2! It had a cute bow and was in my daughter’s size, but it was short sleeve. I don’t normally dress my daughter in black in the summertime because our summers here are super hot. So what is a seamstress to do? Make that short sleeve shirt long sleeve of course!
DIY Tutorial: How to Make a Short Sleeve into a Long Sleeve
I made this shirt before our annual trip to Buffalo, NY. It’s super cold there in January, and my oldest was seriously lacking in the winter wear department. I had made her some Bow Tie Leggings out of this pink polka dot knit I had in my stash, and decided she needed a shirt to go with it. Adding the sleeves made this a perfect DIY hack and it coordinated perfectly with the leggings.
First thing I needed to do is to determine what size to make the sleeve. The only way to do that was to first measure the shirt sleeve. I measured it flat, doubled the measurement and then added my seam allowances.
Next, I put the shirt on my daughter and measured from the bottom of the sleeve to where I wanted to sleeve to fall. Again, remember to not only add the seam allowance on the top, but the hem allowance at the bottom.
Then I cut out my sleeves! You can do this with a rotary cutter and a mat or just with a pair of scissors. (I use the Fiskars Rotary Cutting Set I found on Amazon.)
Next, I angled the bottom of the sleeves so they would have a slight taper to them. You can take them in as much as you would like, I choose to mark off just over an inch at the bottom and then draw a straight line to the top.
Now trim those sides you just marked. Be sure you are doing this to both sleeves and using the same measurements!
Now, fold the sleeves in half with the right sides together, and sew down the side seams. Since this is knit fabric, be sure to either use a serger or a stretch stitch.
Turn the new sleeve right side out and pin the raw edge inside the finished short sleeve. Since knit doesn’t fray, there is no need to finish or fold the raw edges unless you just want to. I aligned the raw edge of the sleeve to hit the inside edge of the sleeve hem.
Now it’s time to attach your sleeve. I sewed directly on top of the cover stitch that is closest to the bottom of the hem. It was important to me that the shirt looked as close to ready to wear as possible, so the easiest way was to carefully stitch directly over the original stitching line. Again, be sure to use a stretch stitch here so your stitches will stretch naturally with the fabric.
Now all you have left to do is hem the sleeves! I folded over the hem twice…
And stitched the hem with a stretch stitch.
And you are done! Easy peasy. And now you have a shirt that was inexpensive and is perfect for cooler weather.
I decided that this shirt still needed a little something, so I added this really cool castle design along with my daughter’s name using my embroidery machine. You can find the castle file through Lynnie Pennie.
Did you enjoy this tutorial? Be sure to pin it so others can find it too. Let me know in the comments if you have plans to make some long sleeve shirts this winter!